Disciples Feed Crowds of Thousands:
A Christ Teaching on Compassion
Jesus used two occasions of feeding a large crowd in a remote place to illustrate the responsibilities and expectations of a person called to provide goods or services to others as God’s provider assistant. God creates every person to be a potential provider (i.e., channel for his compassion) to others. He is the ultimate provider but often channels his providing through people by placing one or more persons in position to perform the needed service as his provider assistant. The chosen person is expected to recognize the need, assess how they could help, seek God’s direction, and proceed with providing for the need as they can.
PROVIDER ASSISTANT RESPONSIBILITIES Jesus used two occasions of feeding a large crowd as practical illustrations of what is expected of a person placed in position to provide for other people. In both cases, he was ministering to a crowd of several thousand that needed to be fed. His disciples took on the responsibility, realized feeding the crowd was beyond their means, sought direction from God (this time with them in person as Jesus), and he provided food for the crowd through his disciples. The disciples were the provider assistant and the people were the recipient. We examine interactions between Jesus and his disciples, him and the crowd, and the disciples and the crowd: to understand God’s expectations of a person that he calls to provide a service for other persons.