I was recently reading a chapter from Jeremiah, the Prophet of Crisis, by Timothy Joseph Golden, and something he said about the bread of life opened my eyes to an interesting concept. He was referring to John 6:35 where Jesus says, “I am the bread of life.” And then he connected that to the story in Matthew 14:13-21, where Jesus feeds the 5,000 with just a few loaves of bread. Actually there was more than five thousand; Matthew in 14;21, “the number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.”
For one thing, as I read all four versions of the story in all four gospels, I learned that this is the only miracle, other than the resurrection, that is actually told in all four gospel accounts. So, I figure this must be very important and I prayed and asked God to show me why.
Matthew and Luke report it in the same way. There were five loaves of bread and two fish and they both say that after the people ate they were satisfied, then it says, “the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.” John says it a little differently; he says that the pieces that were picked up were “pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.” And Mark is even different than that; he says “the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish.”
Now, the reason I’m quoting all four is to dispel any arguments by those who read this and want to say somebody must be wrong. No, I don’t believe any of them are wrong. It’s just that anytime you get four people telling a story, there will be differences in those four stories because one remembers certain points in the story and another will remember something else. I witnessed it many times when I was a police officer talking to witnesses.
And keep this in mind also; Matthew and John are the only ones of the four who were actually there when the bread and fish were served. They witnessed the actual miracle as it occurred, so you can imagine that it is indelibly marked in their brains. Mark and Luke were not there. They were companions of Paul; long after the actual event. In the Book of Acts, which Luke writes, he refers to several sermons preached by Peter; and Peter was also there when the bread and fish miracle occurred. So, it’s my belief that Luke and Mark picked up their version of the event by listening to Peter. Thus the differences in the telling of it in the four gospel accounts.
Now that I’ve got that out of the way, I began by saying that this story about the bread opened my eyes to an interesting concept, and here it is. It’s really so simple that I can’t believe I haven’t caught it sooner than this because I know I’ve read the story of the loaves and fish at least a hundred times. And that is the point I wish to make here; even though I’ve read it a hundred times, God just now revealed this to me.
You see, we are told that there were twelve basketfuls left over after Jesus fed five loaves of bread and a few fish to more than five thousand people. This tells me that we can never get enough bread; there will always be more available. In John 6:35, Jesus tells us that He is the bread of life. And in John 1:1 we see these words; “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Jesus is also the Word and we believe the Bible is the Word of God.
Jesus is the bread of life and Jesus is the Word. Bread, therefore, is food for the soul. the word of God, therefore, is food for the soul. We can never get enough of the word. Remember what I said earlier? I read it a hundred times and finally caught on to this concept. We can never get enough bread. We can read the same verse, chapter, or book many times over; and each time, we will glean something new from it; a new revelation from God.
Can you ever get enough bread? No, I don’t think you can. David said “I hide your word in my heart so I will not sin against You.” We need God’s word, we need the bread of life. Jesus said in John 15:5, “apart from Me you can do nothing.” If you don’t stay in the word, you’re as good as dead. I don’t know about you, but I do not want to be a dead christian. I think that’s probably a misnomer.
So, here’s my point; if you love Jesus and you want to follow Him as he says in Luke 9:23, you need to stay close to Him. He says in John 10:14, “I know my sheep and my sheep know me.” But how can you know Him or stay close to Him without reading about him. Read the word; obey the word; live by the word. He says in John 8:31, “if you hold to My teaching, you are really My disciples.” A true Christian is a disciple of Christ Jesus. His disciples were “called Christians first in Antioch.” Acts 11:26
Praise the Lord, oh my soul. I pray oh God, for all those reading this that You will bless them abundantly. Feed them the bread of life, and to God be the glory through Christ Jesus. Amen