Jesus and the Apostles Withdraw
Earlier in Luke 9, Jesus gave the apostles authority to cast out demons and heal the sick. He sent them out to “proclaim the kingdom.” They no doubt experienced many successes and also possibly some challenges. When they returned, they were eager to share with Jesus all they had done. Jesus took them and withdrew to a remote place. They were tired and needed the rest. And Jesus wanted to follow up with them on their ministry, to reinforce what they’d learned and prepare them for future ministry.
When the crowds learned where they were, they followed them and interrupted their time together. But Jesus did not turn them away. He had compassion on them and welcomed them. He healed them and taught them.
The Apostles Have Had Enough
As the day wore on, the apostles came to Jesus and suggested that he send the crowd away. They said they were concerned about the people’s need of lodging and feeding, but it seems likely that the apostles were tired and wanted to be done ministering. They probably had been looking forward to their time alone with Jesus and may have resented the crowd taking that from them.
They obviously didn’t need to tell Jesus of the needs of the crowd. Jesus was more aware of what was going on than anyone. And he was more sensitive to people’s needs than anyone.
Jesus Challenges the Apostles
“You give them something to eat,” Jesus tells the apostles.
First the apostles object that the problem is too big. Even eight months’ wages’ worth of food would not feed the people they tell Jesus. Their focus was on the size of the problem.
Jesus wouldn’t accept that answer. So they turned their focus to the lack of available resources. Their were five loaves and two fish, but that was nothing of significance.
Feeding the Five Thousand
The most important factor was not the size of the problem. The most important factor was not the seeming lack of resources. The most important factor was the presence of Jesus. “Bring the loaves to me,” he said.
Listen to the sermon to hear the significance of the feeding of the five thousand and how Jesus used it to teach the apostles and important lesson.