Feeding the Multitude: Matthew 14:13-21

Matthew 14:13‑21  •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 7
The Lord reads in the death of John the Baptist His own rejection. When the word of John’s death reaches Him He departs, for He could not continue His service there under such circumstances. He could not be indifferent to the rejection of one who had borne such a faithful witness to Him in his public ministry. Herod’s murderous act was to Him but a token of a sin of far deeper dye, that awful wickedness in the heart of the people, which would rise to its height in their rejection of Himself. The religious leaders had also rejected John, yet not openly, for they feared the people who held John in such high regard (see Matt. 21:25-2625The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men? And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say unto us, Why did ye not then believe him? 26But if we shall say, Of men; we fear the people; for all hold John as a prophet. (Matthew 21:25‑26)).
The Lord withdraws and crosses the Sea of Galilee by ship to a desert place apart. But the multitude follow Him there on foot out of their cities. “And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and He healed their sick.” The rising tide of evil could not stem the outflow of His grace, for He was above it, and would always act as God. He was ever ready to minister to those who sought Him out in their need.
Food in the Wilderness
The evening comes on and the disciples ask the Lord to send the multitude away to the villages to buy food for themselves. Send them away from Jesus? The Lord could never consent to that. He would fulfill that which was said of Him prophetically in Psalm 132:1515I will abundantly bless her provision: I will satisfy her poor with bread. (Psalm 132:15): “I will abundantly bless her provision: I will satisfy her poor with bread.” He tells His disciples to feed the people, but their faith does not rise to such a need. They only look at what they have; they do not reckon on Him. They say, “We have here but five loaves, and two fishes.”
And He said, “Bring them hither to Me.” The Lord would have us in simple faith to bring both our wants and what little we have to Him whose grace is sufficient for every need.
“And He commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, He blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to His disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained, twelve baskets full. And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children.”
What a peaceful scene this is out there in the wilderness. In His richest grace the Lord spreads a table and feeds the poor multitude. He makes the feeble disciples themselves to be the dispensers of His goodness, as afterwards they must gather up what remained. As then, so it is now. He gives His servants the privilege of carrying that which will meet the need of those who feel the emptiness of what this world has to offer.
Further Meditation
1. Why did the Lord Jesus feed the multitude?
2. How does the Lord feed us today?