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Five Loaves of Bread and Two Fish

Scripture Reading: John 6:1-15

After this Jesus went across the Galilee Sea (that is, the Tiberias Sea). A large crowd followed him, because they had seen the miraculous signs he had done among the sick. Jesus went up a mountain and sat there with his disciples. It was nearly time for Passover, the Jewish festival.

Jesus looked up and saw the large crowd coming toward him. He asked Philip, “Where will we buy food to feed these people?” Jesus said this to test him, for he already knew what he was going to do.

Philip replied, “More than a half year’s salary[a] worth of food wouldn’t be enough for each person to have even a little bit.”

One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said, “A youth here has five barley loaves and two fish. But what good is that for a crowd like this?”

10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass there. They sat down, about five thousand of them. 11 Then Jesus took the bread. When he had given thanks, he distributed it to those who were sitting there. He did the same with the fish, each getting as much as they wanted. 12 When they had plenty to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather up the leftover pieces, so that nothing will be wasted.” 13 So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves that had been left over by those who had eaten.

14 When the people saw that he had done a miraculous sign, they said, “This is truly the prophet who is coming into the world.” 15 Jesus understood that they were about to come and force him to be their king, so he took refuge again, alone on a mountain.

Reflections

Jesus feeds people a lot throughout his ministry. It seems like people following Jesus are oftentimes concerned about their lunch and dinner. In this story, however, Jesus is the one who is concerned about food. He asks Philip, “Where will we buy food to feed these people?” And John reflects on this telling the reader that, “Jesus said this to test him, for he already knew what he was going to do.” (Verse 6.) What was Jesus going to do? Jesus went on to feed 5,000 people with five loaves of bread and two fish. Each person got what they wanted, not just what they needed. And there was more than enough left over, twelve baskets of left-overs actually! The word for “left-over” pieces is the same Greek word that Paul uses many times in the New Testament. For example, in Romans 15:13, Paul prays that the church would “overflow with hope from the Holy Spirit..” The idea is that you would have exceedingly more, that you would have more than enough and that you would overflow with the provision of God. In a sense, that you would have “left-overs.” God longs to fill you to overflowing with the provision of God’s presence.

Practice

This is an ancient practice called “Lectio Divina.” I would like you to do it with holding your bread.

I want to invite you to settle in. close your eyes if you want. Lay down if you want. Whatever makes you comfortable.

I want you to draw your attention to your breathing. Try to make your inhale meet your exhale and pause in between them.

Notice anywhere in your body where you are holding tension and imagine directing your breath to those places and feel them relax.

Notice the top of your head, your face muscles, your chin, you neck and shoulders arms abdomen then tops of your legs, and on down all the way to your body.

Read Romans 15:13 three times aloud very slowly.

Prayer

Take these processing questions to prayer:

  • What word or phrase jumped out at you?
  • What do you think God is saying to you through this word or phrase?

Close in prayer about what God is saying.

Kelly Edmiston - February 28, 2021

Jesus and Bread

Scripture References: Exodus 16:1-11

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