I like to read daily devotionals. Here, in prison, they are readily available. I see a great number of people reading them. One I read is Daily Bread and a second is Living Faith which is Catholic based.
In Living Faith I recently read a devotional that suggested reading, and contemplating, Christ’s miracles though His eyes; doing so would bring a new perspective claimed the write of that day’s devotional. Coincidentally, I was reading about Jesus’ miracle of the loaves and fishes (Mat 15:32-38) and I decided to give looking at that miracle though Jesus’ eyes a try.
I asked myself ‘How could I ever claim to know them mind of God?’ I couldn’t but I could attempt to know the human part of Jesus’ mind, right? After all, Jesus was God and man in one person so He must have had human thoughts and relations to the situation. Perhaps, I could tap into these thoughts and reactions and create in me a new perspective and/or a new understanding.
In (Mat 15:32-38) we read that Jesus had compassion for the thousands who had come to Him because they had been with Him there days and had nothing to eat. So Jesus called His disciples to Him and instructed them to feed the people. At this point the disciples explained there was little food left to eat, “seven loaves and a few little fish.”
How did Jesus look at this problem and how did He look at the disciples? Were it me, I’d feel some level of frustration with the disciples because they should have relied upon their faith to provide all the food necessary but instead they turned to Jesus with some expectation that either He would solve the problem or send the people away hungry. Jesus didn’t hesitate to call upon His faith in His Father and He gave thanks for the bread and fish and told the disciples to distribute the food. And all went away filled leaving seven baskets full of leftover fragments.
I think the man part of Jesus would have reacted with disappointment that so little food was available. I also think He would have had some level of frustration with the disciples because He had shown multiple times that all was possible through faith. Jesus must have thought, “Why haven’t they learned to exercise their faith?” Matthew doesn’t record any of Jesus’ reactions, only His action which was to do what He wanted man to do. He behaved in a human way; He took the loaves and fish, gave thanks and broke the food. This was what He expected man to do. He acted as a man. In so doing He gave the disciples another lesson.
So what new perspectives did I gain? That in every miracle Jesus behaved as He wanted man to behave even to the point of physical demonstration. I also learned that life’s obstacles were meant to test our faith and through faith we can overcome. Another perspective was to be patient with those who aren’t as far, as mature, in their walk into becoming true Christians. And something else…
When I really thought about the lessons Jesus tried to teach the disciples in this miracle I saw an extension beyond faith in the moment; I saw faith over time. In this single miracle Jesus foretold of how the disciples would work to spread the Word of God. How?
If we look at the miracle of the loaves and fishes as an allegory for spreading the good news of the living Messiah then the disciples are the messengers, the food becomes the Word, and the multitude becomes mankind hungry for eternal life. Just as Jesus sent the disciples to fee the multitude hungry for food He would later send them to care for the spiritual hunger of tens of thousands. The miracle of the loaves and fishes was a small lesson foretelling the true mission of the disciples.
And so it is with us. We are asked to take our little bit of faith and feed those around us that don’t know Jesus as our Lord and Savior and to spread God’s Word. And in so doing our ‘baskets’ will never go empty and in fact we will end up with more than when we started.
After trying to look at this miracle as if I were Jesus I can honestly say I do indeed have a new appreciation for His way of preparing the disciples for their future role and I will now attempt to look at other miracles in the same way.
Won’t you join me?