Image source: NorthCrossChurch
The first time we read the acts of Jesus in the Bible, we may be tempted to think that Jesus just went around doing things randomly, without a plan. However, as we study more and get to know the books of the gospel better, we see the plan and purposes behind the acts of Jesus more clearly. Take the gospel accounts of the feeding of the 5000 jews and the feeding of the 4000 gentiles.
Both events are shared in the gospel of Matthew and of Mark. In Mark Chapter 6, Jesus preached late into the evening around the jewish district of Bethsaida, on the western side of the sea of Galilee, and ended feeding a jewish crowd with 5000 men. Jesus fed them all with just 5 loaves and two fish; and after they had eaten, there was 12 baskets of left over bread (Mark 6:30-44).
In Mark Chapter 8, Jesus and the disciples had crossed the sea of Galilee, to the eastern side gentile district of the Decapolis (see Mark 7:31-37). Jesus preached for three days, and observed that the people were hungry. The disciples had just 7 loaves of bread; Jesus fed a gentile crowd that included 4000 men with this; after they had eaten, there was 7 sacks of left over bread (Mark 8: 1-10).
While the jews avoided non-jews like the people in the Decapolis, Jesus engaged with them, healed them, and miraculously fed a gentile crowd like he did for the jewish crowd. Jesus was making it clear that he had come to serve both jews and gentiles; he is messiah to all, not just the jews. Jesus publicly and purposefully fed both jews and gentiles to show he cares for us all.
Jesus announced this boldly to the jews in John 10:16 (New Living Translation): “I have other sheep, too, that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them also. They will listen to my voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd.”
Dear God, thank you for redeeming us all from every nation, Amen!