Our scripture this week is Matthew 14:13-21
When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick. As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.” Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered. “Bring them here to me,” he said. And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.
The story of feeding the five thousand appears in all four Gospels (here in Matthew, Mark 6:30-44, Luke 9:10-17, and John 6:1-15). This account shows the disciples attempting to send the people away and Jesus telling them instead “You give them something to eat” (v. 16). The Lord has some very important points to make to His disciples.
When He tells them to feed the people, He is indicating the huge responsibility His followers bear, to literally care for the whole world, represented by the large crowd. He knows they can’t do this, so it is a lesson in faith – they must believe that Jesus has the power. While Jesus needs no help from them, He calls them to be part of the solution, working with Him to resolve the situation.
Responsibility, faith and participation in the work of His kingdom – these are the lessons Jesus has for us here. They have not changed since the time of the disciples and as the disciples of today, we must answer the call Jesus makes on our lives. We show our love for Him by loving those around us.
Gracious God, we have received marvelous gifts from You to be able to accomplish Your will. Let us use these gifts wisely as we give back through our care for each other. Amen.