Introduction

“And truly Jesus did many other signs
  in the presence of His disciples, which
  are not written in this book;  but these
  are written that you may believe that
  Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and
  that believing you may have life
  in His name.”- John (Jn 20:30-31)

John tells us that there are many miracles performed by Jesus which were not recorded in the gospel. But He had specially chosen 7 for us to read. He did that so that we can believe that Jesus is indeed the Christ and we can have life through his name.

So far we have taken a look at his first miracle

1. Jesus turning water into wine (Part 1, Part 2)
2. Jesus Healing The Nobleman’s son (Part 3, Part 4)
3. Jesus Healing By The Pool Of Bethesda (Part 5, Part 6)

Let us continue the study by looking at the 4th Miracle

5 Loaves And 2 Fishes

I once came across a song about it.

 

“There is a lad here who has five barley
  loaves and two small fish, but what are
  they among so many?”- Andrew (Jn 6:9)

  … ….

“Therefore they gathered them up, and
  filled twelve baskets with the fragments
  of the five barley loaves which were left
  over by those who had eaten.  Then those
  men, when they had seen the sign that
  Jesus did, said, “This is truly the Prophet
  who is to come into the world.”- John (Jn 6:13-14)

Sometimes we wonder what good can 5 loaves of bread and 2 fishes do. Over here Jesus perform a great miracle feeding 5000 with it. The 5000 people accounted for are men, so it is possible that there are 10 000 people present at that time. All of them had eaten and were filled and there are 12 baskets of fragments remaining.

Those who saw the miracles claims that he is truly a prophet. Indeed there are many prophet sent among the Israelites, but to the Jews there is one that is very special. For all the prophets sent to Israel were man, but there is one prophet who will come from God.

This prophet was spoken off by Moses and he is God coming in the form of flesh to save man.  His purpose is to establish the kingdom of God and to bring man to heaven, This special prophet is the prophet that all the other prophets prophesy about. He is called the Messiah, or in Greek “Christ” his name is Jesus.

During that time, many did not believe in him, they saw him as a son of a mere carpenter. His brothers and sisters were also among them, and many wonder “How can a child like that be a that prophet? How can he come from God?”

Jesus performed many miracles and amazed them again and again. But this time, after feeding 10 000 with 5 loaves and 2 fishes, the people believed that he is truly the prophet. They wanted to make him king  but they misunderstood Christ. They thought that the Messiah’s Kingdom will be in the world,,

They only knew Jesus through the miracles that he perform. For they know that no one could use so little to feed so many and they knew it is certainly not a magic trick. Jesus did the miracle to display his power of God for he is able to feed 10 000 with 5 loaves and 2 fishes.

An Answer To Skeptics Who Called This A Story Of Sharing

There are skeptics who claim that this is not a miracle. They claims that at that time everyone is hungry, and many brought food with them. They did not dare to eat it for no one is willing to share.

When the disciples came asking for food, the boy generously open and share is food. His selfless act touched everyone who then took out their food to share with their neighbour. they claim that it is a story of love, and it is something we can all learn from. But by saying this they discredited the miracle, accusing the disciples for making this story into a myth.

But such explanation fail to account for the 12 basket of fragments remaining. At the same time, there were at least 5000 men who were present during the miracle, they were alive when the story was spread. Why then did no one had the moral courage to refute the miracle?

They were unable to refute for they all knew that Jesus performed that miracle and he is the Christ, they knew him as God manifested in the flesh to give eternal life to anyone who believe

An Answer To Skeptics Asking  “Why Are There So Many Hungry Christians?”

But yet there are still scoffers who will pass comments like this “Since Jesus is so good, that will mean we will not hunger again. For Jesus can provide bread for us and we never had to work again. Why then are there so many hungry Christians in this world?”

But as Christians we ought to be able to answer this skeptics. But how would we approach it?

Yes if Jesus is willing, he can provide us bread and we do not need to work. This miracle happened before, that happen when Israel left Egypt, they were without food. They had finish all the food they brought out of Egypt, and God rained Manna from heaven. He did it for 40 years in the wilderness. This is a miracle that many Jews know today.

