Most of us are familiar with the story in which Jesus feeds 5,000 people. This is the only miracle that is recorded in all of the Gospels. If you are unfamiliar with that event or have forgotten the details, then allow me to fill you in. It can be found in Matthew 14, Mark 6, Luke 9, and John 6. A large crowd has been following Jesus throughout the region of Galilee. All throughout the day, he has been teaching them and healing their sick. Scripture tells us that the number of men in the crowd was 5,000. This did not include any women or children that were also present. The number of people that were there could have easily been 15,000 or more.
As the day was drawing to a close, Jesus could sense that the crowd was getting hungry. Afterall, they have been with him and his disciples all day and haven’t had a chance to eat. Jesus turns to his 12 faithful followers and tells them that it is their job to get food for the people. Obviously, this is an impossible task. Where in the world would they ever get enough food for them? On top of that, there was no way that they could afford to pay for it. Andrew, one of Jesus’ disciples, mentions that there was a boy there who had 5 loaves of bread and 2 small fish. Jesus decides that this would be enough, despite the fact that that would only have fed a handful. The disciples are then instructed to have the crowd sit down in groups. Jesus broke the bread and gave thanks for all of it. Then, the disciples are each given baskets with the food being divided into 12 and dispersed evenly. They pass out the food and every person there ate all that they wanted. There was even plenty of leftovers. This was the largest scale miracle that Jesus performed during his ministry. He fed upwards of 15,000 people with 5 loaves of bread and 2 small fish. The disciples must have been blown away by what they witnessed.
Something kind of funny happens in the books of Matthew and Mark. There is actually a second mass feeding miracle that happens not long after the feeding of the 5,000. Once again, a large crowd has followed Jesus. They were all bringing their sick and disabled friends and family to the messiah for help. After a day of healing, Jesus tells his disciples that they need to feed the crowd. Admittedly, this group was a little bit smaller. It consisted of 4,000 men. Once we factor in women and children, we’re talking about 10,000 or more. After hearing Jesus call them to feed the crowd, the disciples once again ask, “Where could we get enough bread in this remote place to feed such a crowd?” (Matthew 15:33) This is the same group of people who were a part of feeding the 5,000, and yet, they are confused about how Jesus could feed this crowd! Nevertheless, they take the 7 loaves of bread and feed the crowd. Once again, they have plenty of leftovers. I said that this was kind of funny because one would assume that since the disciples saw that Jesus fed one crowd, then he would be able to feed the other. However, they quickly forgot about the previous miraculous act whenever the next problem arrived.
How often do we do the same thing? How many times has trouble come into our lives and Jesus took care of us? Then the next time that we face an obstacle, we question if he is going to be there for us. We are all plagued with short memories of God’s amazing work in our lives. Time and time again, he has shown up and gotten us through whatever was going on. He has proven that he will always be there for us and work things out for our good. We need to remember those times whenever we face the next hardship because if God can do it once, then he will do it countless times.
It all comes down to trust. Do we trust that God is going to continue to work in our lives during those hard times? Do we believe that he is going to do it again and again? Just like the fact that he didn’t feed just one crowd, he’s not only going to show up for you one time. He is there for you- always. Because of this, we can be people who live out what Psalm 112:7 says; “They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.” We have nothing to fear because God will keep showing up- even when it seems impossible. It is in those moments that we must cling on to the memories of when he proved his steadfastness to us before.