This story, the feeding of the five thousand is the only miracle Jesus preformed that is recorded in all four Gospels. Therefore we can conclude this to be a very important occurrence. It occurred during the Passover season about one year before Christ’s death (John 6:4). Wherever Jesus went large crowds gathered.
Now at this time several things had happened. Remember, Jesus was just rejected by the people in His hometown, as a matter of fact; He departed the area as they were attempting to push Him off a cliff. His disciple’s had just returned from the mission field, a trip He had sent them on (Mark 6:30; Luke 9:10). Word had just come to Him that Herod had beheaded His forerunner, John the Baptist. Not only was John His friend and partner in the ministry but also he was Jesus’ cousin, His own flesh and blood.
Some might say Jesus was fleeing for His life, but not so. He wasn’t afraid of Herod; He knew His time had not yet come. No, He needed time to get away, time to get alone, to grieve, to pray, to rest, to be with the disciples and hear about their experiences on the mission field and to teach them. He knew they also needed time to recharge their batteries.
So Jesus and the disciples got into a boat and crossed the Sea of Galilee to a deserted place to be alone. But when the people heard that Jesus had departed they followed on foot. When Jesus saw that the crowds had followed them, how did He react? Did He get back into the boat and go further away? Did He get upset that He wouldn’t get any rest or time alone with the disciples?
No, far from being irritated by this intrusion, He had compassion for them and began to cure them from any and all afflictions they had. Just like He’ll have compassion for each of us. All we have to do is turn to Him and put our trust in Him. He’ll take care of all our needs, now notice I didn’t say that He’ll take care of all our wants, but He will provide the necessities of life.
We all watched last week as the rescue team in Pennsylvania served in an effort that many of us thought would end in tragedy. Little did we or anyone else know that these rescuers were participating in a modern day miracle. Tears welled in my eyes as I suspect they did in others each time a miner was pulled from the earth. That round cage they used to extract them gave me a claustrophobic feeling just looking at it and I would sit in front of the TV telling the rescuers to hurry and get the rest out.
I am sure you have tried to imagine what three days down that hole felt like. Their story will no doubt become a made for TV movie. One of the miraculous images told about in their days together is the story about the lunch box. Apparently, just as they found the hole that would become their 77-hour life support a lunch box with a corned – beef sandwich and a soft drink suddenly appeared floating in the water – now we all can imagine how coal miners can eat! That was all they had to eat for three days. Just what they needed, the nutrition, carbohydrates, amino acid, sugar and caffeine to fight off hypothermia, not their wants but their life sustaining needs.