Day 4

Miracles of Food and Drink

from the The Miracles of Jesus reading plan


Matthew 14:14-21, Luke 5:4-11, John 21:1-11, John 2:1-11

BY Guest Writer

Scripture Reading: Matthew 14:14-21, Luke 5:4-11, John 21:1-11, John 2:1-11

Food is an unmistakable theme in the miracles of Jesus. There is no aspect of humanity that Jesus ignored, including our need for food.

Jesus ate. He drank. He attended dinner parties—lots of them. The beginning of His earthly ministry included the miracle of turning water into wine at a wedding reception (John 2:1-11). And before He ascended back into heaven, He cooked His disciples breakfast with fish He’d miraculously jammed into their nets (John 21:1-14). In today’s reading, we see that He also supernaturally fed tens of thousands of followers.

This helps me to see the practical side of Jesus more clearly. Sure, His supernatural nature is awesome, and we’re keenly aware of our need to see His hand in the “big stuff.” But we tend to whizz right past the fact that He sees and responds to both our extraordinary and our ordinary needs.

In Matthew 14, we find one of Christ’s most famous miracles, what’s known as the “Feeding of the Five Thousand.” But this was actually a miracle on a much grander scale. Scripture says five thousand men were present “besides women and children” (v.21), meaning there were likely closer to 15,000 people gathered around Jesus—and He fed every single one of them until they were full (v.20).

These were people shot through with grief and sorrow. John the Baptist, one of their spiritual heroes, had just been brutally beheaded (Matthew 14:1-12). At the news of His dear cousin’s murder, Jesus retreated to a desolate place to mourn, but the grieving crowds followed Him, desperate for hope in the midst of hurt, for light in the darkness.

As their Maker, Jesus knew the crowd’s deepest needs were spiritual, yet He did not race past their immediate physical needs. In verse 14 we catch a glimpse of a thread that weaves throughout the miracles of Jesus: “When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them.”

Compassion motivated Jesus to feed the crowds. He satisfied their physical hunger so they could see that He alone is capable of satisfying their spiritual hunger.

In Mark 8:1-10 we see that another crowd tracked Jesus down and remained with Him to hear Him teach for three days—without food. If He sent them home, some would faint on the way (v.3). Again, He responded with compassion, meeting their physical needs so they could digest the spiritual truths He desired to teach them. He gave them bread and fish so that they could “taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8).

Perhaps food is just a tether keeping us close to the truth that we are not our own sustainers. Is it possible that God hard-wired our physical needs into our DNA to teach us of our bigger, constant need for Him? What if every meal were a parable teaching us that Jesus is the Bread of Life (John 6:35), the True Bread from Heaven (John 6:32), the Grain of Wheat (John 12:24), and the Living Water (John 4:10-11).

Jesus’ miracles are never about the miracle itself. They’re about Jesus. He doesn’t intervene in our lives primarily for our comfort, but for His glory, that we would turn to Him. Every last one of our needs points to and is met in Him.

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Erin Davis is an author, blogger, and speaker who loves to see women of all ages run to the deep well of God’s Word. When she’s not writing, you can find Erin chasing chickens and children on her small farm in the Midwest.

Post Comments (83)

83 thoughts on "Miracles of Food and Drink"

  1. Elsa says:

    We are farmers and every seeding and harvest I make my husband’s lunches. I HATE making lunches, but I always do it knowing that it makes him feel loved to be cared for in that way. I loved the references in the study today to preparing food as a way of ministering to others. I agree that it is a very cultural thing, and I love the perspective that it’s not just a thing we do because we don’t know what else to do, but that it can be a conscious way to minister. And I will be looking at my hubby’s lunches with a different perspective as well!

  2. Lindsey says:

    There are times throughout my day that I will turn to food for comfort or as a stress reliever. I was reminded of the verse, ‘Man does not live on bread alone’ several weeks ago. When I felt the urge to relieve stress with food, I read God’s word. It is the true comforter and satisfies my soul in a much greater way than food can. ‘Jesus is the bread of life’. Our physical body’s need for food is a reflection of hearts’ need for Jesus. Not just one meal a day, but throughout the day, we need his bread to renew our strength. Lord, help me to run to you for comforter and relief instead of food or other things. You sustain me.

    1. Jamie says:

      I just wanted to let you know that this is the 2nd or 3rd comment I’ve seen from you in this set of devotion. I’m new at all of this and reading your comments sometimes makes me think in a deeper way and really speaks to me. Thank you for using your thoughts and life experiences as a helping hand for some of us others. God bless!

    2. Tricia Bertrand says:

      Love this idea!

  3. Terri says:

    The third question in today’s lesson, Why did Jesus turn water into wine? Why was He reluctant to perform this miracle? I’m having a hard time answering this and would appreciate some help with it. I grew up with an alcoholic step-father and I’m sure this influences my muddled answer.

