Scripture: Luke 9:11-17 (alternate reading: Luke 7:1-10)
11 When the crowds learned it, they followed him; and he welcomed them and spoke to them of the kingdom of God, and cured those who had need of healing.12 Now the day began to wear away; and the twelve came and said to him, "Send the crowd away, to go into the villages and country round about, to lodge and get provisions; for we are here in a lonely place." 13 But he said to them, "You give them something to eat." They said, "We have no more than five loaves and two fish -- unless we are to go and buy food for all these people." 14 For there were about five thousand men. And he said to his disciples, "Make them sit down in companies, about fifty each." 15 And they did so, and made them all sit down. 16 And taking the five loaves and the two fish he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. 17 And all ate and were satisfied. And they took up what was left over, twelve baskets of broken pieces.
Meditation: Are you hungry for God and for the abundant life he offers you? Jesus put his disciples in a difficult spot when he commanded them to do what seemed impossible – to feed a large and hungry crowd when there was no adequate provision of food in sight. Jesus, no doubt wanted to test their faith and to teach them to rely upon God for their provision. The signs which Jesus did, including the miraculous feeding of the five thousand signified that God the Father had indeed sent his only begotten Son as the anointed Prophet, King, and Savior for his people. Jesus' feeding of the five thousand is the only miracle recorded in all four gospels. What is the significance of this miracle? The miraculous feeding of such a great multitude pointed to God's provision of manna in the wilderness for the people of Israel under Moses' leadership. This food foreshadowed the true heavenly bread which Jesus would offer his followers. Jesus makes a claim only God can make: He is the true bread of heaven that can satisfy the deepest hunger we experience. The feeding of the five thousand shows the remarkable generosity of God and his great kindness towards us. When God gives, he gives abundantly. He gives more than we need for ourselves that we may have something to share with others, especially those in need. God takes the little we have and multiplies it for the good of others. Do you trust in God's provision for you and do you share freely with others, especially those who lack?
Jesus’ feeding of the five thousand points to the superabundance of the Lord’s Supper or Eucharist. Jesus transforms the passover of the old covenant into the meal of the "new covenant in my blood". In the Old Covenant bread and wine were offered in sacrifice as a sign of grateful acknowledgment to their Creator. Melchizedek’s offering of bread and wine, who was both priest and king (Genesis 14:18), prefigured the offering made by Jesus, our high priest and king. The unleavened bread at Passover and the miraculous manna in the desert are the pledge of God's faithfulness to his promises. The "cup of blessing" at the end of the Jewish passover meal points to the messianic expectation of the rebuilding of Jerusalem. Jesus gave a new and definitive meaning to the blessing of the bread and the cup when he instituted the "Lord's Supper" or "Eucharist". He speaks of the presence of his body and blood in this new meal. When at the Last Supper Jesus described his blood “poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Matthew 26:28), he was explaining his coming crucifixion as a sacrifice for sins. His death on the cross fulfilled the sacrifice of the paschal lamb. That is why John the Baptist called him the “Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” Jesus made himself an offering and sacrifice, a gift that was truly pleasing to the Father. He “offered himself without blemish to God” (Hebrews 9:14) and “gave himself as a sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:2). This meal was a memorial of his death and resurrection. Do you hunger for the bread of life?
"Lord Jesus, you are the "Bread of Life" and the "Cup of Salvation". Fill me with gratitude and longing for the true Bread of Heaven which gives strength and healing for body and soul."
1 The LORD says to my lord: "Sit at my right hand, till
I make your enemies your footstool."
2 The LORD sends forth from Zion your mighty scepter. Rule in the midst of your foes!
3 Your people will offer themselves freely on the day you lead your host upon the holy mountains. From the womb of the morning like dew your youth will come to you.
4 The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind, "You are a priest for ever after the order of Melchiz'edek."