During those days another large crowd gathered. Since they had nothing to eat, Jesus 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. If I send them home hungry, they will collapse on the way, because some of them have come a long distance.” His disciples answered, “But where in this remote place can anyone get enough bread to feed them?” “How many loaves do you have?” Jesus asked. “Seven,” they replied. He told the crowd to sit down on the ground. When he had taken the seven loaves and given thanks, he broke them and gave them to his disciples to set before the people, and they did so. They had a few small fish as well; he gave thanks for them also and told the disciples to distribute them. The people ate and were satisfied. Afterward the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. About four thousand men were present.
Jeff Reed, Senior Pastor
Hillside Covenant Church (Walnut Creek)
Jesus waited until after the third day to perform the miracle of breaking seven loaves into thousands of pieces to feed the crowd of four thousand people. Maybe we should understand this text as implying that the people, for the most part, had brought their own food, and that all of that food had run out by the third day, so that only now they were turning hungry. Or maybe we could understand the text as suggesting that for a good portion of the three days this group of people chose rather to hang on Jesus’ words than go find food for themselves, and that their hunger had now reached a critical near-fainting stage. Jesus certainly was concerned for their condition at this point.
Assuming the plausibility of the latter scenario, think about this: Jesus did not rush in and solve their discomfort right away. He could’ve broken the bread and fish at any time. He waited, though. He allowed hunger to force people to choose Him over the growing, compelling need to eat. His intervention was disciplined by purposes other than alleviating immediate discomfort. Furthermore, the very delay heightened the impact of the intervention when He finally chose to grant it.
I have no doubt that Jesus continues to intervene on behalf of our needs, but He does so with a wisdom and discipline that rarely accommodates our preferences. He asks nothing of us that He Himself will not know before us. Wasn’t it three days of waiting before the vindication of His resurrection altered the course of the entire cosmos? Yes, I believe it was!
While I wait for Your help, Jesus, help me to trust that You care for me and will always do the right and the best thing in Your wise timing to my gain.