Friday, July 8, 2011

Multiplication Table: Feeding if the 5,000

How many baskets were left over after the feeding of the 5,000? Twelve (Luke 9:17)

The feeding of the 5,000 is the only miracle to appear in all four gospels (Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:32-44; Luke 9:12-17; John 6:5-15). In each gospel’s account, Jesus utilizes five loaves of bread and two fish (Matthew 14:19; Mark 6:41; Luke 9:16; John 6:8, 11) to feed 5000+ people (Matthew 5:21; Mark 6:44; Luke 9:14; John 6:10). Matthew specifies that the figure did not include women and children (Matthew 14:21). Not only were all fed and satisfied, but there were twelve baskets left over (Matthew 14:20; Mark 6:43; Luke 9:17; John 6:13).

Why do you think that this is the only miracle to appear in all four gospels? What makes this incident important to each evangelist?

There is no waste at the meal as the surplus of twelve baskets was collected. Why twelve? Practically speaking, perhaps so that each disciple could eat. The baskets may have been the disciples’ own. Symbolically, twelve is often said to represent Israel making the miracle indicate God’s ability to provide for the nation. This is supported by the fact that in the similar feeding of the 4,000 (Matthew 15:32-38; Mark 8:1-9), a meal more associated with Gentiles, there are seven baskets of leftovers, a number also more associated with Gentiles (Matthew 15:37; Mark 8:8).

Jesus is able to meet a massive need with very limited resources. The story reminds that there is enough. God gives abundantly and in spite of common perception, there is enough for everyone. The belief that God has given all that is needed and that there is indeed enough is often known as a theology of abundance.

The alternative is a theology of scarcity. With a theology of scarcity comes the belief that there is a finite pool of resources from which to draw. People with this mind set often see life as a cosmic zero-sum game. If another has more, it automatically insures I have less.
“People with a scarcity mentality tend to see everything in terms of win-lose. There is only so much; and if someone else has it, that means there will be less for me. The more principle-centered we become, the more we develop an abundance mentality, the more we are genuinely happy for the successes, well-being, achievements, recognition, and good fortune of other people. We believe their success adds to…rather than detracts from…our lives.” - Stephen R. Covey
Do you view the world through a lens of scarcity or abundance? If you have a theology of abundance, how do you maintain it when life’s circumstances do not appear to support it?

“Abundance, not scarcity, is the mark of God’s kingdom. But that abundance must be made manifest through the lives of a people who have discovered that they can trust God and one another.” - Stanley Hauerwas

1 comment:

  1. A gift for you...
    God is precise: It is a woman Rev 12 that delivers the true word John1:1, Rev 12:5, Rev 12:13 who restores Acts 3:21 all things to the world before Christ’s return. This woman exposes the lies of Satan who has deceived the whole world Rev 12:9. This woman creates a new thing in the earth by fulfilling God's promise to Eve Gen 3:15, Jer 31:22, Isa 14:16. Moses and Elijah are together with the word Matt 17:3 they all three are in this one woman. She is like unto Moses Num 12:3. She was raised up Acts 3:22 from the Laodicean church that becomes lukewarm because they refused to hear her Rev 3:14-17. She is bold like Elijah Matt 17:11, Luke 1:17. As Elijah was alone declaring the true God to the people 1 Kings 18:22 so also her witness alone turns the hearts of the fathers to the children Mal 4:5-6 to prepare a people for the Lords return before the great and dreadful day of the Lord Matt 17:3, Luke 9:30. Those who will not hear Acts 3:23 the true word of God she now delivers to the world free of charge, as a witness, at the heel of time from the wilderness Rev 12:6 will not be allowed inside the walls of God’s coming kingdom from heaven Rev 21. This true testimony of the true value of the blood of the Lamb delivers the truth that not one child of God will be put in a hell fire no matter what their sins. It never entered the heart or mind of God to ever do such a thing Jer 7:31, Jer 19:5. God created evil Isa 45:7 to teach his children the knowledge of good and evil Rom 8:7, Gen 3:22 so that at their resurrection they become a god Matt 22:29-30, Ps 82:6. Prove all things. You cannot rightly judge this unless you read all that has been written by this woman first Pro 18:13. Check out the bruising of Satan and the reason for all of mankind’s sufferings. This is the Gospel that shall be preached in all the world as a witness and then the end will come.