Feeding The 4 Thousand – Non secular Media Weblog


By Noelle Sterne

That‘s not a typo within the title. Along with the well-known feeding of The 5 thousand (King James model: Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:31-44; Luke 9:12-17; John 6: 1-14), Jesus additionally fed one other 4 thousand (Matthew 15:29-39; Mark 8:1-9). However this miracle doesn’t get almost as a lot press as The 5, and many individuals in all probability don’t even learn about it. The 4 follows naturally, although, when it comes to Jesus’ messages and mission, and it might have much more significance than the well-known and often-quoted 5.  

The Precedent

As with so many different tales within the Outdated Testomony (OT) that prefigure the New Testomony (NT). this one has a predecessor—really, 4. The primary is Jehovah offering meals via Moses’ instruction for the Israelites within the wilderness, the manna and quail (Exodus:16). However that provision comes instantly from God. 

The extra human parallel to the NT feedings is thru the prophet Elisha. In 1 Kings 17: 12-17, Elisha multiplies flour and oil so a lady can feed him and her circle of relatives. In 2 Kings 4:1-7, Elisha helps one other lady with miraculous multiplication of her olive oil so she will be able to promote it and pay her money owed. And one other, the closest to these of the New Testomony: in 2 Kings 4: 42-44, Elisha multiplies twenty loaves to feed 100 males, with some left over.

Within the first account, Elisha additionally brings the lady’s son again to life, one other prefiguring of all Jesus would do. As with a lot else within the OT, the prophecies are fulfilled in Jesus, and He’s established as within the lineage and the rightful inheritor as God’s supreme consultant. 

Why This Comparability

I’m not a Bible scholar, solely a reader and reverer. However in finding out the 2 accounts of Jesus feeding multitudes with a handful of provides, I’ve discovered that their resemblances and variances maintain nice which means. A comparability will help us higher perceive (and recognize) the Grasp and His mission. Within the following, I evaluate a number of parts of each tales.

The Quantity

In The 5, Matthew 14:21 data about 5,000 males, including “beside girls and youngsters. 

In The 4, 4,000 males are additionally specified, and with the identical element: “beside girls and youngsters(Matthew 15:38). Once more, we don’t know what number of further folks confirmed up. In each accounts, there might have simply been 6,000 or extra. Some students estimate as much as 20,000. 

The Place

In The 5, Jesus fed the folks in Bethsaida (“Home of Fish”; Luke 9:10). This city was a fishing village on the northeastern shore of the Sea of Galilee. It was easy and desertlike, with Jewish inhabitants. 

In The 4, Jesus fed the folks on the border of the Decapolis (“Ten Cities”), on the southern finish of the Sea of Galilee. This was a gaggle of ten unbiased however related cities that flourished in Jesus’ time. They exemplified the Greek and Roman cultures and had been populated with non-Jews.

The Purpose

In The 5, Jesus and the disciples “went apart privately right into a desert place” (Luke 9:10); this was Bethsaida. Nevertheless, the folks, having heard of Him, adopted. Placing His personal wants apart, He “obtained them” (Luke 9:11) with compassion. He greeted them with kindness, consideration, and love and healed many. So, His first demonstration of compassion was to minister to their religious wants earlier than offering them with materials sustenance.

In The 4 at Decapolis, He had been performing many miracles of therapeutic, and the folks saved coming. Because the crowds mounted and the folks stayed for 3 days, once more He had compassion on them. “I cannot ship them away fasting, lest they faint in the way in which” (Matthew 15:32). And so he multiplied the seven loaves and few fish.


The starvation of the crowds can also be symbolic in each accounts. Phrase had unfold about His teachings and healings, and other people saved arriving. They had been hungry not just for meals but additionally for his Phrase. In each accounts, He heals and preaches.

The Individuals

The 5: Jews, which means Jesus’ countrymen.

The 4: Gentiles, which means anybody not a Jew = Everybody else.

The Leftovers

No query that the hampers ranneth over. 

In The 5, twelve baskets had been left over. This quantity is usually taken to represent the 12 tribes of Israel.

In The 4, seven baskets of additional meals had been gathered. This quantity is related to the Gentiles, symbolizing their seven nations (Deuteronomy 7:1-2). Seven can also be a sacred variety of completion and perfection (God created the world in seven days, and “Sabbath,” the seventh day, comes from the Hebrew phrase for completeness).

One other reference to seven: When the apostles had been out ministering, some Greek-speaking Jews (Hellenists) complained that their widows had been being uncared for. The disciples then advised them to select from amongst them “seven males of trustworthy report” (Acts 6:3) to see to the widows. These seven merged the Jewish and Gentile cultures.

The Bread and Fish

The bread and fish in each accounts are probably the most mundane objects attainable, and particularly in that point. The folks of Bethsaida had been fishermen, and bread and fish had been each day staples. However they each symbolize God’s Phrase. 

The Bread. The bread probably was a kind of pita. The barley bread laid out in The 5 (John 6:9) was the plentiful grain the poor ate. Wheat flour was for the extra prosperous. The bread, although, reminds us of the miracle of manna (Exodus:16) and Jesus’ declaration: “I’m the Bread of Life” (John 6:48).  It’s important too that in The 5, a “lad” (John 6:9) has the meals that Jesus takes and multiplies. This can be a reference to the innocence of kids and His phrases on how we should all turn out to be like them to actually perceive God (Matthew 19:14; Luke 18:16-17).

