‘‘The number of those who ate was four thousand’ Matthew 15.38
The feeding of the 4000 is a remarkable story, not least because it happens only one chapter after Jesus fed 5000! It is tempting to think that for some reason Matthew was simply re-recording the same event. However, the story is so encouraging for us.
Sometimes when we read a story in the Bible, we read it with a sense of 'if only that could happen to me'. Similarly we can read amazing stories of what God does in some people's lives, or we hear testimonies given in church, and again we can think, 'Well, good for them - but what about me?' This story of the feeding of the 4000 teaches us that what God has previously done, he can do again.
When we read of Jesus healing the sick in the Gospels, these are not meant to be stories of what once happened, but rather glimpses of what Jesus can do today. Similarly, when someone speaks about what God has done in their life, it is not that they are specifically chosen by God to be healed, but it is permission for us to believe that God is alive and active - and could indeed do the same for us.
Jesus is alive! He is not confined to the pages of a book, but is alive to us; his arms are open wide and his ears inclined to us.
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The Revd John Ryeland, Director of The Christian Healing Mission
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