A Closer Look
Upon first encountering Jesus feeding the 4000, you almost do a double-take, didn’t I just read this? And, the answer is, you kind of did, but not entirely. There are some distinct differences from when he multiplied the fish and bread to feed the five-thousand. But, they’re easy to miss.
So Matthew 15:31 described that “they praised the God of Israel.” Now that detail is significant, if they were Isrealites, Matthew would have no reason to point this out. It’s the first of many indicators that these people were most likely Gentiles.
Previously, the 5000 Jesus was with them for part of a day, but he’s with the 4000 for three days - they don’t have the same pre-existing knowledge. Then with the 4000 there were seven basketfuls leftover unlike with the 5000 when there were 12 basketfuls - a special number for Jewish people. And finally, following the crowd’s departure Jesus gets into a boat and goes to the vicinity of Magadan, which is directly across from Gentile territory.
All of these little details point to God’s great love. A love that Jesus demonstrated was meant for all people, Jew and Gentile. Is this a love you’re willing to share?