Loaves and Fishes

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Loaves and Fishes

Shortly after John the Baptist was beheaded, the Savior, to avoid being sought out, took his disciples to a deserted area. As usual, he was followed by a great “company” of believers. He preached and then saw there was nowhere to purchase food for the masses. Andrew, a disciple, found a boy who had only a few loaves (Jesus-bread of life)and fishes (life through atonement and salvation by Christ). In John 6:11-14 it is written that the disciples of Jesus were fed and 12 baskets were left over from five barley loaves. Luke 9:13-22 tells a story of five thousand men who were fed 5 loaves and 2 fishes and 12 baskets were left over. Mark 6:37-43 agrees with this accounting but in verses 8:5-9 he tells of the 7 loaves and “a few small fishes” feeding four thousand men with 7 baskets of food remaining. Matthew 14:16-21 agrees and adds the families of the five thousand men and in verses 15:34-38 we read that 7 loaves and “a few fishes” fed four thousand men, “beside women and children”.

Clearly, though the writers’ accounting differs somewhat, this is the story of a miracle, for without divine help food cannot of itself increase in quantity. Does logic allow us to believe that a multitude can be fed with only enough sustenance for a mere few mouths? What was Jesus’ intent? Was it, as the Jews said, proof of a prophet coming among them, or much more? I believe that logic is justifiable from an inner viewpoint of spiritual consciousness and will always validate reason when reason is correct. Once we know that Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God, we can learn from this parable that sometimes God in His wisdom uses small things to accomplish something very important.

John relates that Jesus told the multitude the following day that they sought him again because they’d eaten and were filled. He tells them in essence that religious faith will fill them and is available to all, learned and unlearned. “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him who he has sent.” Jn 6:29 KJV. Don’t seek for miracles, he counseled, but seek for the Father who gives the “true bread of heaven” Jn 6:32. Christians know this “bread” to be living faith in Jesus Christ: “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me shall never hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst.” Jn 6:35. KJV.

We know the world is filled with hungry souls who die alone and lost – when the very bread of life – living, growing faith, is within them. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland observed: “During the Savior’s Galilean ministry, He chided those who had heard of Him feeding the 5,000 with only five barley loaves and two fishes, and now flocked to Him expecting a free lunch. That food, important as it was, was incidental to the real nourishment He was trying to give them” (Conference Report, Oct. 1997, 87; or Ensign, Nov. 1997, 65).

We are asked not only to believe in Jesus but to believe with him in the love of the god of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to believe as he believed, that faith is the entrance to the Kingdom where we may obtain eternal life with Deity and family, obtaining blessings beyond our current comprehension. When we enter into that covenant with the Godhead and magnify our callings, giving the little we have for the greater good, miracles are accomplished. LDS apostle James E. Faust once said of the many stakes and auxiliaries in the Church: “Many nameless people with gifts equal only to five loaves and two small fishes magnify their callings and serve without attention or recognition, feeding literally thousands. … “ Ensign, May 1994

This is a parable of faith, of covenantal promise: the open door to the present, perfect, eternal love of God.

Posted by Marlena Tanya Muchnick Labels: Loaves and fishes


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