Matt 14:13-21 Feeding the Five Thousand CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
Feeding the five thousand is one of the most well known miracles in the Bible. As a matter of fact, it is recorded in all four gospels. There is much that we can learn about this miracle from the passage and the cross-references. But of far greater significance is that there is something prophetic in this miracle. First, we will harmonize the gospel accounts; then we will deal with the prophecy.
14:13 Jesus departed from Capernaum (Matt 13:54), He went by ship on the sea of Galilee (Jn 6:1), The deserted place was near Bethsaida (Lk 9:10), The desert was not sand (Matt 14:19), They followed him running (Mk 6:33) They followed because they saw his miracles (Jn 6:2), He went up into a mountain (Jn 6:3), He spoke to them about the kingdom of God (Lk 9:11), He did this right before the Passover (Jn 6:4).
14:14 He healed their sick (Lk 9:11), Because he was moved with compassion (14:14), They were as sheep without a shepherd (Mk 6:34).
14:15 The disciples wanted the people to buy victuals (Mk 6:36), And find places to lodge (Lk 9:12).
14:16 The Lord said the disciples could feed them (Mk 6:37), He said this to prove them (Jn 6:6), Philip asked where they could buy bread (Jn 6:5), 200 pennyworth of bread would barely feed them (Jn 6:7), (1 penny could buy enough bread to feed 25 men plus women and children).
14:17 They got the 5 loaves and 2 fishes from a lad (Jn 6:8-9).
14:18 They brought them to Jesus.
14:19 The people sat on the grass (Mk 6:39), They sat in ranks by 100’s and 50’s (Mk 6:39 ),Jesus blessed and brake the loaves (Mk 6:41), He gave to the disciples who gave to the people (Jn 6:11).
14:20 The people ate and were filled (Lk 9:17), There were 12 baskets of leftovers Mk (14:20) (12 is the number of the Jew).
14:21 There were 5000 men beside women and children.
So, by harmonizing the gospel accounts, we see that there was quite a bit more detail given in the other gospels. Though this is a great miracle, isn’t it odd that it is recorded in all the gospels when even the virgin birth is not recorded in all the gospels? The reason for this is due to the prophetic significance of this miracle.
You see, this miracle points to the miraculous feeding of the Jews in the wilderness during the tribulation. In the table above, the verses and words marked in red italics are the ones that contain elements that match the feeding of the Jews in the tribulation.
During the tribulation, the Jews will not be able to go into the cities to buy bread (Matt 14:15; Mk 6:36) because they cannot take the mark of the beast, which is required for them to be able to buy anything (Rev 13:17). Nor will they be able to lodge in the cities (Lk 9:12) because the antichrist will kill them (Rev 12:14). Therefore, they will have to remain in the wilderness (desert Matt 14:13) where the Lord will feed them (Rev 12:6).
The Lord did this miracle right before the Passover, which is the time when the Jews originally escaped from Egypt and went into the desert (Ex 19:2). When he fed them out there, he fed them with manna, which is like bread (Ex 16:15). Thus he will feed them with manna again (Is 33:16-17; Mic 7:14-15; Jer 50:19-20; Eze 20:35-36; Ps 74:13-14; Rev 2:17; Lam 5:9). And as the Jews were as sheep having no shepherd until Jesus came (Mk 6:34) thus they will be as sheep with their shepherd while they are in the wilderness (Ps 78:51-52; Ps 95:6-9).