The Messy Details Matter

And
they all ate as much as they wanted. After everyone was full, Jesus told his disciples,
“Now gather the leftovers, so that nothing is wasted.” So they picked up the
pieces and filled twelve baskets with scraps left by the people who had eaten
from the five barley loaves.
John 6:11-13 (NLT)

In my mind’s eye, the miracle of Jesus feeding the
five thousand is a pastoral image: under a blue sky, the disciples surround a
young boy who is handing his basket to Jesus while unnamed people sit watching
on the grassy hillside.

It’s a Norman Rockwell holiday family meal – loved
ones sitting around a beautifully appointed table featuring a roasted turkey
about to be carved.

We don’t paint after dinner pictures of full
bellies, crumpled napkins, and half empty serving bowls. But every one of our
gospel writers detailed the post-miracle scene.

A common detail they all include is that they all ate as much as they wanted. John
emphasizes that everyone was full,
while Matthew and Mark remind us that 5,000
men were fed, in addition to all the women and children
. They probably didn’t
overeat, but they were completely satisfied by Jesus’ meal.

Another common detail is that the disciples gathered twelve baskets of leftover bread. Mark
mentions leftover fish, but John is the most detailed, describing pieces and scraps to fill the twelve baskets and reminding us that these people ate
from five barley loaves – nothing
else.

What does the scene after Jesus feeds 5,000 reveal? (tweet this)

Instead of a hungry crowd watching a boy give Jesus
one basket, we have a satisfied mass and twelve astonished disciples, each
bringing Jesus a full basket of barley scraps and fish.

#SeedsofScripture #Feeds5000 #miracle

This completes the series dissecting this familiar
story. Read the first six posts by clicking the following links:

New Eyes on a Familiar Story,

Is this Jesus’ Most Important Miracle,

When What Jesus Asks is Too Hard,

Following a Child’s Example,

When Every
Word Holds Meaning
, and

Miracles
Really Do Happen
.

 

Below is my version of Jesus Feeds Five Thousand
combining accounts from

Matthew 14:15-21, Mark 6:35-44, Luke 9:12-17, John
6:5-15 (NLT)

Late
that afternoon or evening the disciples came to him and said “…Send the crowds
away so they can go to the nearby farms and villages and buy food and find
lodging for themselves.”

Turning
to Philip, [Jesus] asked, “Where can we buy bread to feed all these people?” He
was testing Philip, for he already knew what he was going to do.

Philip
replied, “Even if we worked for months, we wouldn’t have enough money to feed
them!

But
Jesus said, “That isn’t necessary – you feed them.”

“With
what?” [the disciples] asked.

“How
much bread do you have?” Jesus asked. “Go and find out.”

Then
Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up. “There’s a young boy here with five
barley loaves and two fish. But what good is that with this huge crowd?

“Bring
them here,” [Jesus] said. “Tell [the people] to sit down on the green, grassy
slope in groups of about fifty each.” So they sat down in groups of fifty or a
hundred.

Then
Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven and gave
thanks to God. Then, breaking the loaves into pieces, he kept giving the bread
to the disciples so they could distribute it to the people. He also divided the
fish for everyone to share. (The men alone, not including the women and
children, numbered 5,000.)

And
they all ate as much as they wanted. After everyone was full, Jesus told his
disciples, “Now gather the leftovers, so that nothing is wasted.” So they
picked up the pieces and filled twelve baskets with scraps left by the people
who had eaten from the five barley loaves.

When
the people saw him do this miraculous sign, they exclaimed, “Surely, he is the
Prophet we have been expecting!” When Jesus saw that they were ready to force
him to be their king, he slipped away into the hills by himself.

2 Comments

  1. CHERRILYNN BISBANO on May 13, 2017 at 10:50 AM

    Cathy I love your comparison to Norman Rockwell. Everyone was satisfied. How often am I not satisfied. That made me think and give thanks for His provision. Thank you.

    • CathyChung on May 13, 2017 at 12:20 PM

      Yes, yes, Cherrilynn. It often comes back to Giving thanks. I was really struck by the post dinner portrait they paint. Not beautiful but satisfied.

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