Pentecost 10, 2023

Jesus feeds the multitudes. This miracle must have made an impact on the disciples. All four Gospels record it and the synoptics even record that Jesus repeated it with the feeding of the 4000, albeit with some interesting subtle twists. The fact that this miracle appears in all four Gospels seems significant. Very few manage to appear in all four Gospels. Only the resurrection and Jesus walking on the water (connected with the feeding of the multitude) are thus recorded. Many suggest that this miracle was especially important to the Christian communities of the first century and should be for us too. But the question is why?

One could argue that the first century folks were hungry all the time. It is true, the inhabitants of the Mediterranean basin had a protein deficient diet. That was not for lack of effort. Something like 90% of the people were employed in food production at the time. They were barely able to feed all those people. Many surely were hungry. But I believe the Spirit of our Lord has other reasons for moving the Evangelists to include this miracle in all four Gospels. In the days of the Exodus, God fed the people with bread. John is clear that this feeding needs to be read in that light. But we hear this from Matthew and I think he is going a little further back than this. In the third chapter of Genesis God cursed the ground for Adam and Eve. By the sweat of our brow we will eat our bread and the land will contend against us with weeds and thorns and thistles. No one broke a sweat for this bread. Jesus has come to undo that curse. In His kingdom, we do not live under that curse anymore. Matthew couples this story with Jesus walking on the water, another story with Genesis 1-3 implications. Jesus is the one who commands the wind and the waves. But save that. we hear it next week.

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