The 4000 And The 5000

Photo by Kate Remmer on Unsplash

This Is Not A Re-Run
This Is The Love Of God For All

Please turn with me in your Bibles to …

Matthew 15:30-32 And great multitudes came unto {Jesus}, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus’ feet; and he healed them: 31 insomuch that the multitude wondered, when they saw the dumb to speak, the maimed to be whole, the lame to walk, and the blind to see: and they glorified the God of Israel. 32 Then Jesus called his disciples unto him, and said, I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way.

If you were with me last Wednesday night on Facebook Live, we talked about the Gentile woman (a Canaanite) who came to Jesus, asking that her daughter be healed. I don’t have time to re-preach this text, but I want to re-emphasize something I said during that sermon.

Up to this encounter with the Canaanite woman, Jesus has been concentrating on reaching out to the Jews.

The reason Jesus is doing this is because He is fulfilling the Word of God. God promised Abraham …

Genesis 12:2 ….. I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:..

…. that He would bless His children, and bring a great nation (Israel) out of that old Saint. God also promised King David …

2 Samuel 7:12-14 … I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build an house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom for ever. 14 I will be his Father, and he shall be my Son.

The Son of God, the Messiah, would come from King David’s lineage. This King of Kings, our Lord Jesus Christ, will sit on the Throne of Israel forever.

Our God always keeps His promises. Always!

Not one of the promises the Lord made to the House of Israel failed; all came to pass” (Joshua 21:45). “Blessed be the LORD, Who has given rest to His people Israel, according to all that He promised; not one word has failed of all His good promise..” (1 Kings 8:56). “For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are YES ..” (2 Corinthians 1:20). “Let us hold FAST the confession of our hope without wavering, for HE Who promised, He is FAITHFUL!” (Hebrews 10:23).

God made precious promises in Abraham, and David, and throughout the Prophets of the Old Testament that the Messiah would come to Israel. When Christ came, He came to Israel FIRST. As the Apostle said:

Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first

But the Scripture does not say “to the Jew ONLY”, but, praise God, “to the Jew FIRST”. God promised to save Israel. But God also promised something else. We read the rest of the promise God made in Abraham:

Genesis 12:3 ….. and in thee {Abraham} shall ALL families of the earth be blessed.

The Messiah would come to the Jew FIRST, but He came to the world ALSO: “ALL the families of the earth”. When God foretold of Jesus the Messiah coming He said:

Isaiah 42:6-7 I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.

Jesus Christ did not only come for “the People”, a reference to Israel, but also “for a light of the Gentiles”. God said of His Son Jesus:

Isaiah 49:6 … I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.

And God told Israel when He spoke of Messiah coming from her:

Isaiah 60:1-3 Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.

Jesus Christ came to the Jews first – but ALSO to the Gentiles (Romans 1:16). Our God is a God of order and truth. Our God is NOT the AUTHOR OF CONFUSION (1 Corinthians 14:33). So when Jesus came, the first half of His ministry was focused on Israel. He told His disciples …

Matthew 10:5 … Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not …

He went to the Jews FIRST. But as the Pharisees and Scribes continued to hinder and attack His ministry, in Matthew chapter 15 Jesus begins to turn toward the Gentiles. A few Gentiles had approached Jesus for healing before this, but they had to seek out Jesus, for He was ministering in Jewish territory. The turning point of Jesus’ ministry is flagged in:

Matthew 15:21 Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon.

The “thence” is an area called Gennesaret, a region southwest of Capernaum. These are decidedly Jewish areas. Jesus intentionally goes toward Tyre and Sidon, Phonetician or Gentile cities. It is here that Jesus encounters the Canaanite (Gentile) woman, which brings a “the Great Light of God, Jesus Christ, to the Gentiles”. What does this teach us?

