Fed by a Miracle of Compassion
Medium: Acrylic on canvas
Artist: Stephen J. Vattimo
Matthew 14:13-21 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
Five Thousand Fed
13 Now when Jesus heard about John, He withdrew from there in a boat to a secluded place by Himself; and when the [a]people heard of this, they followed Him on foot from the cities. 14 When He went [b]ashore, He saw a large crowd, and felt compassion for them and healed their sick.
15 When it was evening, the disciples came to Him and said, “This place is desolate and the hour is already [c]late; so send the crowds away, that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” 16 But Jesus said to them, “They do not need to go away; you give them something to eat!” 17 They *said to Him, “We have here only five loaves and two fish.” 18 And He said, “Bring them here to Me.” 19 Ordering the [d]people to [e]sit down on the grass, He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up toward heaven, He blessed the food, and breaking the loaves He gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds, 20 and they all ate and were satisfied. They picked up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve full baskets. 21 There were about five thousand men who ate, besides women and children.
This illustration is part of a mural about the ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. The mural consists 9 images that depict the Miracles of Compassion Christ worked that are recorded in the Bible and He continues to perform in the world today.
Understanding the symbolism in the painting.
The basket of to fish and bread sits in the grass; Jesus had instructed His disciples to have the people sit down in the grass.
Dead grass: the event took place in a desolate place.
Historical and cultural illustration.
Basket design: In the first century in the middle east people traveled on foot and when on a long journey they carried food with them. The common lunch pal during this time period was most likely a small wicker style basket with a removable lid, and a leather strap attached to it. So, a person can sling it across their shoulder for comfortable transportation. The basket would most likely be lined with a cloth wrap around the food to protect it from dust and bugs.
The fish and bread: In John 6:1-15 which mentions the same event, tell us the 2 fish and five loaves of bread belong to boy, so most likely his meal was that of a poor person. The common fish that was eaten by the poor in this region and time period, were sardines.
The five loaves of bread: Were most likely a type of flat bread which is commonly consumed by middle eastern people.
The Bible verse that best communicates the message of this illustration is: Matthew 6:25-33 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
The Cure for Anxiety
25 “For this reason I say to you, [n]do not be worried about your [o]life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the [p]air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? 27 And who of you by being worried can add a single [q]hour to his [r]life? 28 And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, 29 yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! 31 Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ 32 For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But [s]seek first [t]His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be [u]added to you.
Written by Stephen J. Vattimo 3/25/2019