Malankara World

Sermons Based on the Lectionary of the Syrian Orthodox Church

Devotional Thoughts Based on Matthew 15:32-39

Jesus Feeds 4000

by Rev. Dr. V Kurian Thomas Valiyaparambil

Gospel Reading: St. Matthew 15:32-39 - Jesus feeds the Four Thousand

Next Sunday is the sixth Sunday after Pentecost. Gospel reading for Sunday is from Mathew 15:32-39.

Topic: "Where could we get enough bread in this remote place to feed such a crowd?"

Scripture: (Mathew 15:32-39)

32Jesus called his disciples to him and said, "I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way." 33His disciples answered, "Where could we get enough bread in this remote place to feed such a crowd?" 34"How many loaves do you have?" Jesus asked. "Seven," they replied, "and a few small fish." 35He told the crowd to sit down on the ground. 36Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, and when he had given thanks, he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and they in turn to the people. 37They all ate and were satisfied. Afterward the disciples picked up seven basketful of broken pieces that were left over. 38The number of those who ate was four thousand, besides women and children. 39After Jesus had sent the crowd away, he got into the boat and went to the vicinity of Magadan."


Last week we discussed the disciples' dilemma, "How to feed all those people?"

Today's question is again from the disciples and is found in Mathew 15:33 of our scripture text. "Where could we get enough food in this remote place to feed such a crowd?"

In this story, Jesus and his disciples had gone to an area known as Decapolis which is on the southeast of the Sea of Galilee. (Mark 7:31) The region was called Decapolis as ten cities of the area had formed an alliance to guard their frontier that was exposed to open and unprotected desert area. The region was part of the territory ruled by Herod Antipas although most of the people who lived there were the Gentiles.

While Jesus was in Decapolis, the multitudes brought many lame, blind, mute, and others to him to heal. Jesus had compassion on the multitudes, for he feared if he sent them away with nothing to eat, they would faint along the way.

The miracle recorded in this chapter is not to be confused with the feeding of the 5000.

Comparison of Miracle of Feeding 5000 vs. Feeding 4000


Feeding 5000 Feeding 4000
5 loaves of bread, and 2 fish. 7 loaves of bread, and a few small fish.
12 baskets left over. 7 baskets left over.
The crowd with Jesus for 1 day. The crowd with Jesus for 3 days.
the spring of the year Summer.
The crowd tried to make Jesus king (John 6:15) didn't
primarily a Jewish congregation. primarily a Gentile congregation.
Place was Bethsaida, north of the Sea of Galilee. (Luke 9:10) Place was Decapolis, a region comprising of ten cities on the south-east of the Sea of Galilee. This was mostly a Gentile area. (Mark 7:31)

Jesus duplicated the miracle of feeding the vast multitude to demonstrate that he is the 'Bread of Life' to the entire world, not just to one group of people.

Now the question for the disciples was, "Do we have enough?." It is evident that Jesus loved these people and that's why he wouldn't send them home on empty stomach. Jesus called his disciples and said to them, "I have compassion for these people for they have been with me for three days and have nothing to eat. I don't want to send them away hungry." Jesus could have sent them home without any food. But Jesus' compassion motivated him to feed them. Afterward, the disciples began feeding the crowd with what they had with them, seven loaves of bread and few small fish. They ended up with seven large size baskets of left over.

The lesson we learn here is that God can help us by taking over our crippled life and straighten it out for us. If God can feed several thousands with seven loaves and few small fish, feed thousands with manna in the desert, whip a giant with a committed shepherd boy, make water come out of rocks, make the sun stand still, transform a terrorist named Saul into a preacher named Paul, surely he can enter into our lives also, and help us to straighten it up. For that, we must yield to him. When Jesus asks us, "How many loaves do you have?", whatever little we have, we must place our total trust in God's hands for us to yield enough blessings from him. If we do that, we will have more than enough of what we need in life.

See Also:

Sermons and Bible Commentaries for the 6th Sunday after Pentecost

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