Each of the gospels record that Jesus fed 5000.* Matthew and Mark also record a separate event of feeding 4000.# How can that be? Is this credible? †
Many churches across America are involved in food distribution. Our Connecticut church, for example, provides groceries for about 12 meals for 400 families weekly. That is about 6 full plastic bags of food per family. It is a huge logistical challenge to serve about 5000 meals. It takes large donations of food from grocery chains and other food bank services that need to be organized, sorted, put into individual bags and staged for delivery into a parade of vehicles. It takes over 100 volunteers to participate in the preparation and delivery. It is an impressive operation.
But, of course, in these Bible stories, Jesus himself was the supply chain by multiplying the small donation of loaves and fishes. We don’t know the details, but if he touched each loaf and fish to serve 5000, that alone would have been a daunting task. Did the disciples assist in breaking the bread? Did volunteers also help? We don’t know.
In the Bible story, to put the food in basket containers for 5000 meals and deliver them in the open countryside would have been a huge process. Most likely, many in the crowd stepped up to assist in the distribution of the food in order to provide the impromptu meal for that many people in an afternoon. It must have been an impressive operation.
The delivery of the Great Commission is also an impressive operation. It takes thousands of volunteers to be engaged in the task. Will you volunteer to participate? Sign up at MissionNext and see what that might look like for you. It could be in the US, abroad, short-term or as a next career. Don’t miss out.
† The text reports the event was feeding 5000 men. Was it 5000 total or did they only count the men? That would make the total served 15,000 to 20,000 men, women and children, which is even more incredible.
Missionaries report in non-western cultures, when people re-tell the story in their language, they change it to 50 people to make the Bible more credible to listeners. Feeding 5000 stretches their minds beyond reason.