Saturday, 14 September 2013

Matthew 14:1-22 - John, food for thousands

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Matthew 14:1-22 covers two distinct but related topics.

Verses 1-13 explain that Herod had John the Baptist killed, and now when he hears reports about Jesus he assumes it's John raised from the dead. John's disciples bury him and then go to Jesus with the news. When he hears about it, Jesus leaves Nazareth where he's been teaching and goes by boat to an uninhabited part of the lake shore.

And in verses 14-22 Jesus feeds the crowds with five loaves and two fish. The crowd was large, verse 21 tells us there were five thousand men, but with women and children as well it may have been much more, perhaps ten thousand or so. Think in terms of feeding a small town with sandwiches intended for about ten people.

As you read the passage, consider what it tells us about Jesus. Why did he go to an unpopulated place when he heard the news about John? How did he respond to the arrival of the crowds? Notice how he involves the disciples in what he is doing. Do we make disciples in the same way?

Notice the contrast between the disciple's response to the crowd's need for food and Jesus' response. The disciples are concerned about the people's welfare, but they don't think beyond the natural. Are we like that? If so, how does it affect our approach to the needs we see around us?

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