Jesus Loves Every Color Of Person Equally

With the Canaanite woman Jesus begins to turn His ministry from a focus on Israel, to a focus on the Gentiles. After Jesus heals this Canaanite woman’s daughter (you can find the sermon I preached on this on my blog, entitled “The Prayer God Answers” {}) we read:

Matthew 15:30-31 And GREAT MULTITUDES came unto him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus’ feet; and he healed them: 31 insomuch that the multitude wondered, when they saw the dumb to speak, the maimed to be whole, the lame to walk, and the blind to see: and THEY GLORIFIED THE GOD OF ISRAEL.

These are GENTILES that are coming to Jesus. These GENTILES are bringing in lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus’ feet.

These GENTILES of the Roman Empire, these GENTILES who have captured Israel, these GENTILES who helped place an Idumean named Herod on a Jewish throne, these GENTILES are seeing the Messiah that the Scribes and Pharisees rejected.

  • A couple of weeks ago we studied the feeding of the 5000 in Matthew 14:14-21. This was a GREAT MULTITUDE of JEWS that Jesus fed in a desert place belonging to the city called BETHSAIDA (Luke 9:10).
  • Tonight we’re going to see Jesus feed different type of multitude. This is a GREAT MULTITUDE of 4000 GENTILES that Jesus fed in the midst of the coasts of Decapolis (Mark 7:31).
  • One commentary I read noted that Jesus fed the 5000 Jews in the spring, and fed the 4000 Gentiles in the summer. Though I cannot say for certain, I can say that Jesus fed Israel FIRST, then the Gentiles LAST. Jesus turned to the Gentiles because the majority of the Jewish Church leaders; the Scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees, and Priests; rejected Him as Messiah. Jesus told His disciples just before He went to Calvary:

Matthew 19:30 … many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.

Many of the Jews, to whom God sent Jesus first, received Christ as Lord and Savior. Yet the nation itself because of poor and belligerent leaders, would not come to Jesus. The heart of the people was waxed gross, and their ears dull of hearing, and their eyes they had closed, lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. Because of this the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it (Acts 28:27-28).

So many people lose blessing from God, but it is not God’s fault. If you are not blessed it is not because God did not reach out to you. If you are lost, damned for all eternity, it is not because Christ did not try. It is because you hardened your heart to Him Who loves you, and gave His life for you.

Matthew 15:32 Then Jesus called his disciples unto him, and said, I have COMPASSION on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way.

I want to note a difference between the LAST and the FIRST. When Jesus fed the Jews, they had been listening to Him teach for ONE DAY. But the Gentiles, Jesus said, they continue with me now three days. The Gentiles were hungry for God. The Apostle Paul spoke of …

Romans 2:14-15 … the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: 15 which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)

God has given each and every person a conscience, an innate ability to understand what is right and what is wrong. The conscience or the heart can be HARDENED. We live in a day where people harden their hearts. Extreme liberalism and “Progressivism” is a hardening of the heart. The television, the news, the internet, the media all around us, bombarding us, contribute to the hardening of the heart and the dulling of the conscience.

Illustrate Case in point: Years ago when I watched shows like Gunsmoke and someone got shot, they went down – but you NEVER saw any blood. Now we see shows like CSI where bodies are dissected. Or movies like Texas Chainsaw Massacre where people are horrendously cut up. Blood is spraying, and bodies profaned. We have seen so much gore and sex on television that we rarely flinch anymore. This is the hardening of the conscience. When children play vivid video games like Grand Theft Auto, or games where as players they gruesomely blow body parts off of people or Zombies, the heart hardens. Consider your heart to be a container. What you put in it matters. A Catholic Priest named Dwight Longenecker said (and I love this, for it is true):

First we overlook evil, then we permit evil, then we legalize evil,
then we promote evil, then we celebrate evil,
then we persecute those who still call it evil.”

