Monday, March 19, 2012


5 Barley Loaves
William F. Cody
Breakfast is my favorite meal, but I really enjoy pot-luck meals, especially at work. Once a month our office has a departmental breakfast. We all look forward to this, and it seems that having a meal together brings out the best in everyone. But you know, that feeling lasts until the food is eaten and then back to our cubicles we go. What is it about food that brings out the best in a person, maybe it makes a person more "soft",more willing to share their  heart's desires.
In John 6:… there is a record of about 5000 people having lunch on what started out as 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. I remember a teaching that explained that the “loaves” of bread were not like the fresh baked loaves we are familiar with,but they were more similar to a flat bread, possibly unleavened bread, with the texture of a cracker. The fish was more than likely salted or smoked little fishes. This is the only account where "the lad" is mentioned.
JOHN 6:4-13
4 Now the Passover, a feast of the Jews, was near.
5 Then Jesus lifted up His eyes, and seeing a great multitude coming toward Him, He said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?”
6 But this He said to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do.
7 Philip answered Him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little.”
8 One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to Him,
9 “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?”
10 Then Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand.
11 And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted.
12 So when they were filled, He said to His disciples, “Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost.”
13 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.  
There are so many teaching opportunities here, but I wanted to focus on the "lad". Who was this lad that of all the people in that large group, even the disciples, had the good sense to pack a lunch. I looked for him in other scriptures. What compelled this young boy to give up his lunch to Jesus?
During Jesus time on earth, people would often compare him to some of the great prophets of old, such as Elisha. The Bible Dictionary describes Elisha's name as meaning "God of Salvation" or "God shall save". He  is famously known for saving the life of a widow and her son during a famine by multiplying her cache of oil. In 2 Kings 4, Elisha finds himself in a similar situation as Jesus and his disciples,and he is require to feed 100 men
2Kings 4:43-44
2 Then a man came from Baal Shalisha, and brought the man of God bread of the first fruits, twenty loaves of barley bread, and newly ripened grain in his knapsack. And he said, “Give it to the people, that they may eat.”
43 But his servant said, “What? Shall I set this before one hundred men?”
He said again, “Give it to the people, that they may eat; for thus says the LORD: ‘They shall eat and have some left over.’”
44 So he set it before them; and they ate and had some left over, according to the word of the LORD.
Have you ever had to share your lunch or any meal with anyone? Were you happy to do it? After the 5000 had been fed, Jesus commanded the disciples to gather up the leftovers. There was enough left to provide "doggy bags" for everyone, even 12 baskets of food for each disciple.
He said to them:
John 6:32-35
32 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.
33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.
34 And  then they said unto him,Lord evermore give us this bread,
35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life, he that cometh unto me shall never hunger, and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.
So back to that young boy who gave up his lunch? Why did the gospel of John make note of him, but the others do not. I am impressed to believe that he represents us, you and me. He was an eyewitness to a phenomenal miracle.Was he there with his parents?He believed that Jesus was the Savior. Can you imagine his testimony? He trusted that what Jesus said was true, he trusted that if he offered his small lunch,that he would be blessed in return. And he was.
So today's challenge is to share your lunch with someone, to break bread, today and as often as there is an opportunity to do so.
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