Matthew 14:13-21 From Solitude To Greater Than Five Thousand.
Upon hearing of John’s death Jesus “departed from there by boat to a deserted place by Himself” (v. 13a). Jesus wanted some time to be alone, as would anyone upon hearing the news about his friend John, but it didn’t last long. The people were desperate for help, so even though Jesus had departed from there by boat, “they followed Him on foot from the cities. And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick” (vv. 13b-14). Jesus could be ‘moved’ as anyone can be moved, whether by the gruesome death of a friend, or by the physical distresses of a great throng of people. Perhaps this being moved goes deeper when one knows that they have the means to make things better, which Jesus did.
When evening came in this deserted place, the disciples were concerned about the people not having food to eat, but it was that they might journey back to the cities or villages from which they came, because in their minds there was nothing that they had to offer them, with barely enough provisions for themselves (v. 15). However, Jesus knew that they could provide for all the people, because he had that power, and he was with them (vv. 16-18). By taking the five loaves of bread and two fish in his hands, and seeking the blessing of the Father, Jesus was able to give everyone present what they needed to be ‘full’, “and they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments that remained” (vv. 19-20). With women and children, the number was greater than five thousand (v. 21).