Summary: Here is a huge miracle, the feeding of the 4000. But what makes it different than the feeding of the 5000 earlier in the same chapter? For those of us who are Gentiles, it should be very comforting.
Passage: Matthew 15:29-6:4
Intro: There are so many wonderful things about the Word of God.
1. but essentially, it reveals the heart of God, who God is.
2. and the greatest revelation of His heart is seen in the actions and attitudes of His Son Jesus
PP Hebrews 1:3
3. in this passage before us, a crystal clear and powerful revelation of the character of God, misunderstood by the disciples and rejected by the Jewish religious leaders.
4. but in it we find great encouragement not only to rest in the character of God, but to reflect it.
5. a little geography and history first, sets the stage for the amazing nature of this event.
I. Grace Goes Viral
1. last week, Jesus in Tyre and Sidon, heals daughter of Canaanite woman
2. v29 says he left there and went “along the Sea of Galilee,” but which side?
PP Mark 8:31
3. this was a very interesting territory
PP Map of original Jewish tribes.
PP Map of Palestine during Christ’s life
4. so it was full of Gentiles for last thousand years, but originally part of Israel
5. this helps explain why Matthew has the feeding of 5000, and this feeding of 4000
6. going to see several differences, but recognize that this outpouring of healing and feeding was done to a Gentile crowd!
7. extremely interesting that there is no record of teaching, just a great outpouring of we have come to recognize as common grace; the undeserved kindness of God to sinners.
8. list of ailments in v30, list repeated in v31, but healed!!
PP Lourdes crowd
9. and imagine everyone of them healed, and the great rejoicing taking place! “Praised the God of Israel”
10. I can imagine the disciples standing there watching this with a sense of uneasiness.
11. Judaism had taken a number of hard shots in the last week.
12. vv1-20, Jesus refers to Jewish religious leaders as “blind guides”, and tells people to ignore them
13. goes to Gentile country and heals the daughter of a Canaanite woman!
14. and now this mass healing of an indiscriminate crowd of Gentiles from who knows where!
15. fascinating that Jesus “called His disciples to him” in v32. Where were they? Standing off muttering?
16. when with Jews, disciples brought up possible trouble after one day
17. here, after three days, Jesus brings it up to them!
18. and their response? Forget the miracles they have seen, the feeding of the 5000. “Can’t help you!”
19. but let’s look at the heart of God
II. The Compassionate Heart of God
1. Jesus doesn’t begin by asking the disciples what to do.
2. “I have compassion”, I feel for these people in my gut.
3. they walked from who knows where to get here, they have been here with me for 3 days, and there is no food available for their trip home.
4. disciples response? “Tough luck! Beyond our ability.”
5. isn’t it amazing that, having seen Jesus feed 5000, they didn’t get it?
6. I’m guessing that they figured Jesus could do it, but should he?
7. here is the heart of God.
8. He has already healed thousands of people, every person laid at his feet.
9. and now he takes it upon himself to feed them out of a heart of pure compassion and love.
10. he invited the disciples to participate, and they did.
11. and so they became conduits of the grace of God, something that God calls His children to be.
12. this is one of the huge misconceptions that Jesus came to correct.
13. that God’s grace was limited to those who deserved it.
PP Hurricane Katrina
14. when this storm hit, some believers blamed it on the sinfulness of New Orleans.
15. Hey! Common grace is God’s compassionate heart, and the consequences of sin are deserved by everyone!
16. this is the heart of God! Compassion, grace, mercy
17. and until God decides it is time to judge, His grace is poured out without measure!
18. not up to us to decide who deserves it and who does not.
III. Don’t Look for Something Else
1. don’t let chapter divisions stop you.
2. in this context of miraculous and overwhelming revelation of power and grace, here come the Pharisees and Sadducees
3. the signs he was giving were not good enough, or didn’t fit their expectations.
4. “sign from heaven”=a miraculous token to be fulfilled on command.
Il) kill that tree, move that rock, show me your power at my command.
5. Jesus’ response? You are missing what is happening right in front of you.
6. God is revealer, and holds us accountable for our response.
7. we have seen this again and again in Matthew.