It is not God’s fault when we harden our hearts. It is our fault. The Bible says:

Matthew 15:32 I have compassion on the multitude…

Word Study Jesus had COMPASSION on the Jewish multitude (Matthew 14:14). He healed them. He blessed them. He taught them, and fed them after only one day. But Jesus has COMPASSION on the Gentile multitude. That word “COMPASSION” is the Greek σπλαγχνίζομαι splanchnízomai, {pronounced splangkh-nid’-zom-ahee} which means “to be inwardly and profoundly moved”. Author James R. Edwards writes in his book The Gospel According to Mark:

The Greek word for ‘compassion’, splanchnízomai, comes from splangnon, meaning … vital organs. … splanchnízomai takes on a metaphorical meaning of being moved deeply within… ‘I have compassion for these people’ expresses Jesus’ gut-wrenching emotion on behalf of the crowd …”

Our God desperately loves each and every one of us.

When Jesus fed the Jews “He was moved with compassion (splanchnízomai)” {see Matthew 14:14}. Jesus was as deeply moved with love and care for the Jews, just as He was for the Gentiles.

In the midst of the horrid race wars that seem to be going on in our country today, we need to turn to Jesus, and see how He loved. Though Jesus’ Apostles are all Jews He showed those He groomed for leadership that every life matters, and every person is created in God’s Image and Likeness (Genesis 1:27). The color of our natural skin, eyes, and hair is determined by Melanin. The importance of this color is assigned by sinful prejudice, not by God. God loved both Jews and Gentiles equally. God loves each and every person with a profound, gut wrenching love!

Jesus had compassion for the Jews and the Gentiles, and wants His Apostles and His Disciples to have that same compassion. When Jesus wanted to feed the Jews who had come to Him, His disciples said of the 5000:

Matthew 14:15 … This is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals.

Jesus wants His people to understand that our power is weak, but God’s power is infinite. There is nothing our Jesus cannot do, if we would but ask Him. Yet often we fail to ask Him. We think, “What can I do? How can I solve this problem?” We view the problem with our eyes focused on ourselves, not on God our Savior. The God Who saved us, the God Who taught us, is the God Who will provide for us. Jesus told His disciples when He fed the 5000 Jews:

Matthew 14:16 … They need not depart; give ye them to eat.

Jesus told them, “These Jews do not need to leave. YOU give them something to eat!” (see also Mark 6:37; Luke 9:13). What did they have to give these Jews? Jesus. Jesus is what we give. We point them to Jesus. We take what God has given us, and give it to Jesus.

Oh, how gracious our God is! We are all so hard headed and hard hearted! Now, just a short time after Jesus fed 5000 (which is more than 4000), Jesus tells His Disciples as 4000 Gentiles need to be fed:

Matthew 15:32 … I will not send them {these Gentiles} away fasting, lest they faint in the way.

How should the Disciples respond? They should remember the 5000. They should look to Jesus. They should take whatever they have, put it in Jesus’ hands, then serve what Jesus gives them. Beloved, this is the Christian way of life. The reason we are not reaching the world, Church, is because we are relying on our strength.

We must rely on Jesus. We must commit the little He has given to us back to Him, and then let Him work. We must serve the Lord! But did they? Did the first Disciples? No.

Matthew 15:33 … His disciples say unto Him, Whence should we have so much bread in the wilderness, as to fill so great a multitude?

Well guys, you fed 5000 with five little barley loaves and two fish. This is just 4000. How did you feed the 5000? Mark records the Disciples saying of the 4000:

Mark 8:4 … From WHENCE can a man satisfy these men with bread here in the wilderness?

From WHENCE?” How about JESUS? If Jesus fed 5000, Jesus can feed 4000. 5000 is more than 4000.

Matthew 15:34 .. Jesus saith unto them, How many LOAVES have ye? And they said, Seven, and a few little fishes.

I want you to notice our text very carefully. What is the question Jesus asks? How many loaves have ye? Jesus DOESN’T ask about the fish. You remember, when Jesus fed the 5000, He asked the same question. Look it up.

