The feeding of the five thousand has several purposes. It was to continue to teach the crowd that followed Jesus and have the disciples share in a miracle. It also shows the humanity of Jesus since he grieved for John the Baptist.
Mat 14:13 Now when Jesus heard about John, He withdrew from there in a boat to a secluded place by Himself; and when the people heard of this, they followed Him on foot from the cities.
Jesus was disturbed by the senseless loss of John the Baptist. He, like any human, wanted time to be away with his thoughts. He again uses a boat for his refuge and time away. He and the 12 apostles set of on the boat. In Luke 9:10 it says he was sailing to Bethsaida.Mat 14:14 When He went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and felt compassion for them and healed their sick. Mat 14:15 When it was evening, the disciples came to Him and said, "This place is desolate and the hour is already late; so send the crowds away, that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves." Mat 14:16 But Jesus said to them, "They do not need to go away; you give them something to eat!" Mat 14:17 They (the 12 disciples) said to Him, "We have here only five loaves and two fish."
The crowd followed him along the shore line and when Jesus and wanted to learn more. Some of them wanted healing. Since people could not store much food in the house they needed to buy food when the were to eat. Jesus knew that his time on earth was limited and he needed every opportunity to preach to them.
Mat 14:18 And He said, "Bring them here to Me." Mat 14:19 Ordering the people to 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,Jesus knew he could enlarge the food forthe number of followers but he wanted the disciples to share in the miracle and the people to see it.
I also found it interesting that it was 5 loaves and 2 fish. If added the number was 7. I am not sure if this was planned but he number 7 appears in the bible 735 times. The reason that 7 is special was defined by BibleStudy.org “The Bible, as a whole, was originally divided into 7 major divisions. They are 1) the Law; 2) the Prophets; 3) the Writings, or Psalms; 4) the Gospels and Acts; 5) the General Epistles; 6) the Epistles of Paul; and 7) the book of Revelation. The total number of originally inspired books was forty-nine, or 7 x 7, demonstrating the absolute perfection of the Word of God.”
I found this to be very interesting. Was this an accidental number of loaves and fish? Or was this a number that God planned?Mat 14:20 and they all ate and were satisfied. They picked up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve full baskets. Mat 14:21 There were about five thousand men G435 who ate, besides women and children.
A lot of food was given out by the disciples but it was not 5000 people. It was 5000 men. The Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionary gives the work a G435 Label. It reads “G435 the word for man. (an'-ayr) A primary word (compare G444); a man (properly as an individual male): - fellow, husband, man, sir.
That being the case there were also wives and children there. It was a boy that had the basket of bread and fish therefore we know there were children.Even though Jesus was grieving over John he could not deny the people any chance to hear his word. It would have been great to be on that hillside to hear the words spoken by Jesus.