    1. Efe says:

      Hi Erin
      I’m hoping I can add a comment about the first question- Why did Jesus turn water into wine?
      From a practical point, wedding ceremonies (ceremonies in general) in the ancient world were marked by feasts that included wine. Even the Passover meal was marked with wine, which for us the church is now our holy communion observance.
      Mary knew that the feast would come to an abrupt end if the wine ran out so in her mom voice, she tells Jesus: “Son the wine is out”.
      Jesus in his mercy meets the need of the hosts to have enough wine for the guests present.

      1. Efe says:

        Sorry Terry, I typed the wrong name.

    2. Beth L says:

      In the Bible wine is a generic word for both wine and grape juice before it is fermented. Grape juice was a common drink then, fresh or fermented. Many people say Christ used wine in the last supper, but every time drink is mentioned in the last supper it is always called fruit of the vine or the cup (Mat. 26:27, 29; Mark 14:23, 25; Luke 22:17, 18, 20; 1 Corinthians 11:25-28). Sometimes it becomes more specific in the Bible when it calls wine, strong drink. It is condemned in several pasages (Prov. 31:4-5; Judges 13:4; Prov. 23:29-35) Hope this helps you a little. Knowing background, customs and such of Bible times can make things much clearer.

    3. Monica says:

      Terri,

      This miracle also shows Christ’s power as Creator. Consider what all is involved in making good wine: temperature, climate, care, and time.

    4. Terri says:

      Thank you all so much for your replies.

    5. lisa says:

      our pastor taught on this recently and said that jesus had a specific timeline in mind as to when to ” go public” with his miracles which would point him out as the messiah. This was earlier than the original date, he says to her “why do you involve me? It is not yet my time” but again, out of compassion he steps in and performs the miracle. but he does so subtly through other people pouring the wine from the jug so that he could stay under the radar. hope that helps!

  4. Micah lee says:

    Reading this tonight a small part of the wedding miracle struck me. In the passage, the master of the house and the newlyweds do not know of the miracle. Instead, who are the front line witnesses? Oh yeah. The servants. They’re the ones who know that that was previously water in those jars. They’re the ones who got to participate in Jesus’s first miracle. Wow. What a way to kick off a ministry that would later included teachings about how the poor would be the ones to inherit the kingdom.

    1. Päivi says:

      Yes, wow!❤

  5. SGW says:

    I often joke that food is my love language. After reading this I feel as if it really is a way of love. We take the time to plan, prepare, and cook meals, sometimes for ourselves, our families, our loved ones, and our pets. This gives them a feeling and a connection to the effort you put into the realationship you have with them.

    (Sorry! I feel as if I am rambaling….) Anyways. This is a miracle that is so easily taken for granted by so many in this day in age. It is a simple task to go to the grocery store and get or replenish the foods you “need”. So many people do not have this luxury and recognize this miracle daily. It’s definitly something to remember and recognize when grocery shopping…

    1. Päivi says:

      Oh you’re not alone – food is TOTALLY a love language!❤

    2. She Reads Truth says:

      Love this! What a great view: “After reading this I feel as if it really is a way of love. We take the time to plan, prepare, and cook meals, sometimes for ourselves, our families, our loved ones, and our pets.” Thank you for sharing!

      – Stormye

  6. Paige Mills says:

    Love today’s readings and connections! Something so simple, food, used to teach and show us how much God cares for us and wants us satisfied in him. I thought of it as such…you feed a child, pet, friend, etc. and they are so thankful, grateful, and satisfied. It is something they always remember and take as such a nice gesture. We are HIS children and in turn God is feeding us, physically and spiritually, to ensure that we are satisfied; just as our children, pets, friends, etc. I must trust, surrender to, thank, and praise God in return for his wonderful gesture; just as our children, pets, friends, etc. would do when we fed them.

    Second thing that this study connects to, for me, is Matthew 25:35 and 40. “When I was hungry, you gave me food; thirsty, you gave me drink…whatever you do for the least of my brothers, you do unto Me.” Even food and drink is mentioned when our judgement day comes. Again, such a simple gesture of feeding someone, portraying such an important message.

    “Food is just a tether..teaching us of our bigger, constant need for Him.”

    1. Christine Marie says:

      Great Paige! Also you don’t happen to live in Michigan do you?

  7. Kristi says:

    I am always awestruck and humbled whenever I think about the compassion of our God. Today as I was reflecting on these passages, I remembered two verses from the Isaiah study that I really loved:

    “‘Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,’ says the LORD, who has compassion on you.”
    – Isaiah 54:10

    “Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!”
    – Isaiah 30:18

    So thankful for His compassion. Praying that I would be able to show that same compassion towards others by focusing on meeting their needs instead of my own.

  8. churchmouse says:

    “We are not our own sustainers.” This can be hard to remember when I live in a first world country. The grocery shelves are always full. I can so easily take for granted what is so readily available. Shame on me! Forgive me, Lord.

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