If God is willing he is able to perform this miracle just as he did thousand of years ago. But as Christian we ought to ask ourselves “Why then did Jesus not do it now?”

This is the same question asked by the Jews during the time of Jesus

“What sign will You perform then,
   that we may see it and believe You?
   What work will You do?  Our fathers
   ate the manna in the desert; as it is
   written, ‘He gave them bread from
   heaven to eat.’”- Followers of Christ (Jn 6:30-31)

Interestingly they just saw Jesus feeding 10 000 with 5 loaves and 2 fishes, why then did they ask Jesus to perform a sign so that they will believe him? They quoted the experience of their forefather in the wilderness who ate manna for 40 years.

Jesus perform this miracle once, for one meal only, yet the truth is, God fed their ancestors for 40 years in the wilderness. But Jesus gave them a reply that they were not to happy with

“Most assuredly, I say to you,
  you seek Me, not because you
  saw the signs, but because you
  ate of the loaves and were filled.” – Jesus (Jn 6:26-27)

These people came to Jesus as if they were seeking him with zeal, it appears as if they believe in him and they wanted to follow him all the way. But they came to Jesus not for his signs or for eternal life. They saw the miracles of Jesus and knew that they can receive physical benefits from them.

But Jesus did not perform those miracles to tell others that he can bring material benefits. He did them so that they will know that he is the messiah and the could give them eternal life.

Sadly these people are not interested in  eternal life and salvation. They are only interested in the physical benefits, the fact that he can heal the sick, cast our demon and give bread to the hungry.

That is why Jesus reminded them not to labour for food that perish.  He wanted to correct their perception, he wanted them to know that he did not come to the world to give physical benefits. He wanted to give eternal life to them. That is the very reason why Jesus perform the miracles in the first place.

The Purpose For Miracles

Indeed there are many blind men in Israel but not all had their eyes open by Jesus. There are many lepers in Israel during the time of Christ, but how many recieved healing from Jesus? Jesus can feed the hungry, he performed the miracle twice. Throughout his years of ministry, he raised 3 from then dead.

That is not because God is without power, but his purpose of doing them is allow others to see that he is the Christ and to come to him for eternal life.

Jesus had the power to overthrow the Roman empire, but he choose not to. The Israelites wanted him to be king, they wanted the Messiah to drive the Romans out of the land of Judea. They wanted to be free from bondage, labour and taxes. ‘

But Jesus did not come to establish the kingdom of God on earth, indeed he came to establish a kingdom of God, but that kingdom is meant to provide salvation to the people.

But this disappointed the Jews who were in great opposition. We do not deny that slavery is a terrible practice, immoral and depressing but the purpose of Jesus is not to overthrow systems and to improve the physical lives of the people. He is not here to create heaven on earth he is here to establish a kingdom. Through the Kingdom that he establish, he could grant eternal life to those who believe. That is why he performed miracles.

The Reason For The Raining Of Manna

That is also the reason why God rained Manna for 40 years in the wilderness.

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes
  in Me has everlasting life.  I am the bread of life. 
  Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness,
  and are dead. This is the bread which comes
  down from heaven, that one may eat of it and
  not die.  I am the living bread which came down
  from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will
  live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My
  flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.” – Jesus (Jn 6:47-51)

Jesus responded to their challenge by telling them that anyone who believes in him will have eternal life. He is the bread of life and if one were to eat of this bread, he can have eternal life.

Jesus told them that their ancestors ate manna and died, the raining of manna is a great miracle, but why did God give Manna to Israel what is his purpose? Was it done solely for the purpose of handing out free food or was it done to demonstrate his power and his love?

If God only gave manna for the sake of free food then this miracle would have no significance. For those who ate the Manna died eventually, many of them died in the 40 years in the wilderness.

God did it to tell the world that he had the ability to give us the bread of life. He wanted us to live forever by accepting this bread of life.

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