Five Thousand Hungry People – Luke 9 vs 10-17

Luke 9 vs 11. “but the crowds learned about it and followed Him. He welcomed them and spoke to them about the Kingdom of God, and healed those who needed healing.”

When the disciples returned from their preaching mission Jesus withdrew with them to a private place, perhaps to debrief them. But the crowds soon found them and he did not rebuke the crowds, but as always, he welcomed them. He understood the yearning of the human heart for a time of release from the disappointments and frustrations and the pains of life, thus He spoke to them about the Kingdom of God.

Being in a remote area, the disciples intervened to tell him to send the crowds away as it was getting late and no one had brought food with them. Think of the unintended impertinence of this action. As if Christ did not know it was getting late and that there was no food. It seems that the disciples still had lessons to learn about how powerful the Kingdom of God is, in spite of their successful preaching tour and the miracles they witnessed.

Jesus had no intention of sending the people away. He was going to give them a foretaste of what it would be like when the Kingdom of God fully arrived. The miracle which followed here refers back to Isaiah 25 vs 6-9, where in his poetic and prophetic manner Isaiah says that one day God would spread a banquet for all the nations of the world, a feast of rich food, vintage wines, satisfying dishes and great beverages.

The time for the spreading of that banquet of course, has not yet arrived, but Jesus was going to give the crowds and his disciples a foretaste of it and once again the powers of the age to come would be demonstrated. This was to be the greatest miracle the disciples witnessed and would show up how inadequate their thinking about the thinking of the Kingdom of God really was.

The focus is on the inadequacy of the available food supply – five loaves and two fish for a crowd of 5 000 men, not counting women and children. Looking to Heaven Jesus brought those powers of the age to come, back into action and transformed the meagre food supply into more than enough to feed the crowds. Oh, dear friends, what a great world it will be, when the Kingdom comes in all its fullness. In the prophecy in Isaiah death is finally banished. Here we have the One who said “I am the Life.” He overcame even death for us.

But notice again how Jesus transformed the very inadequate resources into something great. Do you think He can do that with you? With me? Yes, indeed you may be very inadequate and small and feel useless and feeble, but He can use you too.

And no matter how meagre our circumstances may be, when He is at work, with His great power and love, there will be “twelve basketfuls left over”.