Psalm 145:8-9,14-21 (NIRV)
A psalm of praise. A psalm of David.
8 The Lord is gracious, kind and tender. He is slow to get angry and full of love.
9 The Lord is good to all. He shows deep concern for everything he has made.
14 The Lord takes good care of all those who fall. He lifts up all those who feel helpless.
15 Every living thing looks to you for food. You give it to them exactly when they need it.
16 You open your hand and satisfy the needs of every living creature.
17 The Lord is right in everything he does. He is faithful in everything he does.
18 The Lord is ready to help all those who call out to him. He helps those who really mean it when they call out to him.
19 He satisfies the needs of those who have respect for him. He hears their cry and saves them.
20 The Lord watches over all those who love him. But he will destroy all sinful people.
21 I will praise the Lord with my mouth. Let every creature praise his holy name for ever and ever.
Matthew 14:13-21 (NIV)
Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand
13 When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. 14 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
15 As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.”
16 Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”
17 “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered.
18 “Bring them here to me,” he said. 19 And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. 20 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 21 The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.
STUDY QUESTIONS ON MATTHEW 14
- This is the only miracle story that appears in all four of our Gospels: Matthew 14:13-21, Mark 6:32-44, Luke 9:10b-17, and John 6:1-15. Find answers to these questions: (1) Which versions have the people sitting in military formation, platoons, and companies? (2) Which Gospel mentions a specific source for the loaves and fishes? (3) Which versions mention the cost of buying enough bread in town? (4) Which Gospel suggests that there were more than 5,000 persons involved?
- This miracle of feeding reminded the early church (and us) of another miracle of feeding in which they participated regularly. What is it? (Clue: See Matthew 26:26-29.) What actions does Jesus do in feeding the 5,000 which are done in this other meal?
- John frequently follows an incident with an explanation. How does he interpret the feeding of the 5,000 in John 6:22-40?
- Christian symbols. In times of persecution, Christians could identify themselves to each other secretly by drawing a fish symbol, The Greek word for fish is “ichthus.” The five letters (i-ch-th-u-s) stood for the full title given to Jesus by the church. Use this vocabulary to figure out that title: Theou=God’s; Iesous=Jesus; Soter=savior; Christos=Christ; Uios=son.
- Feeding stories: Exodus 16:2-12 and 2 Kings 4:42-44. Based on those earlier events, what is Jesus saying about himself in feeding the 5,000?
- The feeding of the 5,000 took place in a deserted or lonely place, a place of withdrawal. What spiritual value do you find in withdrawing sometimes to a “lonely place”? If this is part of your spiritual discipline, share how you do it.
- You go home and someone asks, “What did you learn today?” What do you reply?
REFLECTION & ACTION
Try to claim at least 10 minutes each day exclusively for refreshing your spiritual life. Find a space by yourself. Close your eyes and relax. Let your imagination play with images of banquets and God’s many blessings.