(Now the Jewish feast of the Passover was near.)
There are often times when we view a miracle, we are often awed by the overwhelming of the nature of the miracle and we missed out on what the Spirit is trying to tell us. The miracle of the feeding of the 5000 is one such miracle. Many of times when I read about this miracle, I had never taken notice of these words.
“ The Jewish Passover Festival was near.”
That was the setting of the feeding of the 5000. Jesus asked Philip “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” John tells us that he did this to test Philip. Why him? Why Philip? Philip is the most Gentile name among his disciples. Named after a Macedonian King- Philip means “friend of horses”.
John tells us that Jesus had asked a Gentile named disciple to buy bread to feed the people on a Jewish Passover.
You may say this is strange. I believe we missed something here. Most people viewed this miracle as Jesus the provider, Jesus the blesser, Jesus the God who prospers. I am of the humble view that there is more to this.
I believe Jesus was referring to himself as the Passover Sacrifice that was going to be offered for the people and in special reference here as for the Gentile people. The lesson here is Jesus is the provided sacrifice by God for the feeding of the crowd. He is the Passover Lamb.
He mentioned later, he is the bread of life that has caused the bread and fishes to multiply.
“Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”
Months later, some Greeks (Gentiles) would come and seek Jesus. They had approached Philip who was from Galilee otherwise Galilee of the Gentiles to look for Jesus. Upon hearing that Jesus said for the first time “The time has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell you the solemn truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains by itself alone. But if it dies, it produces much grain.” His time has come. Through Philip, he announced to a handful of Greeks, that the time of salvation of the Gentiles has finally arrived. His death had been delayed until the Gentiles were finally looking for him.
Dear friends, what I find fascinating about the feeding of the 5000 is not such much that he could and have fed 5000 with few fishes and a loaf of bread, but that He is the one that would be broken to feed everyone. What they did not know at that time, was a shocking truth- that he would die to save Gentiles. People who are referred as “pigs” and “dogs” by the Jews. Perhaps, they should have included “horses”. After that all Philip was a friend of horses. Jesus however, was a friend of “pigs” and “dogs”.
Let me close with this thought, after the feeding of the 5000, the disciples collected 12 basket full of leftovers. Dear friends, 12 is the number of of government in Jewish culture. The Bible tells us the government will be upon Jesus’s shoulders.
Now I want you to take a pen and draw a cross, as you do that count the number of strokes you need to draw a cross. What is the number of strokes? 12.
When Jesus carried the cross, he carried the government of God upon his shoulders. That includes you and me, Jew and Gentile. Me, a Gentile. A “pig”, “dog” and “a horse”.
Thought of the day
Oh Jesus, friend of sinners
The one who’s writing in the sand
Make the righteous turn away
And the stones fall from their hands
Help us to remember
We are all the least of these
Let the memory of Your mercy
Bring Your people to their knees
No one knows what we’re for only against
When we judge the wounded
What if we put down our signs crossed
Over the lines and loved like You did