The Scriptorium

Feeding the Multitudes

Come to Jesus and be filled. Matthew 15.32-39

Matthew 15: True and False Faith (6)

Pray Psalm 5.11, 12.
But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You;
Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them;
Let those also who love Your name
Be joyful in You.
For You, O LORD, will bless the righteous;
With favor You will surround him as with a shield.

Sing Psalm 5.11, 12.
(Angel’s Story: O Jesus, I Have Promised)
Let those rejoice who seek You and shelter ‘neath Your wing.
Their tongues shall rise to speak to Your praise; Your grace they sing.
Your people You will bless, Lord, all those who to You yield.
Preserve them with Your best Word, and guard them like a shield.

Read Matthew 15.1-39; meditate on verses 32-39.

Prepare.
1. How did the disciples respond to Jesus’ desire to feed the multitude?

2. In what ways was this feeding like the previous one (Matt. 14.13-21)?

Meditate.
We might have expected a different response from the disciples. After all, it hadn’t been that long since Jesus fed a greater multitude than this, with even fewer resources (Matt.14.13-21). But the disciples had not yet learned to think with the mind of Christ. Rather than operate out of the possibilities latent in Jesus, they were stuck in a materialist worldview where all they could see were limitations and restrictions. Where Jesus is at work, material circumstances are subject to Kingdom power, not the other way around.

The multitude had been with Jesus for three days (v. 32). What food they might have had was gone, and they were getting hungry. And maybe a little cranky? To their credit, they set their hunger aside to continue with Jesus. Not even growling tummies could turn them away from the One they’d come to worship.

I can’t help but wonder if at least some of the disciples might have slapped their foreheads, saying to themselves, “Duh!”, as Jesus asked about available resources. They failed the test again – a second time – but still, they were ready to do whatever Jesus asked. He again took the meager resources in hand, and through a miracle Matthew didn’t even try to explain, fed the multitude, with food to spare (v. 37).

We note that Jesus sent the people away “filled” (v. 37). Jesus is always ready to fill us, to meet our needs, whether for daily bread or a refreshed soul or power to serve Him in what look like impossible circumstances.

Reflect.
1. The disciples did not learn from their previous experience with Jesus. Are we ever like that?

2. When we’re faced with a difficult situation or challenge, where should we look first – to Jesus? Or to our own abilities? Explain.

3. How do you need Jesus to fill you today?

Why had he earlier said to his disciples, “Send away the multitude,” but now he does not send them away, even though three days had passed? It may be that they themselves had changed and improved by this time. Or it may be that since the people were glorifying God for what had been done, they had no great sense of hunger.
John Chrysostom (344-407), Gospel of Matthew, Homily 53.1

Fill me with Your Word and Spirit, O Lord Jesus, so that today I may…

Pray Psalm 5.1-8.
Mention all that is ahead of you this day, and ask the Lord to fill you with Himself for each activity.

Sing Psalm 5.1-8.
Psalm 5.1-8 (Angel’s Story: O Jesus, I Have Promised)
O Lord, attend and hear me, consider how I groan.
Receive my cries and near be, and love me as Your own.
By morning, Lord I seek You, for You will hear my voice.
My every need You speak to, and make my soul rejoice!

In sin You take no pleasure; no evil dwells with You.
Vain boasts You will not treasure, nor those who boasting do.
Sin kindles Your hot anger, You crush all those who lie.
The violent live in danger of Your all-searching eye.

O Lord, Your lovingkindness escorts me in this place.
I bow before Your highness and praise Your glorious grace!
In righteous ways You guide me; Your pathway I will know.
No good will be denied me as I with Jesus go.

T. M. Moore

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from
The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore