Soul Food: Feeding the 4,000

This past weekend at Eastbrook, as we continued our preaching series, “Who Do You Say I Am?”, I walked us through the account of Jesus feeding the 4,000 in Matthew 15:29-39. This story echoes another we have already looked at in the feeding of the 5,000. While I do dig into the actual account, one of the questions I try to answer is: why are there two miraculous feeding stories in the gospels?

This message is part of the sixth part of our longer series on Matthew, which includes “Family Tree,” “Power in Preparation,” “Becoming Real,” “The Messiah’s Mission,” and “Stories of the Kingdom.”

You can find the message video and outline below. You can also view the entire series here. Join us for weekend worship in-person or remotely via Eastbrook at Home.


“Jesus called his disciples to him and said, ‘I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.’” (Matthew 15:32)

Jesus’ Amazing Healing (Matthew 15:29-31)

Great crowds with great needs

Great healings and great praise

Jesus’ Compassionate Heart (Matthew 15:32-33)

“I have compassion for these people …”

Jesus’ Abundant Feeding of a Great Crowd (Matthew 15:34-39)

Recognizing the needs of the crowd and limited provision

Jesus’ action: take – give thanks – break – give 

The miraculous provision for the crowd 

Why Are There Two Miraculous Feedings?

Reemphasizing the power and compassion of Jesus 

Emphasizing how Jesus’ ministry begins with the Jews but also reaches the Gentiles.

Seeing Jesus Again

His compassion moves Him

His miracles touch real needs: healing and feeding

His work for the Jew first, but also for the nations


Dig Deeper:

This week dig deeper in one or more of the following ways:

  • Memorize Matthew 15:36
  • Pray and reflect on Jesus’ phrase in 15:32, “I have compassion for these people.” Ask God to show you His compassion for you. Ask God to show you His compassion for others. If the Lord brings someone specifically to mind, pray for them. If the Lord brings to mind a tangible way you can minister to them, do it.
  • Journal, draw, paint, or ink this story or some aspect of it as a way of reflecting on who Jesus is and how you most need to meet with Him.
  • Consider reading Christopher J. H. Wright’s book, The Mission of God’s People: A Biblical Theology of the Church’s Mission or Henri Nouwen’s book, Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World, which depicts the spiritual life through Jesus’ fourfold action in this story (taken – blessed – broken – given).

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