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12 Baskets of leftover bread!

Dr. Irene Noble

And Jesus fed the multitude of 5000 with 5 loaves of bread; a miracle familiar to each one of us – probably even to the children. The parable is recorded in the gospel of Mathew chp 14: vs 13 – 21 and is special also because it is the only miracle recorded in all the 4 gospels. Have you ever thought why it is so significant? Think and rethink - what makes it so significant! There sure must be something more than the fact that He fed 5000 men not including the women and children gathered on that day. In Mark chp 4 vs 11 & 12 – Jesus says – You have been given the secret of the Kingdom of God; the others who are on the outside, hear all thing by means of parables, so that they may look and look , yet not see; they may listen and listen, yet not understand. For if they did, they would turn to God and he would heal them.’ Does the miracle of feeding the 5000 have a deeper meaning for you and me?

As I pondered, I could see that the miracle definitely highlights how Jesus can multiply whatever little is offered to Him ; satisfy the needs of His flock and at the same time create excess of the requirement. Such is the glory of each of His creation ; it has enough for each one of us and definitely has more than the need. However, my attention today is on the fact that the disciples took up 12 baskets full of what was left over. Mathew chp 14 Verse 20 is of special mention –‘ Everyone ate and had enough; and then the disciples took up 12 baskets full of what was left over’. Have we thought about the significance of this verse – let us go over it again: ‘ there were 12 baskets of leftover bread’. I believe each word is significant : the number 12; the word basket and leftover bread.

Why would it have been necessary to have 12 baskets of leftovers? Was it not enough to have just a little leftover , maybe a basket or so. Surely the King of kings does or says nothing without a reason! Jesus had 12 disciples at the time and there was one basket each for the 12 disciples. The gospel or word of Christ from the land of Jerusalem was spread across the world by these, His 12 disciples. Jesus was born in the land of Israel, he brought the good news to God’s chosen people and after preaching the gospel to the people of Jerusalem, Jesus asks His disciples to spread across the world and inform the good news to the entire humanity and his disciples did so. How each disciple travelled across the globe and how they spread His word and how each one was martyred for spreading the gospel is familiar to all of us. And so it was necessary that there be 12 baskets of leftover.

Let’s move on to what did they collect in the basket – it was the left over bread. Bread here signifies Jesus himself.We see in many portions, Jesus describes himself as the bread. Jesus is the bread of life as mentioned in John chp 6 vs 35. Also we see in John 6:57 Jesus says – He who feeds on me shall live. Jesus wants that we eat the bread of life, so that we may have eternal life.

And last but not the least, we move to the basket – the basket that contained the leftover bread carried by the disciples. It is nothing but a vessel! Who is the basket – it is you and me. What a privilege the Lord bestows on us – to be the vessel that carries Him. It’s his call to a ministry to bear witness to Him to the ends of the earth. What a responsibility it is….. to harbor the life giving bread of man. How can we evade from that responsibility; how can one be a deaf ear to the call of God.

Indeed He fed the 5000 with 5 loaves of bread; but He also left the 12 baskets of leftover bread. He left Himself to be gathered by the disciples and be carried in the basket that is you and me, to spread light to the entire humanity…

Jesus is calling you and me….Can you hear…….Won’t you respond!!

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