THEODORE OF HERACLEA:
In this way, by his speech, Christ had so disposed their souls that they had even become self-forgetful and had taken no care to provide for food or other inevitable needs. They had not grown weary, even in the desert, of being with Christ. But Christ understood the weakness of our nature and that we require food for the health of our bodies. He makes preparation even for this, that it might be evident that he is concerned not only about our souls but about our bodies as well. For he himself is the Creator of both soul and body.1
Note that those from fewer loaves left twelve baskets, but these from a greater number left seven baskets. Perhaps they were able more fully to receive.2
THEODORE OF MOPSUESTIA:
The Lord wanted to provide by means of this food a miraculous work for the sake of their faith. This was his will and they perceived it. This is seen even in their questioning him: “Where are we to get bread enough”? Jesus wanted his disciples’ souls to be exercised in believing in his divine power. It was not only with words that he taught his followers but also with deeds. He then says that he “gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds.” It was fitting that this should be observed both by the disciples and by the Lord. It was appropriate that the ministry should redound to the glory of those who serve, according to what pertains to the service of discipleship. The goodness shown to those who are most in need, by means of the service of the saints, is kept as though it were an individual act of obedience. Note that they partook according to their need. They did not receive food in order to take it away with them. Fragments were left, as a symbol for measuring use according to need, rather than introducing acquisitiveness that goes beyond what is needful.3
- FRAGMENT 97. Simonetti, M. (Ed.). (2002). Matthew 14-28 (p. 34). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
- COMMENTARY ON MATTHEW 11.19. Simonetti, M. (Ed.). (2002). Matthew 14-28 (p. 36). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
- FRAGMENTS 86, 87. Simonetti, M. (Ed.). (2002). Matthew 14-28 (p. 36). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.