It is not often thought of or mentioned, but Jesus did minister to Gentiles while He was living on earth, and ministering to His people. After His leaving the area of Galilee He went into the area of Tyre and Sidon (Matthew 15:21). This is where He met the Canaanite woman, healed her daughter, and healed many of their sick (15:21-31).
Jesus has said, “I have come to seek and to save that which is lost”; and that means not only those of Israel, but of the Gentiles as well. We come now to that part of Matthew 15 where Jesus feeds a multitude of Gentiles.
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. And his disciples say unto him, Whence should we have so much bread in the wilderness, as to fill so great a multitude? And Jesus saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven, and a few little fishes. And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground. And he took the seven loaves and the fishes, and gave thanks, and brake them, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets full. And they that did eat were four thousand men, beside women and children. And he sent away the multitude, and took ship, and came into the coasts of Magdala.” Matthew 15:32-39 (KJV)
Jesus it seems is still in the Gentile area of Tyre and Sidon. The reason I mention this is that there are many who would discredit this event entirely, because just a short time ago, (chapter 14) Jesus fed a multitude of 5,000; not counting women and children; and there were twelve baskets full left over. This is in a different location, a different multitude, and with a different purpose other than seeing to their need.
The feeding of the 5,000 seems to have ended His Galillean ministry. With that feeding it would not seem any reach of the imagination to say that there would have been a minimum of 15,000 people fed with 5 loaves of bread and two small fish.
In the case of the 4,000 there were seven loaves of bread and a “few fishes”. This feeding seems to also end His ministry to the Gentiles, at this time. It might also be noted that Matthew and Mark are the only two of the gospel writers who tell of this feeding. All the Evangelist tell of the feeding of the 5,000. Matthew may tell of it because He will be the King of kings, sovereign ruler of all nations, when He comes again. Mark may mention the Gentile feeding because He is a servant to all people.
The faith of the disciples seems to be very weak. They had witnessed the feeding of the 5,000, and yet wonder how Jesus will feed so many. Is it any wonder that Jesus charged them so many times, “O ye of little faith”.
In a time of struggling individuals and families in the USA, and around the world; with people losing their homes, and many losing their life savings; know this that Jesus can meet your needs. He is not a god in a box that will give you every whim and desire, but He will be with you through every trial and trouble. He will give you courage and strength and you will glorify His name. David, the Psalmist wrote, “I have never seen the righteous forsaken, nor His seed begging for bread” (Psalm 37:25). Jesus, God of creation can and will meet your needs, not wants, but needs. He desires that you trust Him, rely on Him and nothing or no one else.
“Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4). It is God’s desires the Psalmist is talking about, not our selfish desires. The things that God desires will become your desires when you delight yourself in the Lord. Jesus is the Good Shepherd of all who come to Him.
-Tim A. Blankenship