Most everyone has heard the story of Jesus feeding a crowd of 5,000 with five loaves and two fish. It’s a great story about God’s provision, compassion and miracles. I have not heard of anyone, scholar or skeptic, who can dispute this event actually happened, especially since it was recorded in history by Matthew soon after the event took place. But there is another lesser known detail to this story.
The disciples had asked Jesus to dismiss the crowds so they would go into town and get something to eat. In other words, tell them to leave. The people were hungry, they had been there all day, and traveled far with their families and young children. Yet, they did not want to leave. Their hunger for spiritual truth and what Jesus had to offer them was stronger than their physical hunger for food. This was a once-in-a-lifetime, not-to-be-missed, hang-on-every-word opportunity to hear Jesus speak, and the people weren’t going to miss any of it.
Today, we are constantly on the search for that one thing that will satisfy us – make us feel good, make us prettier, quench our thirst, de-stress, de-tox, get rich quick, or entertain. We reach for whatever that may be, and we get some temporary relief, but a short while later we begin to feel the hunger all over again. And this time, we may have added a little regret or guilt. So we begin again, with a little more to compensate for the regret or guilt we’ve piled on, and soon we need even more. But we can never be completely satisfied with the things of this earth. It always leaves us wanting more. There’s a part of us that only Jesus Christ can fill and make us whole again. We are created with that longing for fellowship with God. And only after we have filled that eternal longing with the perfect love that Jesus Christ can give, then Jesus can begin to help us with the rest of our lives. For the crowd of 5,000 on that day, Jesus provided them with spiritual satisfaction and truth, and then he made sure to take care of their physical hunger. For everyone ate and was filled.
Matthew 14:15-21 ~ Feeding of the 5,000
When evening came, the disciples approached Jesus and said, “This place is a wilderness, and it is already late. Send the crowds away so they can go into the villages and buy food for themselves.”
“They don’t need to go away,” Jesus told them. “You give them something to eat.”
“But we only have five loaves and two fish here,” they said to Him.
“Bring them here to Me,” He said. Then He commanded the crowds to sit down on the grass. He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed them. He broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. Everyone ate and was filled. Then they picked up 12 baskets full of leftover pieces! Now those who ate were about 5,000 men, besides women and children.