Grace and peace in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Our text for today is the story of the feeding of four thousand people. This is very much like the feeding of five thousand, a story is found in all four gospels. This story is found here and in the Gospel according to Matthew 15: 32-39. Maybe it's the same story, but was it told twice by mistake, once with five thousand and once with four thousand people?
In the Holy Scriptures we find many accounts of miracles. A miracle is a suspension of the laws of nature, a sign of the power of God. All over the world, there are myths and legends, full of wonders, because all human beings like wonderful stories. So non-believers think the miracle stories in the Bible are equal to the myths and legends. They are good fables for children, but adults cannot understand them literally. But, as Saint Peter says (2 Peter 1: 16-21), we do not believe in man-made fables, but in the Word of God as a torch that lights up a dark world. All Scripture is inspired by the Holy Spirit and useful to teach, to convict, to correct, to instruct in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16). All the books of the Bible are without error, in general and in detail.
In fact, our Lord refers to two miraculous feeding accounts in Mark 8: 16-21. Again Jesus and the disciples were in a boat on the Sea of Galilee and the disciples had forgotten to take more than one loaf of bread on this trip ďAnd they argued with each other, saying: It is because we have no bread. And when Jesus understood it, he said to them: "Why do you argue, because you have no bread? Do you still not understand or understand? Are your hearts still hardened? Having eyes you do not see, and having ears you do not hear? And do you not remember ? When I broke the five loaves among five thousand, how many baskets full of the pieces did you lift up? And they said to him: Twelve. And when the seven loaves out of four thousand, how many baskets full of the pieces did you lift up? He said to them: How is it that you still don't understand? "
In the case of the four thousand, Jesus was in the region of the Decapolis. In this case they were from the border country which was predominantly pagan, while in the first case he had had to deal with Galileans. But of course there are many parallels between the five thousand and four thousand feed bills. Both times our Lord had the deepest compassion for the people, as his perseverance and his eagerness to hear and see him had led them to this unpleasant situation. Both times Jesus decided to test his disciples, to see if they now had enough confidence in his omnipotent power to help. Both times the disciples failed again in the test proposed by the Lord, it cannot be determined whether due to shyness or hardness of heart.
And a third time too. The departure from the Dalmanuta region had been very hasty. His course was aimed at a country that didn't offer much in the way of food. A single loaf, probably a leftover from the previous day, was all the provisions that the disciples had in the boat. But that single loaf of bread was on the mind of the disciples as a heavy burden. But the disciples were as dense as usual. They received the charge in silence and then discussed the matter among themselves, so that the Master would not hear them. The conclusion they reached was this, that the Lord's words were a rebuke because they had neglected to bring enough bread. That single fact worried them.
It was a lack of faith, a lack of trust in Him, which became evident in the case of the disciples, as if there was nothing more important to think about than bread. But it was only weakness and not malice. And so the Lord comes to their aid by catechizing them on these displays of divine power, to see if they had taken due note of the incidents of the feeding of five thousand and four thousand.
Everyone participated in the meal, and everyone was satisfied with eating; none were forced to starve. And both times the Lord, in the spirit of preservation of food that is advocated throughout the scriptures, caused the multitude to pick up the remains of the broken pieces, which could well be used as food, and they filled large baskets of the type used in that country for carrying great loads on its back. And like them, believers of all time find it very difficult to separate their minds from the concerns of this life. Christ, the Lord of heaven and earth, was with them in the boat, but this did not reassure the disciples. He is with us just as surely, according to his promise, even though he is physical. The visible presence has withdrawn, but our hearts are often equally haunted by our preoccupation with daily food.
Our God is a God of order. He created heaven and earth with natural laws, that is, processes that always follow the same pattern. God only sets aside natural law for the accomplishment of some unique and special purpose.
The compassion of Jesus moved him to feed the multitudes with the miraculous multiplication of bread. In these cases, the people were so preoccupied with the spiritual bread of the Gospel that they neglected their bodily needs. However, in Mark 8: 11-13, Jesus rejected the Pharisees' demand for a sign from heaven. Although the Pharisees had already rejected Jesus, they still tried to demand that he prove his identity as the Son of God. Therefore, his request was pure hypocrisy.
When we confess in the creed that God is the Creator of heaven and earth, we confess his power over natural laws. It is the activity of God by which he continually preserves, governs, and directs everything in our lives. For this reason, we pray in the Our Father, our daily bread give us today. Every time something wonderful happens, be it a miracle or a special case of God's providential care, thank and praise him. In this we have the peace that passes all understanding. Amen.
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