Encore   Leave a comment

Matthew 15:29-39.

There are countless places we could go with a text like this.  Everybody ate and was satisfied.  What happened with the leftovers?  What are the significant points to be made of the numbers of loaves and fishes this time?  …and so on…

What jumped off the page at me while reading this today involved none of that, but rather where in Matthew’s Gospel this appears.

In many Bibles, this story appears on the opposite page of the telling of the 5,000 fed.  The construction of Matthew’s Gospel puts these stories very near one another, and today – that is the point.

Why is sometimes required that a lesson be taught twice?  As a parent, I think I know.  Sometimes lessons have been repeated over and over and over again and still have yet to sink in.  I’m sure that my Mama never said that about me because I was such a model child (insert choking sounds here).  Parents will all testify that important lessons bear repeating.

We could compare the feeding of the 5,000 and the feeding of the 4,000 as there are many similarities along with some subtle differences.  However, in today’s reading of this passage I am simply confronted with the same lesson as before – doubts vs. faith.

Sometimes, God has to teach us spiritual lessons repeatedly in order for us to fully understand.  Our capacity to comprehend the breadth of meaning falls short.  We could point out here that the first feeding resulted in 12 baskets of leftovers (one per disciple) or that there were seven baskets (symbolic of perfection) with this feeding.  The result is the same; a need arose and Christ responded – His closest followers were given an encore.

What does Jesus need to teach you again?  Will you be frustrated for the repeated lesson or will you pay special attention to what you missed the first time?

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