Daily D – Matthew 14:19-20
Then he commanded the crowds to sit down on the grass. He took the five loaves and the two fish, looking up to heaven, he blessed them. He broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. Everyone ate and was satisfied. They picked up twelve baskets full of leftover pieces.
MATTHEW 14:19-20 (CSB)
This chapter ends much differently than it begins. The first dozen verses are about the beheading of John Baptizer. Matthew inserts the story here between the Kingdom emphasis in chapter 13 and several miracles including the feeding of the five thousand, walking on water, and many healings.
Herod heard what Jesus was doing and saying and realized there was a commonality with what John Baptizer said and did. Herod was even more dramatic than that. He said, “This is John the Baptist, . . . He has been raised from the dead, and that’s why miraculous powers are at work in him,” (verse 2).
That makes it sound like he thought Jesus was possessed by John or something. Crazy people have crazy thoughts.
Notice what Jesus did when he heard about John. “(H)e withdrew from there by boat to a remote place to be alone,” (verse 13). Notice what the crowds of people did. “(T)hey followed him on foot from the towns.”
As he was getting out of the boat (verse 14), “he saw a large crowd, had compassion on them, and healed their sick.” After everyone was well, he fed them. This miracle is found in all four Gospel accounts. The disciples each picked up more leftovers than the five loaves and two fish Jesus started with.
Some people have a hard time believing this event. I am not sure why. When God created the heavens and the earth, he created it good. He filled it with all we need for life, living, meaningful work, and pure delight. He who spoke things into existence from the beauty of his glorious mind has no problem multiplying bread and fish.
Get the full picture of Matthew 13 and 14. The King has come. His kingdom is expanding. Kingdom rules apply. Nothing is impossible with God. The sick are healed. Waterways become pathways. Where God guides, God provides. Death is no longer an enemy to oppose, but a gift into the perfection this life makes us long for.
Jesus gives us glimpses of heaven in these two chapters. One day he will answer the prayer he taught us to pray: “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” (Matthew 6:10). We will never lack our daily bread. All of our sins and life complications will be forgiven and untangled. We will spend forever in the paradise of God.
Until then, every bite of food will remind us that God knows all about our problems and has the perfect solution for each. Most of those solutions come on this side of the curtain of time. Some await our arrival in our heavenly home. All of them are evidence of Kingdom grace, mercy, kindness, and love.
I will delight in God’s good gifts now and forever.
Our Father, this is your world, your gift of love to us. You created a kindergarten for us to learn about you, to experience you, and to discover there are some things only heaven can provide. Empower us to live lives of maximum expression while we are here on this earth. Prepare us for the exponential improvement awaiting us beyond the curtain of time. Thank you for loving us so much and so well. Amen.
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Deuteronomy 8:12-18 When you eat and are full, and build beautiful houses to live in, and your herds and flocks grow large, and your silver and gold multiply, and everything else you have increases, be careful that your heart doesn’t become proud and you forget the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery. He led you through the great and terrible wilderness with its poisonous snakes and scorpions, a thirsty land where there was no water. He brought water out of the flint rock for you. He fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your ancestors had not known, in order to humble and test you, so that in the end he might cause you to prosper. You may say to yourself, ‘My power and my own ability have gained this wealth for me,’ but remember that the Lord your God gives you the power to gain wealth, in order to confirm his covenant he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 “Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your city gates.“
Deuteronomy 1:2, 3 It is an eleven-day journey from Horeb to Kadesh-barnea by way of Mount Seir. In the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first of the month, Moses told the Israelites everything the Lord had commanded him to say to them.