Mark 6:38 {Jesus} saith unto them, How many LOAVES have ye? go and see. And when they knew, they say, Five, AND TWO FISHES.

Jesus never asked about the fish. He asked about the LOAVES of bread. What is the significance of this? Jesus is not a Fish – He is BREAD. Jesus is the Bread of Life.

John 6:47-51 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. 48 I am that bread of life. 49 Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. 50 This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

Jesus is the Living Bread of God, the Giver of Life.

Matthew 15:34 How many LOAVES have ye?
And they said, SEVEN…

I do not believe in coincidence. I believe they had SEVEN loaves of bread because SEVEN is the Biblical number of completeness and perfection. When God created the world and all that is in it, He rested on the seventh day, because creation was perfect or “very good” (Genesis 1:31; 2:2-3). There was nothing more to do, so God rested.

When Jesus fed the 5000, He had 5 Loaves. 5 is the number of GRACE. Now Jesus has 7 Loaves – the PERFECT and COMPLETE amount of bread to feed 4000 people – that is, if they give it to Jesus!

Matthew 15:35 And {Jesus} commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground.

Just as Jesus had the 5000 Jews sit down (see Matthew 14:19; Mark 6:39; Luke 9:14; John 6:10), He now has the 4000 Gentiles sit down (see Mark 8:6).

Matthew 15:36 And {Jesus} took the seven loaves and the fishes, and gave thanks, and brake them, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.

The Disciples gave Jesus the little they had. This mirrors what happens when Jesus fed to 5000. Our Lord gave thanks. Jesus thanked the Father for providing the seven loaves, just as He thanked God for providing the five loaves for the 5000. Jesus “looked up to Heaven” (Matthew 14:19; Mark 6:41; Luke 9:16). As Son of God He represented the Heavenly Father. Jesus looked up to Heaven. He thanked the Father. He broke the bread, then gave it back to His Disciples, who in turn distributed it to the masses.

Matthew 15:37-38 And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken MEAT that was left seven baskets full. 38 And they that did eat were four thousand men, beside women and children.

Everyone had plenty to eat. Beloved, I love the King James text, but sometimes the translators of that wonderful text add things that are not exactly right. If you look in your King James text, you will see the word meat is italicized. This is because the translator added the word because he thought it would improve the flow of the text. But in this case the word is not right, nor is it needed. In fact, though I do not doubt the sincerity of the translator, it misleads a little.

When Jesus Fed 5000 Jews, There Were 12 Baskets Of Bread Left Over.
Jesus Is All That The Twelve Tribes Of Israel Need.
When Jesus Fed 4000 Gentiles, There Were 7 Baskets Of Bread Left Over.
Jesus Is All That The Gentiles Need.

Church, dear Church, let us give what He has given us back to Him. Let us entrust the little we have to the Master. He will look up to Heaven, bless it, then give it back to us to give to this terrible sad and empty world. Do not delay. Give it all to Jesus. A singer I have not heard in years, Evie (Evelyn Tornquist Karlsson), sang:

Are you tried of chasing pretty rainbows?
Are you tired of spinning round and round?
Wrap up all the shattered dreams of your life,
And at the feet of Jesus lay them down.
Give them all, give them all,
give them all to Jesus;
Shattered dreams, wounded hearts, broken toys.
Give them all, give them all,
give them all to Jesus;
He will turn your sorrow into joy …

If you do not have Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, your life will never be complete. Jesus Christ came to give life, everlasting and wonderful life, to all who believe on Him. Jew or Gentile, bond or free, male or female, red, yellow, black, or white, if you do not know Him, I pray that you will call upon Him today. He is able! He is able! He can take your broken life, and give you abundant life. He can feed your soul. Like a Shepherd, a Good Shepherd, He will never leave you. May Christ take this Word and bring all who read it to a saving knowledge of Him. Amen and Amen.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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