Jesus hears of the murder of John the Baptist, takes a boat and withdraws ‘privately’ to a lonely place. People “come after Him in crowds by land from the towns.” (Matthew 14: 13) We don’t know how long the people wait for Jesus to return, but when He “sees a great crowd; His heart goes out to them.”
What does He do? He doesn’t pray for them. Instead, He heals those who are sick. (Matthew 14:15) Then He sees the people are hungry. Likely they waited for Jesus all day for the disciples complain that “the day is gone.” (Matthew 14:15)
Jesus wants the disciples to feed the crowd. He says, “There is no need for [the people] to go.” (Matthew 14:16) But the disciples don’t have much in the way of provisions. Jesus takes what little they have, and multiplies it — just like that. Everyone has more than enough to eat — even leftovers! Jesus feeds about 10-15 thousand people, given that men, women and children are in the crowd.
Jesus meets needs. He doesn’t stand afar off in the boat, and lift hands to heaven. He comes ashore. He heals the sick. He feeds the hungry. He loves strangers and sinners, men, women and children. He disciplines His disciples. He takes care of Himself, going away ‘privately’ to a lonely place.
Guess which one He does first?
” ‘All we have here’, they say, ‘is five loaves and two fishes.’ ‘Let Me have them’, He replies. So He tells the people to sit down on the grass; then, taking the five loaves and the two fishes, He looks up to heaven, says the blessing, breaks the loaves, and gives them to the disciples; and the disciples give them to the people.”
Jesus tells His disciples not to send the hungry people away; instead He commands them to feed the five thousand men not to mention their women and children who are scattered along the hillside. Jesus tells the men “to sit down on the grass.” He says, “Take a seat, relax. We’re going to make sure you all have something to eat, and even more than you need.” Can’t you just see the smile in Jesus’ eyes as He says this to the crowd?
The disciples are incredulous. “We’ve only got this little bit of food. This is not even enough for us! And you want to share it with all these people? No way, Lord.” Can’t you just hear the whine, the anxiety in their voices as they say this to Jesus? What He is asking of them is just too much!
Jesus’ response is: “Bring them to Me.” He tells the disciples to give over what they have to Him. “I’ll take care of the hard part,” He says.
Then He prays over the five loaves, breaks them into pieces, gives the pieces of bread to His disciples who scrounge about for enough baskets to hold all the bread Jesus continues to hand back to them.
The little we give to Jesus comes back to us in ever abundant amounts. Not only do we gain what we need, we gain more than we need. [And for leaders, that which they give to Jesus He asks them to give back to those they shepherd. And everyone will have more than enough!]