Seven Baskets Left

In Matthew 15, Jesus feeds a large crowd of people that included 4,000 men that had been following Him for three days. These people were exhausted and starving. Jesus Himself said in verse 32 that they might collapse on the way back to their homes if they didn’t eat right then! But they weren’t the only ones who were in a weak state. In the previous chapter, His cousin, John the Baptist, had been beheaded. Jesus was starting to attract attention from people who wanted to follow Him, sure, but the religious leaders were also starting to notice Him. Verses 1-9 of chapter 15 show one attempt of many from the religious leaders to discredit Jesus. Having a group of people follow you around and try to discredit everything you’re working toward is certainly frustrating. Crowds of people from all over were following Him to be healed by Him. Simply put, Jesus had a lot going on in His life at the moment. Many people were pulling His attention in many different ways. If I were in Jesus’ position at the end of Matthew 15, I would have been close to my breaking point.

But instead of asking for a time out or sending the people away, Jesus called them to Him and fed them. We don’t know how many people total were present, only that there were 4,000 men total there. With women and children, the number could easily be close to 10,000! With this many people, you would expect a feast to be prepared. But all the apostles had on hand was seven loaves and a few small fish. Obviously with what the apostles brought to the table came up more than short.

However, verse 37 tells us that they all ate and were satisfied! To top it off, when the apostles had collected the leftover pieces, the food fragments filled up seven baskets. To us, seven baskets is a very vague term. It’s difficult to understand just how massive this quantity is simply reading the passage in English. But the Greek word for basket in this passage is the same word used in Acts 9 to describe the basket in which Paul was lowered down from the wall of Damascus. So that means the leftovers filled up seven human sized baskets! No matter how you spin it, there was far more left over than they started with.

Do you see yourself in this story? We come to Jesus tired, hungry, empty. We don’t have enough to sustain ourselves or complete the great task in front of us. But if we humbly sit before the feet of our merciful Savior, He will fill us up. He will do the impossible. He will pour into our cups. The world offers nothing for us. The world will only make us more hungry and tired and empty. But when we come before the feet of Jesus, expect to receive more than you came to Him with. You can come to Him with seven loaves and a few fish, but you just might leave with seven baskets left.

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