The miracle of Feeding the Five Thousand is the only miracle that appears in all five Gospels not only because of the enormity of the miracle but also the significance of what it represents. This miracle was a display of God’s provision. It displayed his abundance and power to break out of the physical constraints of the world. It was a miracle intended to be viewed on a grander scale than many of Jesus’ other miracles. Some of His other miracles were in a more intimate setting and not all were privy to the event due to God’s purpose in performing the miracle.
I believe it appears in all four Gospels due to the significance of the event. In addition, the magnitude of the event was remarkable in that Jesus not only literally fed them, but it also figuratively shows how no one left there the same. When people experience the goodness of Christ, they share the goodness with others. I believe that this was a key event in spreading the news of the Messiah.
Important because it was witnessed, experienced by thousands of people personally. While many of the other miracles may have been performed in the midst of a crowd, they would have been merely observers, astonished observers, but not the recipient of the miracle themselves. Experience is far more powerful than observation. The gospel writers would not want to miss one of the most widely known miracles of Jesus.
In this miracle, Jesus not only feeds thousands literally but also figuratively. I believe this event appears in all four Gospels not only due to the sheer number of people but also the effect he had on them. First he produced food from an unbelievable small amount of food. That alone would be astounding and demand the attention of even the most doubtful. After fulfilling their physical needs, Christ fed their souls. The wisdom and love he showed to the multitudes would be further proof of his amazing wonderfulness.
As stated in the previous discussion question, the magnitude of producing really from nothing, an abundance was paramount in importance to these people as the manna and quail received in the desert was to those wandering in the wilderness so many centuries before. It makes total sense that all the gospels reflect two things in Jesus’ nature… one, His love and concern for their welfare and health, and two, knowing they would most likely listen to what He had to say from that moment forward because if someone did something of that magnitude, they must have a power beyond that of a normal human. All the gospel writers, whether present or not would have noted the magnitude of the event. It would have been hard to ignore it, but it is interesting that Jesus does this again with 4,000+ but it is not nearly as recognizable.
Perhaps this is because it is the only miracle Jesus performed which fulfilled the purpose of each gospel writer. John wrote for the purpose of revealing Jesus as the incarnate Son of God sent to reveal the Father and bring eternal life to those who believe in him. This miracle reveals God’s heart of compassion and Jesus as the good shepherd fully capable of providing for his sheep. Matthew wrote to the Jews to present Jesus as the Messiah prophesied in the Old Testament. This miracle included the reference to Moses and the manna from heaven told about in the Old Testament. Mark is here presenting Jesus as a servant who cares for the needs of everyone. Luke may have included this miracle to show how Jesus had authority over natural laws.