I’m a little surprised Matthew includes this story. He just wrote about Jesus feeding 5,000 with five loaves and two fishes.
Matthew certainly can’t include everything Jesus said or did. He has to pick and choose. So why repeat a similar story so close to the first?
I’m guessing Matthew isn’t trying to overwhelm us. Rack up the numbers – 5,000 to 9,000! I suspect he understood most people would be convinced of Jesus’ power over the elements after the 5,000 miracle.
Look closer. Maybe the story isn’t about the miracle so much as the disciples’ reaction. Did you notice their question – Where could we get enough bread in this remote place to feed such a crowd?
Did we hear them right? Did they really ask - Where?
Hmmm… on second thought, maybe we do need another miracle dinner to remind us Jesus can take care of anything. The disciples seem to have temporarily forgotten. Or did they?
Let’s be fair to them. Jesus’ first option for dinner every night wasn’t to call in a miracle. By definition, a miracle is not something that happens all the time. It’s unusual!
So perhaps it’s understandable for Jesus’ students to think as they usually did - Where could we get enough bread to feed such a crowd?
But this is an unusual circumstance. The people hadn’t eaten in three days and Jesus is worried they will faint from hunger on the way home. This calls for another life-saver!
What’s your best guess why Matthew included these two similar stories so close together?