READ : Matthew 15:32-39
Then Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion for the crowd.” (v. 32)
Today’s passage affords us still another look at the boundless compassion of Jesus. Having already fed 5,000 people at one time, the Compassionate One is up to it again. Only this time Jesus feeds 4,000. Some biblical scholars are confused by these multiple feedings and accordingly call into question the accuracy of the biblical witness. They argue if the Bible can’t get this right maybe many other things are wrong too – say, for instance, the way of salvation!
Here is the way I resolve the tension. The first feeding took place among the twelve tribes of Israel, and the twelve baskets left over symbolizes Jesus’ sufficiency for the needs of Israel. The second feeding took place among the ancient cities of refuge, east and south of the Sea of Galilee (called in Isaiah “Galilee of the Gentiles”), and the seven baskets left over symbolize Jesus’ sufficiency for the needs of all people. There had to be multiple feedings to show the expansive wingspan of Jesus’ amazing grace!
The next time you are tempted to draw the circle of God’s grace too narrowly, watch Jesus meeting the needs of the whole world!
Oh God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – open my eyes to see the expanse of your grace and the heart to embrace it! Amen.