A Word for Today | Luke 9:12-17
The miracle of Jesus feeding the five thousand is found in all four Gospels, which is not surprising since it so clearly displays Jesus’ deity. The passage begins with Jesus gathering the Twelve for some rest and recuperation. They had just been through a busy time, as the opening verses of chapter nine tell us, preaching of the kingdom and casting out demons. John the Baptist had just been put to death, and now King Herod’s attention might be drawn to Jesus. Apparently, Jesus withdrew the disciples outside of Herod’s jurisdiction in order to protect them and avoid premature conflict.
The crowds, however, drawn by all that Jesus had done, went after the disciples. Luke tells us “he welcomed them and spoke to them of the kingdom of God and cured those who had need of healing” (Lk. 9:11). Towards the end of the day the disciples came to Jesus and said, “Send the crowd away to go into the surrounding villages and countryside to find lodging and get provisions, for we are here in a desolate place” (Lk. 9:12). They seem to be unmoved by the peoples’ need, although perhaps they were just trying to be practical. Jesus’ reply must have astonished them; He said, “You give them something to eat” (Lk. 9:13). Dumbfounded, they replied, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish—unless we are to go and buy food for all these people.” Jesus took that small amount of food, five pieces of bread with two small fish, and He proceeded to feed the whole multitude, five thousand male adults, not to mention the women and children who would have greatly swelled that number.
Who else could so multiply nature’s provision but the One who is Lord of nature, the Creator Himself, God Incarnate? Jesus had been teaching about the Kingdom of God, and what a demonstration this miracle provided! One of the things we always want to look for when studying the Bible is what the passage tells us about God. This particular passage not only tells us that Jesus is God, and also shows us what God is like. Jesus said, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (Jn. 14:9), and in this miracle He displays several facets of God’s marvelous character. We see His compassion, as He cared for the needs and troubles of the many people. We see His zeal for God’s people, rousing Himself from weariness in order to meet their need. He was ready to be inconvenienced for them as He is for us. When we compare this passage with what we see of King Herod in the passage immediately beforehand, we see His humility of heart. Jesus did not sup with courtiers from silver platters, but He ate plain bread with the poor. The Lord loves to dwell with the lowly and meek, He came not to be served but to serve and to give His life a ransom for many (Mt. 20:28). Finally, and most obviously, Jesus here demonstrates His divine power. He is armed with might so that no problem is too hard for Him.
Compassionate, zealous to serve, humble of heart, mighty in power – this is the God whom Jesus Christ reveals to the world. What a privilege it is for us to trust in Him: Jesus, the Savior of sinners, who is Lord of all! If we will trust Him to do a great work in our life – partaking daily in faith from the bread of His Word – just imagine what Jesus will do in us!
In Christ’s Love,