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Jesus' Miracles - The Loaves And The Fish

Updated on July 15, 2011
"Loaves And Fishes" by Chelle Fazal
"Loaves And Fishes" by Chelle Fazal

Twice it is recorded that Jesus fed the multitude when they were hungry. He fed them with bread and fish and from a little, He brought forth a lot. As a matter of fact, in both cases, Jesus' miracles brought about such an abundance of food, that the remainder was gathered in baskets.

In the first instance the multitude was hungry, and from five loaves and two fishes Jesus was able to feed five thousand men. The Bible states that the number fed did not include women and children. (See Matthew Chapter 14) The people ate until they were satisfied and still there remained from those five loaves and two fishes, twelve baskets full.

Concerning the second instance, Jesus took seven loaves and a few fishes, gave thanks to God His Father for them and again was able to multiply that amount of food to a number great enough to feed a crowd of four thousand men, again not including women and children. (See Matthew Chapter 15) This time the left-overs filled seven baskets full.

These two miracles were done, as was everything in Jesus' earthly ministry, with a purpose. Jesus spoke to the disciples about its meaning afterwards in Chapter 16 of Matthew. This is the place where Jesus warns His disciples to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees. At first the disciples thought that He was speaking to them about literal bread because they had forgotten to bring some for their trip but then they realized that He was warning them about the teachings that the Pharisees teach.

The Meaning of The Remnant

But what about the remnant? Why didn't Jesus produce the exact amount of bread and fish for the multitude? He knows all, so it is obvious that He knew the number of people there in His midst and the serving that would fill their stomachs. Why such an abundance left over?

I believe that these two miracles were done as a parable.

Jesus referred to Himself as, "The Bread of Life," therefore the food that was shared among the multitude would have represented Himself and His provision for His people. The people that He fed represented all that were His up to that point. But the Bible says that there were more of His people in the future. People whom He would return for and feed as well. This is why, I believe He produced left-over food. It was for those to come.

The Remnant of The Twelve

The first miracle produced twelve full leftover baskets of food. Is it a coincidence that there are twelve tribes in Israel? And that the Bible states in the Book of Revelations Chapter Seven verses 3-8, that a remnant of 12,000 from each tribe of Israel is to be saved? It is my guess that these baskets symbolized the provision for those His people, the remnant of the children of Israel. 12,000 from each of the tribes as listed: Judah, Reuben, Gad, Naphtali, Manasseh, Asher, Simeon, Levi, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, and Benjamin. (Note that the tribes of Ephraim and Dan are not mentioned, Joseph and Levi replacing their names. For more information see: The Twelve Sons Of Israel.)

The Remnant of The Seven

The twelve baskets are fairly easy to connect, twelve being a number associated with the children of Israel because of their lineage, but what of the seven? Why would there be seven baskets remaining? The reason, as I see it, has to do with the fact the Jesus came to seek and save that which was lost. His elect consist of both Jews and Gentiles. The seven baskets are for the Gentiles, namely the seven churches mentioned in The Book of Revelation Chapter One. He has made provision for them as well. The churches consist of those Gentiles who turn from their beliefs to the truth and in turn are grafted into the Vine.

Since Jesus has sent His Holy Spirit to guide and comfort Jew and Greek believers alike until His return, it was a conclusion I came to when reading it and it made sense. Perhaps I am wrong and that was not the reason for the leftover food. What I do know for certain is that He never does anything without a purpose and a plan and whether the loaves and fish do represent the remnant or not, He has promised to return and will.



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    • North Wind profile image

      North Wind 4 years ago from The World (for now)

      Hello Mia,

      There are places that God did use wind and the north wind is mentioned in the Bible.

      The east wind is mentioned the most and was used in the Book of Exodus - God used it to bring the locusts. The east wind is also mentioned in the book of Genesis, in Job, the Book of Psalms, and Hosea. In the Book of Jonah, God also used the east wind.

      He uses the south wind, according to the book of Job, to quiet the earth (Job 37:16)

      The Book of Proverbs mentions the north wind saying that it drives away the rain (Proverbs 25:23).

      In the Song of Solomon, both the north and the south winds are called upon. The book of Zechariah mentions the four winds of the heaven (north, south, east and west) .

      Out of all the winds the one you can specifically say was definitely used by God was the east wind because it was said.

      I hope this helps!

    • profile image

      Mia 4 years ago


      I enjoyed it and would like to know if you know any place in the bible where god used the north wind or the south wind or both

    • North Wind profile image

      North Wind 5 years ago from The World (for now)

      Hello E.Gordo,

      Thank you for the comment! I wondered for a while if I was alone in thinking this. I agree that the Bible is multi-layered. I think that if one could examine each layer, then perhaps, one could see a piece of the mind of God but one would have to have the mind of God in order to do that in the first place. The Lord's words, each letter, is filled with truth.

    • profile image

      E. Gordo 5 years ago

      I came up with this conclusion a few days ago. I'm glad to see someone else thought of this too. It makes sense that the loaves represent the Bread of Life and that the remnants of the loaves are for the 12 tribes of Israel and the 7 churches/Gentiles. I wouldn't have known of this if I hadn't read the entire Bible recently.... and I like to point out the part when Jesus' ask (paraphrasing) why don't you remember? and hearing, they hear not. This book is multi-layered. It's almost like a personalized message to each us....

    • North Wind profile image

      North Wind 6 years ago from The World (for now)

      Thank you for reading, Cheerfulnuts! As I said, I just wondered about the remnant and the reason He would make it so there was a remnant. He always has a reason. Thanks again for reading and commenting!

    • cheerfulnuts profile image

      cheerfulnuts 6 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      North Wind, I have read about Jesus' miracles several times, but I haven't given much thought about the leftover foods. Thanks for sharing your beautiful insight.:D

    • North Wind profile image

      North Wind 6 years ago from The World (for now)

      Hello, you are right it could point ot the abundance of God's blessings. And yes, God does honor our giving as well. Thank you for your comment and God bless you!

    • profile image 6 years ago from upstate, NY

      I believe the left overs point to an abundant God, He doesn't just give us the bear minimum, he is the God of abundance. The scripture says in John 10:10 "I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly."

      I belief God also will honor our giving, the scripture says in 2 cor 9:10 "Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness"