Matthew 14:19-24

Mat 14:19 (KJB)
And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.

Jesus then commanded the people to sit on the grass. There was much order in the way that Jesus had them sit. (Mark 6:40 KJV) And they sat down in ranks, by hundreds, and by fifties. They didn’t just sit anywhere or any way they wanted to, instead there was order in this miracle. This is important to keep in mind because ministry done with order will be ministry accomplished. The custom was for the people to lie on their left side and to lean on their left elbow. It must have been some scene when you looked out and saw the people sitting in ranks of fifty and hundred. It probably looked like a flower bed with all the colors of the different robes which were worn. As long as there was order, it was easier for the disciples to distribute the food. Once the people were seated, then Jesus took the loaves and the fishes and looked to Heaven and asked for the Father’s blessing while giving Him thanks for the food. After He blessed the food, He then brake the bread and gave it to His disciples. What we have here is a picture of the Lord’s Supper. (1 Cor 11:24 KJV) And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. Just as the bread was broken and given to the people, the body of Jesus was also broken at Calvary for those He came to save. (John 6:48 KJV) I am that bread of life. Jesus being the bread of eternal life. After Jesus blessed the bread, and broke it, He then gave of the loaves to the disciples and they in turn gave it to the multitude on the grass.

Mat 14:20 (KJB)
And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full.

Every person who was there ate until they were full, and none suffered from hunger. Right after everyone ate, they then picked up the leftovers. Gathering leftovers at a Jewish meal was mandatory and they used strict guidelines in doing this. If you notice that Jesus did not only concern himself with the need at hand but there was concern for the future also. What started out as one basket now grew into twelve baskets, one for each of the disciples who worried at the beginning that they were short of food. I have a question which I cannot answer. Since the crowd had assembled in a hurry and stayed with Jesus on the hillside all day, the basket that the initial lunch was in, was the basket also multiplied into many baskets or did the people bring baskets with them as one prepares to stay away all day? I don’t know the answer to that one but whatever the answer, they ended up with twelve times more than they started and yet we still worry.

Mat 14:21 (KJB)
And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children.

There could have been as much as 15,000 who ate at this hillside. The five thousand only included the males and if they brought their wives and children, then that number is huge. This makes the miracle greater than initially thought. There is nothing recorded as to the reaction of the crowd in being fed. The crowd was so huge that probably some way back on the hillside thought that somebody may have been supplying the food like a caterer. This miracle was not done only for the people but it was primarily done for the teaching of the disciples. The disciples now know that through the Lord Jesus Christ, they could feed the poor and the bigger lesson, they can spiritually feed the Gospel to billions and they would wind up stronger because of all the Gospel they gave away. We remain faithful and God will supply the tools that we need for ministry.

Mat 14:22 (KJB)
And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away.

It was a long day for the disciples because this miracle had begun about evening time and went way into the night. It would have taken the disciples quite a long time to feed 15,000 in companies of 50 and 100. Now Jesus dispatches the disciples to go into a ship and go before Him to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. They were now heading to the western side of the sea. (Mark 6:45 KJV) And straightway he constrained his disciples to get into the ship, and to go to the other side before unto Bethsaida, while he sent away the people. They were to go to Bethsaida. The north end of the sea would yield them a trip of about four miles on the sea. Jesus then sent the crowds home and was about to rejoin His disciples. His intention was to spend the day with them but once everyone knew that Jesus was back in the area, there was no peace and quiet that day and He could spend very little time with His disciples.

Mat 14:23 (KJB)
And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.

Now Jesus had sent the multitudes away and then went up into the mountain to pray. It is not known why He prayed at this time. It may have been for the crowds or for the upcoming lesson the disciples were going to learn on the Sea of Galilee. He finally had some alone time with His heavenly Father. When it speaks about the evening coming, this is not the next day but the second part of the evening which was total darkness.

Mat 14:24 (KJB)
But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary.

The ship must have been about two miles out in the midst of the sea and they have now encountered one of those famous storms which crop up on the Sea of Galilee without warning. Jesus did not come to the disciples immediately but may have waited to teach them a lesson in faith. Just as Jesus did not come immediately when He found out that Lazarus was sick. Jesus’ timing was always absolutely perfect and He conveyed whatever lesson needed to be taught perfectly, just as He is about to do. The word “tossed” in the Greek carries with it the meaning of test but to arrive at the results of the test, torture is used. An interesting word also showing us how severe this storm was, equivalent to being tortured. The word “contrary” in the Greek carries with it the idea of “hostile,” so this was not just a thunderstorm but a wicked storm.