Wednesday, March 08, 2006

And there were 12 baskets left over...

I am sure we are all pretty familiar with this famous story from the New Testament. In fact, it is the only miracle of Jesus that is recorded in all 4 Gospels. So, if that is the case, it must have something important to say to us today.

But, I'm not going to dwell on the miracle of the feeding of the crowd. Instead, my goofy brain wonders about another aspect of the miracle.

"So they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten." John 6:13 NASB
So, where did the baskets come from? No one had food to eat that day except that little boy. So where did the 12 baskets come from?

I really don't know where they came from. But I do know that their existence is consistent with the God that Abraham called "Jehovah-jireh" in the 22nd chapter of Genesis -- the God who provides. God provided the ram in the thicket for the sacrifice. And that was a huge thing for God to do, for Abraham and certainly for Isaac! But that same God also provided those 12 baskets for the disciples to gather up the left-overs so that none of the food would be wasted.

We serve a great God! We serve a God who provides for our every need.


  1. Yes this is a very interesting miracle that all the Gospel writers remember! It was quite a miracle. I have to wonder though; was the boy really the only one to have food with him? I know the Bible doesn't clearly state it but it would seem odd to me, that out of a group of at the very least 5000 men, when you add it up at least 1500 when including a wife and child for each man that was there, that only one boy would remember to bring lunch that day. Now I am not trying to discredit Jesus' amazing miracle, the people would not be hungry and asking for food if they had all brought something to eat, the fact of the matter is, there wasn't near enough to begin with and then the wound up with plenty! Rather I think that there were probably some who had food. The boy that offered up his lunch was either much less selfish and chose not to hide what he had, or was the only one in close proximity to Jesus and his disciples that had food. The baskets I think came from other prepared ones. But that's just my opinion and it doesn't really have quite as much an impact as the selflessness and faith that the boy had in sharing what little he brought with him. He gave all he had, and was the only one to come forward with a solution of faith. The other folks who may have brought food were filled just as well but I think they learned as we do what happens when we give God what we have. Even when there is no way it will be sufficient for the task at hand. When we give it up, God does amazing things with it. Especially when it is so little! "But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." 1 Cor. 12:9

  2. John 21:11
    153 large fish.
    Now why did John feel it was necessary to record the exact amount of fish caught on that occassion?
    I bet some theologian could give some sort of huge study about the significance of that number.
    Concerning Joshua's comment, I have heard that take on the miracle before, and perhaps it is worth consideration. But since all four gospels (John has two accounts of such miracles) call it a miracle, if it was such a logical cause and effect sort of thing, people learning to share, then were the gospel writers dilibertly trying to decieve in their telling of it, trying to make it more than it was?

  3. Maryellen,
    That is an interesting point that you make about the numbers thing. One explanation that I have heard for the large numbers thing is that wasn't so much that they were trying to make the miracle more than it was, but more like they rounded off the number that was more precise. Indicating that, it doesn't really matter how many exactly but there were A LOT of people there. Or there were A LOT of fish. Now John does mention that number of fish in a rather precise manner, and that's a great question. What is the significance of 153 fish? I am only an undergrad Bible student and haven't yet attempted to tackle this one. Perhaps that number was significant for that culture or time period or something like that. Perhaps since John was a friend of fisherman like Peter, and Andrew then they would have made a big deal about the exact number and it may have stuck in his mind for a long time. Who knows for sure reall? In the long run, I sure am Glad that we serve a God who can accomplish anything he wants to through us if we only allow him to take over.

  4. why is it so hard sometimes to just let God take over?
    of course we really shouldn't feel that bad about our reluctance to "let go" since even his 12 were slow to trust, and they were first hand witnesses to these things...

  5. Anonymous3:48 PM

    Strange as it may seem, I have wondered about those "Baksets" too.Note the spelling.