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Daily Bible Verses | Jesus ' First Miracle Of The Loaves And Fish | Audio Verses | Christian Faith | Community | Faith And Trust In Jesus | God The Son

Christian Art | Jesus Feeds The Multitude | Miracles Of Jesus | Loaves And Fishes

Matthew 14: 13-21 – Week 18 Ordinary Time, Monday (King James Audio Bible, Spoken Word)

13 ¶ When Jesus heard of it, he departed thence by ship into a desert place apart: and when the people had heard thereof, they followed him on foot out of the cities.
14 And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.
15 ¶ And when it was evening, his disciples came to him, saying, This is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals.
16 But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat.
17 And they say unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes.
18 He said, Bring them hither to me.
19 And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.
20 And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full.
21 And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children.

The people have gathered to be with Jesus, following Jesus on foot, out of the cities, to be near Jesus and to be healed, in a desert place. It may seem strange to us that the disciples wanted to send the people away! The disciples’ thought is that the people must go and buy themselves food to eat. Jesus knows differently. Jesus tells the disciples themselves to give the people the food they need to eat.

There is a great and powerful message here already in these verses. When people hunger, whether it be literally or metaphorically, it is for us to feed those people. This is the way we give ourselves to others, and so develop community. It is not for us to cast people back on their own resources, and so to cast them out of community with ourselves; it is for us to give all that we can, and in the knowledge that this can be sufficient – sufficient to cater for everyone’s needs. Here is love and charity.

The disciples express to Jesus the paucity of their resources. They only have five loaves and two fish, a day’s ration for a labourer. This is hardly luxury for one, and to feed five thousand?! With Jesus, though, the miracle happens. This small initial quantity of food can become an abundance.

As we hear these verses, we follow the sequence of the actions of Jesus which follow. Jesus tells the disciples to bring the little food they have to him. Then Jesus commands the multitude to sit down on the grass. In other words, Jesus commands this great diversity of people, who might not have been friends with one another – the crowd would probably have included people of different and opposed sects and cultural groups – to sit down, that is to say, to assume a passive attitude and disposition, a position of peace. When we are sitting down with one another, our enemies included, then we are not fighting; we are rather receptive, to our own and to one another’s needs.

Jesus takes the food and he looks up to heaven. The food is now offered to God in an attitude of prayer. We are called beyond our differences to reorient ourselves as communities in community in relation to God. There is love here. The food is blessed by Jesus and then shared. And so the miracle happens.

Did those loaves and fishes miraculously reproduce themselves? Was the miracle more humanly explicable, as one act of sharing leads others to share, until everyone shares and there is more than enough to go round? Either way, this is a miraculous occurrence. The love magnifies. There is more than enough to eat and share. There is a lesson for our world now in these verses: there is more than enough to share. Through peace, through love, and blessed by our Lord Jesus, our poor ration, of food and of our merits more generally, may feed and bring God’s love to the whole world.

Concluding Prayer

Father, Creator of all that is good,
you have called men to work in your world,
and by their cooperation to better the condition of mankind.
Grant that we may always work together as children of your family,
and love all men as our brethren.
Through Christ our Lord.

King James Audio Bible KJV | King James Version | Endnotes

What Is The Significance Of Sharing A Meal In The Bible?

The Gospel passage illustrates the power of sharing a meal in the Bible. In this case, Jesus provides not just physical sustenance, but also spiritual nourishment to the people. The meal becomes a symbol of God’s provision and care for his people, as well as a sign of the coming messianic banquet that will take place in the kingdom of God.

In Genesis 18, Abraham welcomed three visitors who turned out to be the Lord and two angels. He prepared a meal for them and showed them hospitality, which led to the promise of a son for Abraham and Sarah. This story highlights the importance of hospitality and generosity towards strangers, as well as the blessings that can come from showing kindness.

In the New Testament, Jesus himself is often depicted sharing meals with a variety of people, including his disciples, tax collectors, sinners, and Pharisees. In these meals, Jesus demonstrates his inclusivity and his desire to bring all people into the kingdom of God. Jesus also uses meals as a way to teach important lessons. At the Last Supper, Jesus institutes the sacrament of communion and commands his disciples to remember him through the breaking of bread and the drinking of wine (Matthew 26:26-29).

Jesus famously shared a meal with Zacchaeus, a tax collector who was despised by many in his community. By inviting himself to Zacchaeus’ home, Jesus demonstrated his love for all people and showed that even those who are shunned by society are worthy of God’s grace and forgiveness (Luke 19:1-10).

Luke 24 tells the story of the two disciples walking on the road to Emmaus after Jesus’ crucifixion. They encountered a stranger who joined them on their journey and eventually revealed himself to be the risen Christ. When they arrived at their destination, the disciples invited the stranger to stay and have a meal with them. During the meal, Jesus broke bread and their eyes were opened to Jesus’ true identity. This story highlights the significance of recognizing Christ in the breaking of bread and the importance of fellowship and hospitality in the Christian community.

The early church continued this tradition of sharing meals as a way to foster community and demonstrate love for one another. In the book of Acts, we read about the believers in Jerusalem sharing all things in common and breaking bread together daily (Acts 2:44-47). The apostle Paul also speaks about the importance of sharing meals in his letters, such as in 1 Corinthians 11:17-34, where he addresses the practice of the Lord’s Supper and the need for unity among the believers.

Theologians and religious leaders have written about the significance of sharing a meal in the Bible. For example, Saint Augustine, a prominent Christian theologian of the 4th century, wrote about the connection between physical and spiritual nourishment, saying: ‘The visible food is received into the body, and makes it grow; the invisible food, the Word of God, is received into the soul, and makes it flourish’. (Confessions, Book 7, Chapter 10)

Similarly, Martin Luther, leader of the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century, emphasized the importance of the Lord’s Supper as a means of grace. Luther believed that the Lord’s Supper was a tangible way for believers to experience the presence of Christ and receive his grace. He saw it as a means of strengthening the faith of the believer and reminding them of the forgiveness of sins that comes through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.

In his Small Catechism, Luther wrote: ‘What is the Sacrament of the Altar? It is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ under the bread and wine, instituted by Christ himself for us Christians to eat and to drink.’ (Part V, The Sacrament Of The Altar) Luther emphasized that Christ is truly present in the elements of bread and wine, and that through partaking in the Lord’s Supper, believers receive the benefits of his sacrifice.

Luther also believed that sharing meals in a community setting was important for building relationships and demonstrating love for one another. In his treatise On Christian Liberty, he wrote: ‘The love of Christ does not only require that we love our neighbors as ourselves, but also that we sit with them at table, eat and drink with them, and live with them in all human fellowship.’ (Chapter 16)

Luther saw the act of sharing meals as a way to embody Christ’s love for others and build up the community of believers. He believed that sharing meals in this way was an essential part of Christian fellowship and that it was important to practice hospitality and generosity towards one another.