They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.
I love going out for a curry with my friends. Sadly it’s not something that happens all that often, but I do enjoy it when I get a chance. Being rather unadventurous, I tend to have a chicken tikka masala, pilau rice and a Peshwari nan, and perhaps one of those funny ice creams in a fruit skin afterwards. By the time I’ve munched my way through that lot, I’m usually completely full. Not another morsel could cross my lips. Then, of course, it’s time to pay the bill…
In today’s reading, we witness the aftermath of a very famous meal. Jesus has just miraculously fed five thousand people with five loaves of bread and two fish. You’d think that you might struggle to feed a dozen people with that, but somehow Jesus manages to feed five thousand! What’s more, after the meal there are twelve baskets full of leftovers! Everyone present, all five thousand, have eaten until they are full, and there is still a huge amount of food left.
The picture we have of Jesus in the feeding of the five thousand is of a compassionate person, who recognises the needs of all people and is eager to provide for those needs. We also get the image of one who provides in abundance; Jesus doesn’t hold back, he doesn’t give the people just enough to get by, he gives them more than they could possibly need. No one present on that day expected Jesus to be able to feed everyone who had turned up to listen to Jesus, but miraculously he did.
This is the same Jesus that we follow today. The Jesus who we have declared to be our Lord and master if we are Christians is the same generous Jesus who understands people’s needs and is able, willing and happy to meet those needs. Even if we believe that there is no way that Jesus could possibly provide all that we need, he is capable of doing so.
Give thanks today that our God is generous, loving and compassionate. Give thanks that he provides in abundance to those who follow him and listen to him. Pray that God will meet our needs, physically, mentally and spiritually. And be confident that no matter how unlikely it might seem that God can meet our needs, there is nothing that he cannot do.