Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Matthew 15:32-39


32 And Jesus called His disciples to Him, and said, ``I feel compassion for the people , because they have remained with Me now three days and have nothing, to eat; and I do not want to send them away hungry, for they might faint on the way.'' 33 The disciples said* to Him, ``Where would we get so many loaves in this desolate place to satisfy such a large crowd?'' 34 And Jesus said* to them, ``How many loaves do you have?'' And they said, ``Seven, and a few small fish.'' 35 And He directed the people to sit down on the ground; 36 and He took the seven loaves and the fish; and giving thanks, He broke them and started giving them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. 37 And they all ate and were satisfied, and they picked up what was left over of the broken pieces, seven large baskets full. 38 And those who ate were four thousand men, besides women and children. 39 And sending away the crowds, Jesus got into the boat and came to the region of Magadan.

Again Jesus feels compassion for the people and wants to feed them. Before it was the 5000 and now it is the 4000. Many scholars think that the feeding of the five thousand and the feeding of the four thousand are different versions of the same incident; but that is not so. The date is different; the first took place in the spring, the second in the summer. The people and the place are different. The feeding of the four thousand took place in Decapolis. Decapolis literally means ten cities, and the Decapolis was a loose federation of ten free Greek cities. On this occasion there would be many Gentiles present, probably more Gentiles than Jews. It is that fact that explains the key phrase in Matt 15:31, "They glorified the God of Israel."

To the Gentile crowds this was a demonstration of the power of the God of Israel. There is another curious little hint of difference. In the feeding of the five thousand the baskets which were used to take up the fragments are called kophinoi in the feeding of the four thousand they are called sphurides. The kophinos was a narrow-necked, flask-shaped basket which Jews often carried with them, for a Jew often carried his own food, lest he should be compelled to eat food which had been touched by Gentile hands and was therefore unclean. The sphuris was much more like a hamper; it could be big enough to carry a man, and it was a kind of basket that a Gentile would use.

NOTE that this time Jesus did the distribution personally and this time there were 7 large baskets left over rather than 12.

NOTE that when Jesus intervenes to meet a need that all involved are satisfied.

NOTE that when Jesus miraculously fed the crowd, He produced enough for the disciples to eat, too, becomes your add-on god.

When you're following Jesus on one of His missions, you can count on it. You will be taken care of, too.