The Fish. Jesus advised the disciples, a lot of whom had been fishermen, “Observe me, and I’ll make you fishers of males” (Matt 4:19). The early Christians additionally made an acrostic of the Greek phrase for fish, indicating Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior. And in that period of persecution, they used the image to determine fellow believers. The signal of the fish has come to us to this present day. In lots of Christian denominations, it has turn out to be symbolic of Jesus and His teachings. 

Who Distributes?

In each accounts, Jesus provides the loaves and fish to the disciples and so they distribute the meals. This act and their dishing out it prefigure His admonition to them in Matthew 28:19 (sometimes called the Nice Fee): “Go ye due to this fact, and train all nations, baptizing them within the title of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” And in Mark 15:15: “Go ye into all of the world, and preach the gospel to each creature.” 

In Luke 9:1-2, He gave them extra: “The He referred to as His twelve disciples collectively, and gave them energy and authority over all devils, and to remedy ailments. And He despatched them to evangelise the dominion of God, and to heal the sick.”  They obeyed: “And so they departed, and went via the cities, preaching the gospel, and therapeutic each the place” (Luke 9:6). So, one might say the disciples’ first observe of sharing His compassion and the Phrase was spreading the meals He offered. Their dispersal symbolizes their later finishing up of the Nice Fee, spreading God’s Phrase all through all nations and performing miracles as Jesus gave them energy to do.

What Can We Be taught? 

Maybe we’re used to studying about Jesus’ miracles and possibly inclined to shrug a bit. However each accounts, seen freshly, engender marvel and humility and have a lot to show us. Listed here are some classes I extracted.

  • Be open to following whoever you’re drawn to, because the crowds did to Jesus. 
  • For Jews and non-Jews alike, that’s, all of us, God provides. And in each accounts the excess exhibits how God offers greater than we’d like. 
  • Settle for all seekers, no matter their ethnicity, and share our religious ideas.
  • Keep the course—in The 5, the folks listened to him for in the future; in The 4, three days. Hold at your religious observe.
  • Consider! As with the multiplication of loaves and fish, our provide is ever current as we belief. The folks in each accounts got here, apparently, unprepared. How usually are we ready to listen to God’s Phrase via us?
  • Acknowledge the Father’s Love and Care. In each accounts, Jesus had “compassion” on the gang, and in The 4 He stated he didn’t need them to faint from starvation (Matthew 15:32). He in all probability additionally knew that we are able to hardly absorb necessary messages if our bodily wants are urgent for consideration.

Bigger Context

Once we take the 2 tales collectively, we arrive at a broader view of Jesus’ teachings and mission. He excluded nobody and instructed his disciples to do the identical, in each feedings and of their later ministering. The 2 tales additionally foreshadow Paul’s pronouncement in Galatians 3:28: “There may be neither Jew nor Greek [Gentile], there may be neither bond nor free, there may be neither male nor feminine: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” 

I don’t know why The 4 is much less talked about (and maybe much less appreciated) than The 5. It’s simply as spectacular. And it provides us one other lesson: How usually will we decrease or ignore the miracles in our personal lives? They could not appear spectacular, however they’re . . . the attractive climate, amazingly aromatic gardenia, accomplice’s comforting hand on our shoulder, our very breath?

Allow us to be ever grateful for The 5. And The 4. 

*With due to Dave Stotts within the very good video Drive By means of Historical past—The Gospels, Episode 10, “Jesus Travels the Sea of Galilee.”



Bible Research. [2022]. What does bread symbolize within the Bible? https://www.biblestudy.org/bible-study-by-topic/bread-in-the-bible.html

Compelling Reality. (2022). What’s the which means of the Christian fish

image (ixthus /icthus)? 


Franz, G. (2022, February 4). The feedings of the multitudes—When, the place and why? Life and Land. https://www.lifeandland.org/2009/02/the-feedings-of-the-multitudes-when-where-and-why/

Jesusway4you.com Indicators & symbols of the Bible (Fish). [2022]. https://Jesusway4you.Com/2018/08/31/Indicators-Symbols-Of-The-Bible-Fish/ 

King James Bible. (2022). Bread and fish within the Bible. https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/search.php?q=bread+and+fish&web page=2&order=0&bsec=Z&quote=

By no means Thirsty. [2022]. Feeding of the 4 thousand. https://www.neverthirsty.org/bible-studies/life-of-christ-ministry-outside-of-galilee-mid-a-d-32/feeding-of-the-four-thousand/

Smothers, C. (2014, December 17). Seven: The variety of the Gentiles. https://colinsmothers.wordpress.com/2014/12/17/seven-the-number-of-the-gentiles/#:~:textual content=Anypercent20Bible-literatepercent20laymanpercent20couldpercent20tellpercent20youpercent20thatpercent20twelve, basketspercent20leftpercent20overpercent20shouldpercent20standpercent20forpercent20thepercent20Gentiles

© 2023 Noelle Sterne


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