We just spent the past nine days diving deep into Jesus’ feeding of the 5,000 (check the previous posts or read Matthew 14:13-21 for the full story), so you should be pretty familiar with the details of this miraculous event. It’s an amazing miracle that sticks in your brain.
Now imagine seeing it in person… and forgetting the whole thing just a short time later.
That’s that status of our disciples in Matthew 15, just one chapter after the feeding of the 5,000. In this case, Jesus:
- Went to be alone, yet His presence drew a great crowd.
- Felt compassion for the people and wanted to feed them.
- Healed the blind, mute, and crippled.
- Asked the disciples to gather whatever food they could find.
- Turned a small amount of food into a massive feast that fed the multitudes.
- Had the disciples gather basketfuls of leftovers.
(If this is all feeling very familiar, it should).
There are some differences between the two events. In this case, there were 4,000 people in the crowd. Mark’s account also notes that they’d been with Jesus for three days, and Jesus feared they would collapse out of hunger if not fed.
Just as He had a short time prior, He expressed to the disciples a desire to feed the people.
“But where in this remote place can anyone get enough bread to feed them?” the disciples asked.
You’ve got to be kidding me.
These guys had literally just seen Jesus perform this exact miracle. They didn’t have any reason to doubt His power the first time, but they certainly should’ve recognized now that this was a walk in the park for Jesus. Their response would embarrass Dory, the fish with short-term memory loss in Finding Nemo.
Yet before I blast the disciples for their doubt, I need to look in the mirror and realize I’m no better; in fact, my lack of faith is often much worse. God has blessed me in ways I can’t count, yet every day I question whether He’ll come through for me again. I forget about the awesome things I’ve seen and experienced on His behalf because I’m so wrapped up in the moment.
I think that’s what happened with the disciples in this case. Stressed by the prospect of finding sustenance for thousands of people, their minds went blank and they forgot Jesus’ divinity. Rather than take a deep breath and return to God’s truth, they allowed themselves to be enveloped by their panic.
To finish the story, Jesus came through again; this time, He used seven loaves and a few small fish to satisfy the masses. And again there were multiple basketfuls of leftovers.
When moments of crisis arise, don’t allow your doubt and fear to override the memories of all God has done for you. Pause and recall how He’s worked in your life.
Jesus is going to feed the massive crowd either way. You get to choose how much trust you’re going to put in Him.