Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Yeshua Feeds Thousands and Thousands
Nothing is in scripture by accident.
Did you ever wonder why Yeshua fed 5000 people, and then shortly thereafter, fed the 4000? Matthew, Mark and Luke all record the 5000. Matthew and Mark both record the 4000.
God's numbers mean something. Always. I've said that my favorite number is seven - it happens so many times in scripture and it represents completeness. But what can we learn from these giant Catering-By-Yeshua events?
The feeding of the 5000 took place near Bethsaida, to an all-Jewish crowd. The number 5 represents God's grace and mercy, which He poured out first on the Jewish people. The number five can also represent the Pentateuch - the first five books of scripture. Yeshua, our Bread of Life, is transforming the Mosaic Law into something much bigger, greater, and more nourishing. After the meal, there were twelve baskets left over. Twelve is a very Jewish number! Twelve tribes of Israel. Twelve apostles.
The Greek word used for basket here is kophinos, which was a small, personal-sized basket that was used by the Israelites. The Jewish people observed cleanliness laws carefully, and large community baskets were out of the question.
Fast forward to the second Great Catered Event. Yeshua had just been to Tyre and Sidon and was traveling in the Decapolis - in other words, He had a very Gentile audience. He had just "thrown the crumbs to the dogs," so to speak, when he healed the Gentile woman's daughter who had been demon-possessed.
When He fed the 4000, He was foreshadowing the salvation of the world. The number four represents the four corners of the earth, symbolizing all of creation. Seven baskets: seven represents completeness, His plan of salvation for all of mankind.
Even the Greek word for basket is different: spuris. This type of basket is huge! Picture an Indiana Jones movie - when Indy runs from his enemies, this would be a basket he could hide in and put the cover on it.
In the same way, the grace and mercy of the Lord will be (and is being) poured out abundantly on the entire world.
But notice the order: First to the Jew, and then to the Gentile.
Romans 1:16 says, For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek (or Gentile - the word helene actually means anyone "Hellenized," or a non-Jew).
God's order of things has not changed. Pray for opportunities to be a blessing and a witness to your Jewish friends. If you don't have any, pray for some! Bless Israel and pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6).
By the way, are you interested in Biblical symbolism? Here is a great website if you'd like to look into these things further: