Today we reflect upon the story of the feeding of the 5,000 people, taking from John’s account. John 6: 4 – 14
The story of the feeding of the 5,000 as narrated in the gospels from different accounts reveal to us several miracles contained in just one story. This story has been elaborated to us in several ways from childhood and every time we read and seek insight, the story brings with it – its freshness.
Unfortunately, this story, while being elaborated by preachers, believers and critics give off different interpretations. For some critics, the story is an impossible case considering the size of the crowd and quantity of food being shared. The questions some critics ask is; was the crowd that large or was it exaggerated?
And I usually ask, how many person can 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish comfortably feed, and having 12 baskets of leftover? Are the leftovers not more than the actual food shared? We see miracle of multiplication of loaves (food) here.
How many person can 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish comfortably feed, and having 12 baskets of leftover?
Some critics have said that, it is/may be possible that the people brought their own food and hoarded it. It only appealed to them to bring out theirs when food was being distributed. Well, it only sounds logical for the critics that this was the only occasion where such distribution could occur.
In reaction to the above, some preachers have further presented the need for charity with this explanation. That it may be the effect of Jesus’ charity that brought about the miracle of charity in others. Be charitable and let God use you.
In addition, to the lessons we learn from the story, God desires orderliness. We find the need for orderliness as the crowd is arranged into groups. perhaps this was how the crowd was counted and the total number of men realized. But what we must take from this point is that, God is a God or order. Learn to follow God’s instructions and do things orderly, especially in His presence.
Okay, let’s do less of the critics today. We would always have critics, we would always have unbelievers, regardless of the amount of miracles performed. No matter the awesomeness of God experienced in our midst some hearts would be harden . What I have realized is that the Kingdom of God comes to those who desire it. And abides with those who accept it. We must note that every message has a soul to save. Are you that soul today? Do you desire the Kingdom of God? Would you share this message to others?
The Kingdom of God comes to those who desire it. And abides with those who accept it.
The miracles of the feeding of 5,000 people and/or multiplication of loaves (food) is a signature of God. Why pretend about it. It is a mark of his divine power to sustain and of his divine love to provide. He is our God and Father.
Before I continue, do some check yourself. I won’t make it easy for you today, (remember the Kingdom of God comes to those who desire it…) search/google the following stories:
- Manna in the Desert, how many people where fed and for how many years? (a clue, read the book of Exodus; Moses leading Israelites in the desert.)
- Elijah and the widow of Zarephath; the jar of oil and the flour. How much was gained and for how long?
- Elisha feeds the group of prophets; multiplying loaves to feed the prophets. What does the multiplication of loaf signify?
The miracles in the stories sighted above is not about the size of people or the number of days. You would miss it if you don’t see the essence of God showing up to be God. The Provider and much more!
Another exercise you must carry out by yourself is to read the several Gospel accounts of the “Multiplication of the Five loaves of Bread and Two Fish”. You would be drawn into the several narrations of the same episode and miracles. This suggests that from the gospel narratives, it is okay to view the same story or miracles from different perspectives. But we must not take away the soul or substance of the miracle.
Another miracle or message from the story is about the compassion of God. Yes, Jesus shows compassion on the crowd and intends to see to their need. Especially because they are in a precarious, desperate and forlorn situation. When we are in the wilderness of life, who do you rely on. In our moments of weakness, confusion and desperation, who do we turn to?
It is my understanding that, the only time we have leftovers is when we are filled. The crowd didn’t just take a bite of the bread but they ate their fill, were satisfied and had leftovers.
Amongst the many other miracles we may draw from this story, I would pull out this one miracle that I got lighted up with this morning. With God there is fullness. Do you remember that part of psalm 23 that says; he provides for you, your table being filled and your cup overflowing? Do you think they are just words or empty promises? The bible reminds us that God is not a man that he should lie.
So check the miracle of the feeding of the 5,000 again. Re-read it! We have about 5,000 persons being fed with 5 loaves and 2 fish and they come up with 12 basket full of leftovers. It is my understanding that, the only time we have leftovers is when we are filled. The crowd didn’t just take a bite of the bread but they ate their fill, were satisfied and had leftovers.
…miracle of fullness and satisfaction…
Here we have the miracle of fullness and satisfaction. In the story the miracle is presented in the provision of physical food but it would only mean more to us from the spiritual angle. Most of the time, human beings are empty and go on living unfilled lives. We keep searching for happiness, meaning and some kind of satisfaction. Many people feel that what God offers is not capable of satisfying them because it appears as a little boy’s lunch. When God offers, it is more than enough, especially when received in thanksgiving!
In the search for meaning, for fulfillment, for satisfaction, for life, human beings look for love, turn to drugs, engage in all kinds of fun to feel fulfilled or gain some satisfaction but many people feel empty. Some persons make great wealth and achieve all the accolades, status, success they can think of but inside they are empty not to talk of over flowing with life.
So we have many people easily becoming tired of life, they become exhausted from searching for their substance; they get tired of failing in attaining the real purpose of living. St. Augustine has this to say about his situation; ” Our heart is restless until they rest in you.” So we go back to the story of the John 6. The crowd followed Jesus, they were searching for something… they needed something… they were searching for meaning… they needed life… but they didn’t know it… they didn’t understand! The story would build up to later verses where Jesus would offer them more than the food they have eaten to their fill.
When God offers, it is more than enough, especially when received in thanksgiving!
Each day we search for the food for our soul, to give us meaning! Yes, we desire real joy, deep happiness and wholesome peace! How or where do we get this fulfillment? We only find real joy when we eat the food for our soul. And we have someone who can give this food, to our fill and with leftovers. The food that gives us real life. Jesus gives us this food for our soul. He is the living bread that come down from heaven.
The message I have for you today is that, the only time we have leftover is when we are experience Jesus. When we experience God, there is fullness! God doesn’t only give food for the stomach but food for our soul. The only logical explanation I can give is that, it’s only your creator that can perfect you. It’s only your creator that can give you fullness of life. He did it while creating you and he can do it whenever he pleases, again and again, he can remold you, he can fill with real food, with joy, peace and life in abundance.
God bless you and have a fulfilled life!