Matthew records a number of parables that portray Jesus mighty works as not simply the King of Jews but the Lord of all creations. The passage explains the might deeds Jesus did in the Jewish land. The structure of the passage is simple and straightforward, that is, the miracle was done to meet a need. Jesus performed the miracle of feeding five thousand people simply to get something more across. Jesus did not begin by doing a miracle but rather instructs the disciples to give people something to eat, which of course they did not have. Jesus gives them so that they might give to the people. The key idea that works on this section is compassion.
In order to make sense of the passage, it is important to understand that compassion is the internal yearning of concern and sympathy for people with great needs. It is a deep emotion that cannot be shut down easily, for instance, it becomes difficult to walk away from people of great pain, poverty or people with desperate needs. Jesus began healing people hence showing that he had compassion for them, compassion is among the characteristic attributes of God. Jesus's compassionate is further extended to the feeding of thousands of people. The passage in Mathew 14:13-21explains how Jesus is moved to do things for all people. He did not ask those who were righteous and those who were not, He did not choose the wise in finances and those who did not have. He just had compassion for those without setting any conditions or making an inquiry.
Other scholars argue that the passage gives a glimpse that God's reign will establish the end of death, the end of food shortage, and the end of sickness (Carter 305-308). Jesus enacted the Lords' will by feeding the hungry and healing the sick. Despite the fact that there is injustice in the society today, Jesus enacted this action to show that all people are equal before God and there is a need to share the love for all. Jesus confirms the action of compassion by giving the disciples food to supply to all people when the disciple wants to send people away so that they could find food in their local villages. Jesus tells the disciples that if they were concerned about the people, they could provide something for them to eat. A vital lesson from this passage is that the disciples needed more compassion for all people.
Jesus' compassion for the crowd moved him to go ashore and not the crowd's faith. Margaret goes on to relate, that the disciples suggest to Jesus to send the crowd to the nearest village, so they can buy food (Davies 108). The disciples were surprised by Jesus' response when he disagreed and told them to give people something to eat. The disciples replied that they only have five loaves of bread and two fish. Jesus took the bread as well as the fish and blessed it. However, he was devoured by his compassion since the multiplication of five loaves and two fishes fed more than five thousand people. This emphasizes that God will feed and provide for all of his people.
On the other hand, feeding a large number of people with a natural miracle recalls to the episode of manna and it is an anticipation of the messianic banquet (Greens 140-141). Matthew's passage explains that the disciples were puzzled by Jesus to feed everyone. The disciples did not at first understand how to treat people with compassion for the fact that they even wondered where they could get sufficient food to feed a large population of people who had followed Jesus.
The disciples are seen as exemplars of the late Christian who are referred to as faith falters. However, Jesus instruction to feed the feed teaches the disciples the need for compassion since in verse 19, there is an emphasis on the distribution of food by the disciples (Talbert 184). In a similar approach, the feeding of the people with bread symbolizes the way the Holy Communion was developed. Jesus broke the bread and gave to the disciple who also gave it to the followers of Jesus and this has been happening age after age. This application and the little insights of the text as they do not form the main message in the text despite the fact that they show compassion.
In conclusion, the compassion of Jesus is a revelation of his power as a messiah. Jesus's concern for the needs of people has a deeper meaning in the time since the whole ministry is centered towards feeding the people with both physical and spiritual food, which is part of compassion and care. Jesus shows his lordship over food resource, just as he has shown his authority over disease, sin, demons, nature and the sea. Christians have the same compassion as Jesus did since when they see the needy, the poor, and the hungry, they are moved by compassion to provide care.
Carter, Warren. Matthew and the Margins: a Socio-Political and Religious Reading. Orbis Books, 2001; p. 305-308
Davies, Margaret. Matthew. JSOT Press, 1993; p. 108-110
Green, H. Benedict. The Gospel According to Matthew in the Revised Standard Version. O.U.P., 1975; p. 140-141
Talbert, Charles H. Matthew. Baker Academic, 2010; p. 183-184
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