The miracle of Jesus’ feeding over 5,000 people appears in all four of the gospels. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John saw something important in this event that would help us learn who Jesus really is.
Picture the scene: Jesus has been preaching and healing. It’s getting late, and the people are getting hungry. To the disciples, it makes perfect sense to send them to nearby villages to eat.
But Jesus has other ideas. He calmly says to the disciples, “You give them something to eat.” To the disciples, that doesn’t add up. They can only find five loaves of bread and a couple of fish—that certainly won’t feed this crowd!
Jesus uses this time to teach an important lesson. They have just been visiting in the surrounding villages, traveling without any money or provisions. They have depended on the Lord to provide for them as they have brought healing and the life-affirming good news of grace, mercy, and blessing. But they have forgotten that God has done this. Jesus is testing them now to see if they realize that their providing Lord is right there with them, and they have failed to recognize it.
But we should not be too hard on the disciples. When we are called to bring God’s grace and mercy into people’s lives, we often forget, too, how the Lord has provided for us. We all have short memories.