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Jesus Feeds 5,000: Bringing Life To Desolate Places

– by Stephen Altogge

I recently read the story where Jesus feeds 5,000 and it freshly blew me away.

Honestly, I’ve heard and read that particular story 100 times. I’ve known it since I was a child.

But as I freshly read about Jesus feeding the 5,000, I was given new eyes to see things I don’t think I had ever seen before.

Here’s what jumped out at me.

Jesus Feeds 5,000 In The Most Desolate Of Places

The passage starts by saying, “Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a desolate place by himself” (Matthew 14:13).

Jesus wasn’t hanging out in a food court when he fed the massive crowd of people. He was in a lonely, desolate, deserted place. It was the opposite of abundant. It was sparse, thin, hardscrabble. Not a place where life flourished.

And yet it was in the desolate place that Jesus fed the great crowd (note: he actually fed more like 15,000 – 20,000; 5,000 was just the number of men). Jesus caused life and abundance and provision to bloom in the most desolate of places.

This greatly encourages me. Jesus can cause life to bloom in even the darkest, most desolate circumstances. He truly can make dead, dry, brittle bones pulse with life.

As it says in Isaiah 61:3:

…to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified.

Jesus can turn desolation into life, ashes into beauty, mourning into gladness, and brokenheartedness into healing.

Do you find yourself in the midst of brokenness? Are you walking through dark times? Do you feel like you’re wandering through a desolate desert?

Run again to Jesus. Jesus feeds 5,000 in the wilderness. Jesus can feed, sustain, heal, uplift, and strengthen you. Find your strength in him. Find your life in him.

Jesus Isn’t Limited By Circumstances

The circumstances in which Jesus feeds 5,000 are, to put it mildly, utterly ridiculous.

He is surrounded by a massive throng of 5,000 men, plus an additional 10,000-15,000 women and children. It’s an overwhelming, overflowing, ravenously hungry crowd.

Additionally, the only food the disciples could scrounge up was a few loaves and a couple measly fish. Barely enough to feed a single person, let alone feed a crowd.


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Jesus Feeds 5,000: Bringing Life to Desolate Places

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