Matthew 15:29-39 MKJV And moving from there Jesus came beside the Sea of Galilee. And He went up into a mountain and sat there. (30) And great crowds came to Him, having with them the lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others. And they cast them down at Jesus’ feet. And He healed them, (31) so much so that the crowd wondered when they saw the dumb speak, the maimed sound, the lame walk, and the blind see. And they glorified the God of Israel. (32) Then Jesus called His disciples and said, I have compassion on the crowd because they continue with Me for three days now and have nothing to eat. And I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way. (33) And His disciples said to Him, From where should we get so many loaves in the wilderness, so as to fill so great a crowd? (34) And Jesus said to them, How many loaves do you have? And they said, Seven, and a few little fish. (35) And He commanded the crowd to sit on the ground. (36) And He took the seven loaves and the fish, and gave thanks, and broke, and gave to His disciples. And the disciples gave to the crowd. (37) And they all ate, and were filled; and they took up seven lunch baskets full of the pieces that was left. (38) And those who ate were four thousand men, besides women and children. (39) And sending the crowd away, He went into the boat and came into the borders of Magdala.
After leaving the city of Tyre, Jesus and His disciples traveled southeast along a well traveled road meeting small groups along the way. Some passed by with barley a greeting, while others recognized Jesus as soon as they were within sight. The journey gave them the opportunity to share time and meals with a number of people from different regions. Jesus wanted them to see how the trade routes were an effective means of reaching out to others.
Jesus was recognized at an increased consistency the closer they traveled to Galilee. For the most part the greetings were short. Most people asking nothing more than a blessing from Jesus. At last they stood upon the shore of Galilee. Every disciple’s mind was filled with memories as they gazed upon the water. Some thought of the parables Jesus taught. Others reminisced about familles, their former lives, and childhood memories. No one forgot about the storms they had been through, and how Jesus had calmed them.
Friends in a small boat sailing close to shore recognized Peter and Andrew. They immediately landed on shore to share their meager catch. As the fish were cooking over a open fire on the beach, Jesus and His disciples shared a number of stories with the friends who provided the meal. When the time arrived to part ways, the guests headed off on the lake, while Jesus led His disciples up the mountain.
The disciples found it difficult to keep up with Jesus as they ascended up the side of the mountain. Even thought they tried to follow in His steps, they found the going rough. The landscape seemed to continuously change from pockets of sand, loose gravel, large rocks to navigate around, and vast patches of weeds and thorns. Jesus was familiar with the climb. Only a few weeks earlier He had descended the same mountain in the dark on His way to save His disciples from the storm. As the distance between them and Jesus increased, so did the obstacles they had to navigate.
Clearing a high and steep ridge, they found Jesus sitting upon a rock facing a clearing on the southern side of the mountain. As they approached Jesus, they saw what had attracted His attention. A large group of people were traveling up the gentle slope towards Jesus. It was clear to see they were seeking Jesus to heal those among them in need. People were carrying dozens in litters, leading the blind by hand, and assisting those on crutches. John asked Peter if it was possible his friends had announced Jesus’ arrival. Peter replied, “can anyone keep in such great news?”
Jesus slid down from the rock and called His disciples together to say a quick prayer. He simply asked the Spirit to clearly reveal the lessons ahead.
As the people arrived they calmly laid the sick upon the ground. Jesus walked among them as they patiently waited. His disciples following close behind gazed upon the hope in each and every eye. They imagined the life some of these people may have led up to this day. The smiles on their faces hid the pain and suffering of the past months and years. Just the sight of Jesus was enough to fill their lives with hope.
Jesus came to an old man laying on a litter quickly constructed for the journey up the mountain. He knelt down next to the man, took his hand and asked, “do you believe your sins are forgiven?” The man answered, “yes.” He immediately stood upon his feet. Feeling like he was twenty again, he leaped for joy, praising God.
Jesus also healed a number of people with various diseases, infliction’s, and wounds. The hardest wound to heal was that of a young woman who had recently lost her husband. She came to ask Jesus how God could allow such a thing. She told Him how much they loved one another, and their plans for the future. She told Jesus about the minute to minute pain she felt, as she struggled to make it through each day alone. How the memories of everything they shared seemed so empty without him by her side. Jesus took her aside to be alone for some time. When they returned, her expression was more peaceful than before, but still showed a sense of sadness.
For three day Jesus healed every person who came to Him on the mountain. It was quite a sight, thousands of people praising God, offering their heart felt gratitude upon the mountain for His wondrous power and love.
Jesus called His disciples and said, “I have compassion on the crowd because they continue with Me for three days now and have nothing to eat. And I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way.” Jesus waited for their answer, hoping they remembered the miracle He had performed at the base of the mountain a few weeks ago. His disciples kept silent for a time, awaiting instructions. At last His disciples questioned Him, “From where should we get so many loaves in the wilderness, so as to fill so great a crowd?” This was not the response Jesus was waiting for. After a moment He asked them, “How many loaves do you have?” Not having taken anything from their provisions over the past three days they quickly answered, “Seven, and a few little fish.”
John began to see a parallel. The last time Jesus healed at the base of the mountain. Afterwards He fed Five thousand from five loaves of bread and two small fish. This time they had a little more food, and it appeared, less people. As soon as the provisions were announced the other disciples recognized what Jesus was about to do. They acted immediately when Jesus commanded the crowd to sit on the ground. Baskets were gathered while the people were seated in small groups. Once settled along the grassy glen on the side of the mountain, Jesus took the seven loaves and fish, and gave thanks, broke the bread, and gave to His disciples.
Jesus never grew tried of healing the sick. The expressions on their faces, and gratitude in their eyes was more than enough for Him. He also enjoyed the excitement seen in His disciples as they began to display their trust in Him This was part of the lesson Jesus was trying to teach. He was pleased to see not only the trust, but confidence building up in them. He could see the confidence in the way they distributed the food. The first time they displayed a sense of hesitation, rationing the food because they were unsure if the blessing would satisfy everyone. This time they displayed no doubt at all as they fed about four thousand men, plus a greater number of women and children. This time they gathered up seven full baskets of left over food. Truly God’s blessing was more than they were able to receive.
After the crowd had been sent on their way, Jesus and His disciples traveled down the gentle slope of the mountain. Arriving at the shore they inquired about a boat to sail to Magdala. As James and John cast off and prepared the sail, John looked back at the mountain, filled with fresh memories. He wondered why the sequence had been repeated at such a close interval. His mind went over the sequence of the two events, praying he could see the lessons Jesus was teaching. Why did Jesus heal on the beach the first time, and on the mountain the second time? Why did Jesus heal the second time for three full days? There must have been a reason for repeating such a miracle. There must have been many reasons.