Matthew 14:13-21; Feeding the Crowd (8-3-2014)

By the Rev. Bob Gochenour


Class of children asked: What is your favorite Bible story?

“I like the one where everybody loafs and fishes.”

So did the early church: ONLY MIRACLE FOUND IN 4 GOSPELS

Lost Miracle of Jesus

Lost to me: I never saw it before

Miracle of the Multiplication overshadows this miracle

The miracle is found in the context of this passage: Death of John

John the Baptist & Jesus were first cousins

Gospels paint a picture of family friendship between them

Vs 13: Jesus withdrew “to a deserted place by himself”

Jesus’ grief—mourning for his friend/cousin

Jesus’ alarm—threat from Herod against ALL preachers

Jesus went into hiding

Jesus went on retreat

Jesus was practicing Sabbath rest

Crowds found him!

Miracle= Jesus had compassion on them

He set aside his sorrow, weariness, fear, and anxieties.

He cured the sick and ministered to their needs.


He forgot his own needs to serve the needs of the crowd.

Portrait of Jesus = Compassion for all

Seen in every miracle story: healing of the lepers, walking on the water, healing Gentiles in Gennesaret, casting out demons, raising Jairus’ daughter, healing the paralytic.

We see Jesus’ compassion at the Garden of Gethsemane when he prays: “Not my will but thine be done.”

Jesus is even willing to die for us.

Jesus’ compassion is aimed at us!

Seminar speaker: $20 bill

Value of money remains

Value of people: no matter how many times we have been dropped, crumpled, ground into the dirt, and made to feel worthless, YOU ARE STILL WORTH GREAT VALUE.

Jesus honors your value with compassion.

Notice the compassion in this story: Give them something to eat

They do not need to go away to eat

They do not need to buy food for themselves


Rev. Alan Kimber/ Westfall UMC in Durban, South Africa

School children: 500 kids in two classes/ morning & afternoon

All the kids were poor: no shoes, no shelter, no food

Realization: kids couldn’t learn because they were hungry

They brought the problem to church one Sunday morning.

Pastor Kimber quoted Jesus: “You give them something to eat.”

Like the disciples, they answered: “We have nothing!”

Then one man said he had $5

 Another person said they had $10

Compassion took over their worship service: they collected $2,000 that same morning.

They began to feed the children.

The miracle continued year round.

They all learned the miracle of Jesus’ compassion.

Their eyes became open to the nature of God.

God’s compassion comes from God’s generosity.

God is a lavish God.

God deals generously.

God is a God of great abundance.

The blessings of God are showered upon us continuously.

The measure we get back is far greater than what we give.

But we have to stop thinking: “We have nothing.”

Jesus demonstrated this abundant generosity in feeding the 5000

He took a boys’ lunch: 5 loaves of bread and 2 little fishes and fed the multitude—at least 15,000 people!

There was even 12 baskets of leftovers!

This was a miracle of generous compassion.

This was a miracle of multiplication.

This was a miracle of abundant sharing.

This was a miracle of community building.

This was a miracle of equipping the disciples to minister.

This was a miracle of vision adjustment.


Miracle of the Lord’s Supper

We gather around Jesus’ table to share this meal.

God reminds us of his compassion and generosity.

He feeds us spiritual food.

He applies his compassion towards us: making Jesus’ death on the cross and his resurrection the source of salvation for all.

He grants us his generosity: he forgives us and makes us his redeemed children—sons and daughters of the Most High God.

 As we partake the elements of bread and wine: we experience God’s compassion and generosity.

Come and receive this new miracle:

God’s love,

God’s compassion,

God’s generosity.