The story of Jesus feeding the multitudes is an interesting testimony of the grace and miracles of God. There is more than enough to go around when Jesus is involved. There were baskets leftover… they tried to give him credit, and he retreated to the mountain…
8 Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, 9 “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”
10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). 11 Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.
12 When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” 13 So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.
14 After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.” 15 Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.
Even in the miracles and generosity of God, nothing can be wasted. Jesus told his disciples to gather up the pieces after feeding the multitude so that nothing would be wasted. Twelve baskets were left. When Jesus provides, he provides in abundance. We miss this in our own lives. When there is enough to feed us we are thankful to God, yet we should recognize that there is always more.
The grace of God is twelve baskets full more than we need to feed ourselves. And we ought to share the leftovers with our neighbours…
I notice that the way to an Israelite’s heart is through their stomach. Once Jesus fed everyone, they wanted to make him king by force, because they perceived him to be a prophet. And Jesus wasn’t having any – do you notice that? He withdrew to be alone on the mountain instead.
Two reasons. The first is that he wasn’t looking for man’s glory. Remember? He just finished teaching us that in John 5. It’s the glory of God that matters to Jesus, and he was already full of the glory of God.
The second reason was that an earthly throne wasn’t part of the mission. Jesus didn’t come to reign. He came to die. Maybe that surprises you. He will come to reign when he comes again. The first time Jesus came, he came as Saviour, dying and rising again for our sakes.
And so any plan to make him king interfered with his commitment to going to the cross. That’s where he filled up the baskets full of grace…