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Jesus' Miracles - The Loaves And The Fish
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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