Here’s an obscure little paragraph of a story that I find interesting buried away in the Old Testament:
“One day a man from Baal-shalishah brought the man of God a sack of fresh grain and twenty loaves of barley bread made from the first grain of his harvest. Elisha said, ‘Give it to the people so they can eat.
‘What?’ his servant exclaimed. ‘Feed a hundred people with only this?’
But Elisha repeated, ‘Give it to the people so they can eat, for this is what the Lord says: Everyone will eat, and there will even be some left over!’ And when they gave it to the people, there was plenty for all and some left over, just as the Lord had promised.”
Sound familiar? Fast forward a few chapters and several hundred years, and we see Jesus likewise feeding a crowd, the whole famous “loaves and fishes” picnic on the side of a hill.
“But Jesus said, ‘You feed them.’
‘But we have only five loaves of bread and two fish,’ they answered. ‘Or are you expecting us to go and buy enough food for this whole crowd?’ For there were about 5,000 men there…Then, breaking the loaves into pieces, he kept giving the bread and fish to the disciples so they could distribute it to the people. They all ate as much as they wanted, and afterward, the disciples picked up twelve baskets of leftovers!”
Maybe Jesus was doing more than taking care of the physical needs of the people who had come to hear Him. Considerably more.
A presage of Jesus’ miracle?
Note that Elisha had a whole lot more food to feed a lot less people. Jesus takes that miracle to an exponential level. Perhaps He was making a statement about His divinity, a clue that He is more than meets the eye (or the stomach, as it were.) Which speaks to the next point:
More than “some left overs”
Jesus’ disciples couldn’t conceive of what Jesus would possibly do in this situation. (Like me, they forgot about this Elisha story?) And I tend to do the same thing today, even though I have this promise:
“Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.”
And taking it to a (somewhat uncomfortable) step further:
Just as Elisha received a double portion of powerful anointing as promised when he watched Elijah go up to heaven, so Jesus says, “greater works shall you do because I go to My Father.” Which also means I’m supposed to watch Him, closely. All the time. In every situation.
So the real questions is, what am I serving up to those around me?
2 Kings 4:42-44; Luke 10:13-17; Ephesians 3:20 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.