Summary: Feeding 5,000+ (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email:

Reading: Matthew chapter 14 verses 13-21.


• Bread Test

• Bread (in some form or other) is the basic diet of people all over the world;

• Two reasons: first it is cheap & therefore accessible for the poor.

• Second it satisfies it fills you up.


Psychologist, Charles Allen tells this story in one of his books:

• As World War II was drawing to a close,

• The Allied armies gathered up many hungry orphans.

• They placed them in camps where they were safe and well-fed.

• Yet despite the excellent care they received, the orphans slept badly.

• They seemed nervous and afraid.

• Finally, a psychologist came up with the solution.

• Each child was given a piece of bread to hold after he or she was put to bed.

• This particular piece of bread was just to be held—not eaten.

• This extra piece of bread produced wonderful results.

• And the children started to sleep undisturbed through out the night.

• The extra piece of bread had a wonderful effect on the children because;

• As they went to bed they instinctively knew they would have food to eat the next day.

In the same way that each of us has PHYSICAL appetites that need satisfying.

• We also have spiritual appetites that need satisfying;

• And Jesus demonstrates in this passage that he alone can meet those appetites.

(1). The PURSUIT of the crowd (vs 13-14).

“When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns.

When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd,

he had compassion on them and healed their sick”


• Have you ever been so tired that you are just not sure you can go on?

• If the answer is yes, you might appreciate this story.


• A woman who had recently moved into a small village in Wiltshire,

• Was in the backyard hanging out the washing on the line.

• When an old, tired-looking dog wandered into the yard.

• She could tell from his collar and well-fed belly that he had a home.

• As she walked into the house, the dog followed her in,

• Sat down under the kitchen table and fell sound asleep.

• An hour later, he woke up;

• Went over to the door and she let him out.

• The next day he was back.

• He took up the same position under the kitchen table and slept for an hour.

• This continued for several weeks. Curious, she pinned a note to his collar:

• "Every afternoon your dog comes to my house for a nap."

• The next day the dog arrived with a different note pinned to his collar:

• "He lives in a home with 6 children - he’s trying to catch up on his sleep."

We know from the other gospels that record this story:

• That Jesus was looking for a break,

• He wanted to go somewhere quiet to get some rest, to recharge his physical batteries.

• People had been following Jesus and the disciples incessantly;

• And constantly making demands (wanted healings etc time consuming & very draining).

• And although Jesus was tried and looking for a break,

• The people kept coming and he was unable to get one.

• It is here that the remarkable difference of Jesus shows up.

• If it had been you or me, we would have sent the people away - but not Jesus.


In Mark’s version of the event (chapter 6 verse 34), we find this…

“When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd.”

To most of us the constant hassle of the crowd would have been an irritation;

• A pain in the neck.

• But Jesus had compassion on the people;

• Because he saw their deeper needs,

• They also lacked direction and purpose, like a lost sheep.


• John in his gospel gives us another insight (chapter 6 verse 1):

• John reveals the crowds motivation for following Jesus.

(Paraphrase verse 2):

“Jesus had been doing such great miracles, they kept following because they did not want to miss the tremendous excitement of the signs.”


• Arlo & Kathy about to go up to bed sometimes when the doorbell goes;

• Instant refusal until he saw who it was, they were scared he was missing out!

• Well you can understand the crowd not wanting to miss out on a miracle;

• Question: How many of you have seen a miracle?

• Miracles obviously don’t happen everyday;

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