At first, Jesus' miracle of feeding the 4,000 (Matthew 15:32-39; Mark 8:1-10) may seem to be the same as the one He performed for 5,000 (Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:30-44; Luke 9:10-17; John 6:1-15). They do have a few similarities: Jesus multiplies loaves and fish; a multitude is fed; the disciples are skeptical; and they collect leftovers.
However, some distinct differences nullify any notion that they are the same: The crowds are of different sizes; the disciples speak first in the first miracle, but Jesus does in the second; they occur in discrete locations; they follow different events; the numbers of loaves and fish differ; the numbers of baskets differ; the baskets themselves are different; and finally, Jesus spends one day with the 5,000, but three with the 4,000.
Jesus Himself removes any doubt by referring to them as two different miracles. He mentions the different numbers of people present at the two events, the different numbers of baskets of fragments gathered afterward, and the different sizes of the baskets (Matthew 16:9-10; Mark 8:19-21).
Martin G. Collins
The Miracles of Jesus Christ: Feeding the Four Thousand
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