The Mathematics of Feeding 5,000


There is a math problem in the story of Jesus’ feeding the 5,000 in Matthew 14:13-21.

Following the execution of John, the Baptist, Jesus tried to get away from it all for a while, but when he and his disciples had crossed the Sea of Galilee, crowds waited for him on shore.  Though he was grieving the death of his cousin, out of compassion, he nevertheless healed the sick who were brought to him.  Since it was a wilderness place and the day was coming to an end, the disciples suggested he dismiss the crowds so they could buy some food.  Jesus told the disciples to feed the people.

However, the disciples only had 5 loaves and 2 fish which posed an unsolvable equation for them.  In their view, the equation was 5 + 2 = 7.  Actually, the equation was 5 + 2 + 1 = 8.  The 1 is Jesus.  Notice I used the present tense.  Like the disciples we often view our resources as inadequate.  But Jesus says, “Bring them to me.”  Look what happens.  Jesus took the loaves and fish, looked up to heaven and said a blessing upon what was at hand and turned it into an abundance.

This isn’t only a mathematics problem in our private lives, but also in congregations.  Bring our resources to Jesus and see what he can do.  After all, in Holy Communion yesterday, He turned bread and wine into his body and blood, and fed millions of people.


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