“They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” Matthew 14:16
The scene: a lonely wilderness place by the Sea of Galilee. The situation: a hungry crowd of 5,000 men plus women and children. The startling command: You feed them. The disciples ask Jesus to send the crowds away to the villages where they can buy food. Jesus says, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” Taken aback, the disciples reply, “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish” (Matthew 14:17). Impossible!
Does that scene look familiar to you? We live in a world of hungry people – physically hungry and spiritually hungry, hungry at day’s end, week’s end, and year’s end. We recognize their hunger and would like to send them somewhere else for help. Then Jesus startles us with the words of our text. Taken aback, we look at our checkbook balance, our cupboard, and our social calendar. Reporting we say, “We have here only two one dollar bills, a can of sauerkraut, and 15 minutes a week.” Impossible! What is that for a hungry world?
But Jesus replies, “Bring them here to me” (Matthew 14:18). He proceeds to work a miracle. Having the crowd sit down on the grass, He takes the five loaves and two fish, gives thanks to the Father, and then the disciples distribute it to people. The entire crowd eats, with 12 basketfuls remaining. Impossible? No, not for Jesus working through the disciples.
Jesus says to us, “Bring them here to Me.” We invite them to come and sit. He takes our gifts and multiplies them for all to receive. Then He asks us to feed them. He has fed us. He gave His body as bread for the world. He feeds us with His body and blood in the Sacrament. And He asks us to distribute our physical and spiritual blessings to the hungry. Impossible? On our own, yes, but with His bountiful grace, no. The Crucified and Risen One supplies us and then commands, “YOU FEED THEM!”
PRAYER: O Bread of Life, help us to feed the hungry! Amen.
(Devotions from “My Daily Devotion” by Dr. Stephen J. Carter, copyright 1988 CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. Permission is granted for one-time emailing of this link to a friend. For ordering information, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit www.cph.org.)
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