Summary: This messages lets us know that scarcity does not bother Jesus in the leaset. The two miracles indicated showss he has enough for all people.
More than Enough
First Miracle: Matthew 14:13-21
Second Miracle: Matthew 15:32-39
“Where could we get enough bread in this remote place to feed such a crowd?” Matthew 15:33
When is it enough? In this case it clearly wasn’t enough and couldn’t be stretched to make enough. It was a full-blown example of scarcity. Jesus asked, “What do you have?” How many loaves do you have? Jesus wanted to know what resources they had before saying, “Oh, that’s not enough.” When they said, “There are seven small loaves and a few small fish” in the second miracle, that number didn’t phase Jesus. He didn’t react to the scarcity of the resources, but responded as if something could be done. It was as if Jesus were saying, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” Have the people sit down and get ready for lunch. Jesus knew how to handle a problem like this. He also fed another crowd of people—the 5000 reported in all four gospels. Matthew 14:13-21 reports only five loaves and two fish. They didn’t have a truck load of food in either case and Jesus said the people had not had anything to eat for three days. It wasn’t that He wanted to show his skill in providing for the people, but scripture said he had compassion on them.
In the two accounts, there was a different number of people fed-- 5000 and 4000. The first account shows a Jewish audience and the second Gentiles. This shows He included all people. He had enough provision for all of them and compassion for all. They were facing a situation where they needed more than human effort. They needed a miracle. The disciples responded with doubt. Where in the world could they find this much food even if they had money to pay for it. On one hand they had a need and scarcity to meet the need. They had Jesus but what could He do about it. They had doubting disciples who should have been strong in faith but weren’t. Then Jesus said something to these doubting disciples that they didn’t expect to hear him to say. Just as their solution was to send them into town to buy some food, Jesus mattr of factly said, “They don’t need to go away. You give them something to eat.” They probably gulped when he told them to do that. They quickly replied, “But we have here only five loaves of bread and two small fish.” In both of these miracles there was scarcity and impossibility. Could it be done? No way. Jesus out to know this but He answered them, “Bring the loaves and the fish to me.” In both cases he had an idea of what he was going to do.
The disciples were focused on the little fish and the small loaves. Jesus said, “Bring them to me.” In both cases He lifted them up toward heaven and gave thanks and broke the loaves into pieces. Then he handed the pieces to his disciples and said, “You give them some bread and fish. Scriptures says, “They all ate and were satisfied,” meaning that they didn’t have just a few crumbs. They were adequately fed. There was not the volume of food to start with piled high before their eyes like a truck load or a warehouse full piled high ready to dispense to the people. They started where they were in their inadequacy and gave some to the first person. That was probably scary. What if they gave the bread out and the rest of the people were sitting there with their hands out waiting for some and there was none? What if the last of the fish was gone and there was no more to give? The “what ifs” probably raised the anxiety level. They were new at this. What if it didn’t work? They would be the laughing stock of the entire area. They probably moved slowly among the waiting crowd. So far so good. The disciples fed all of the people, and they were not only satisfied but there were basketsful left over. In one miracle there was 7 basketsful and in the other 12.
What if our giant miracle doesn’t appear all in one big chunk? What if we have to take the little loaves and small fish and let them multiply slowly over time with little evidence of visibility. This is often the way healing occurs—lift up the little and say, “Thank you Jesus.’ Often we discount the little that God is unfolding for us. Count the little as much when God is in it. The little bit of fish is better than no fish at all.
The people sitting in groups on the gross were probably wondering what was coming next. Maybe they wondered if the supply would hold out until it got to them. Maybe their faith soared that day because Jesus, the Miracle Worker, was there. Probably there was a mixture of thoughts. Some might not have believe at all just like today. Some may have had weak faith barely believing their eyes when the bread and fish got to their row. Some might have nudged the person next to them and said, “I told you He could do it.”