Start your year on sure footing, Gospel of Matthew, Day 27 of 58
16Jesus said to them, ‘They need not go away; you give them something to eat.’
Jesus certainly fed more than 5,000 people. More than likely, it was 15,000 people, counting women and children. Jesus feds them, even in the midst of grief over the death of his cousin, John the Baptist. Jesus found the need and filled it. The five loaves and two fish have numerological meaning.
To further explain, five loaves represents humanity because the number five commonly symbolized human beings in the ancient world. For instance, five is the number of appendages, including two arms, two legs, and one head. Moreover, five is also the number of human senses: sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing. Added to these, there are Five Ages of Man in Greek mythology: the Golden Age, the Silver Age, the Bronze Age, the Age of Heroes, and the Iron Age.
In regard to the two fish, two commonly represented both union and division at the same time. For the God-man Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Son of God, we have the union of divinity and humanity for the salvation of the world. In the multiplication of fish and loaves, we have division by fractions (breaking) for multiplying the number of disciples (followers) of Jesus. Philosophically, multiplying by dividing seems like a paradox. However, it is the way of Christ that leads to salvation. To put it more simply, if we make an offering, God will multiply the blessings we receive.
In regard to the five thousand and the twelve baskets full, the five thousand represent the multitudes of humanity, and the twelve baskets full represent the fulfillment of the promise to the children of Israel through the coming of the Messiah. To summarize, through fulfillment of the covenant promise made to Israel, God will feed the world through the Christ (the Messiah).
Lastly, five loaves plus two fish equals seven items of food, one for each day of the week. Clearly, Jesus intends to send a message that he will provide for us everyday of our lives. In my personal estimation, some of the ways that God reveals Himself to us in nature and in scripture are numbers we can overlook. We can often overlook numbers, but they are a part of the signature of God on His creation (see Dr. Grant Jeffrey, “The Signature of God”, 1996 for more on this subject).
I want to look deeper for signs of God in my everyday life. I remember the time I saw a double rainbow on the Sea of Galilee . God, I know you were smiling on our group of pilgrims. I also want to respond to the needs of people when I see a need. I want to be more compassionate like Jesus.
Dear Jesus, sometimes you send message quietly through numbers and nature. Other times, you send messages loud and clear through your words. Help me to listen clearly for your voice and to see the signs, and responds to the cry of the needy like you would. In your Holy Name I pray. Amen.