And taking the five loaves and the two fish he looked up to heaven and said a blessing and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the people. And he divided the two fish among them all. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men. | Mark 6:41-44
What if you were there when this happened? Not as one of the crowd, but as one of Jesus’ disciples. What if you witnessed Jesus feeding more than 5,000 people with five loaves and two fish? Do you think it would change you? Do you think it would alter your perspective at all? Do you think it would influence your perception of God?
Sometimes, I think that if I had walked on the dry ground with the Israelites after the parting of the Red Sea, if I had seen the pillar of fire and the cloud of smoke, if I had experienced instantaneous healing from leprosy, if I had witnessed someone being raised from the dead – then maybe, just maybe, my faith would be stronger.
But the reality is, the Israelites still forgot about the Red Sea (Exodus 14), the nine other lepers forgot about their disintegrating limbs (Luke 17:11-19), and the disciples all forgot about how Jesus raised Jairus’s daughter back to life (Mark 5:35-43). Do I really think I would be any different?
When God created us, He knew we would be a forgetful people. He knew we would keep forgetting despite all the miracles, healing, and answered prayers. Just stay here and think about this for a little bit. Think about how much WE get annoyed when the people in our lives forget the seemingly big things (but actually small when compared to all that Christ has done for us) we do.
Now think about how God sent His own Son, Jesus Christ, for the sole purpose of dying the cruelest death imaginable to this forgetful people – in place of this forgetful people. This blows my mind. When He created us, He knew we’d be forgetful. And we kept proving just how forgetful we were, as evidenced by the Israelites and the disciples themselves. But He loved us anyways. The Father sacrificed His Son anyways. Jesus was tortured by us, for us anyways. He hung on a tree anyways. Even though we would forget.
In the middle of the most massive miracle ever performed on earth, Jesus stops and takes a few actions that He later repeats towards the end of His ministry:
And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” | Luke 22:19
Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” | Matthew 26:26
And as they were eating, he took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” | Mark 14:22
Does Mark 6:41-44 sound familiar now?
Jesus broke the loaves of bread and gave them to the people. He divided the fish amongst the 5,000. The people ate and were satisfied. And there was plenty left over! This is the way God works. He fully meets needs. He exceeds our expectations. He more than compensates for any and all shortcomings, weaknesses, and failures. This is true when it comes to our poor memories too.
He knows we are a forgetful people. Each generation is no better than the one before it. We all forget. And so to help us with our memory loss, Jesus instituted a way for us to remember that which is of utmost importance on a regular basis. How? Through the breaking of bread.
Just as He broke the loaves of bread before the 5,000 and provided food for all, Christ’s body was given for us, broken for us – not just for a mere 5,000, but for millions, billions, for every single human. Just as the people were satisfied then, we too find complete satisfaction. The difference: they found their satisfaction in the food that was set before them and we find our satisfaction in Christ, the Bread of Life, the Living Water, who went before us, took our cross, suffered our shame, and died in our place. We find our satisfaction in the power of His resurrection, in His victory over sin and death and hell, in the eternal Hope we have in Him!
Just as there was plenty left over then, there is room for many more to enter into the family of God. There is room for more brothers and sisters in the faith. There is plenty of love left in Christ for those who have yet to know Him! There is plenty of mercy, grace, forgiveness left for those who have not yet heard His name! Beloved, know this, believe this:
He will never run dry!
Just as Jesus fully met the needs of the 5,000 that day, He has fully, wholly met ours through the complete and finished work of the cross! “It is FINISHED,” He said! Praise God that it is finished! Praise God that it is complete! Just as Christ Jesus exceeded all expectations that day with the 5,000, just as He more than compensated for the shortcomings, weaknesses, and failures of those around Him, He continues to exceed our expectations, He continues to do “far more abundantly than all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20).
What a joy, what a privilege that we get to know Him, worship Him, remember Him! May we not only remember Him on Sunday mornings, on Wednesdays nights, during VBS and Bible study. But may we remember Him every second, every minute, giving glory to Him for who He is, for all that He has done, for His current working in our lives, and for all that He has in store.
Glory, glory, in the highest, be to our God and King! Father, if we remember nothing else in this life, may we always remember You. If we forget everything of this life, may we never forget You.