Jesus and his disciples have made their way up a mountain. A large crowd followed because they saw the signs he was doing on the sick.
Jesus saw the crowd and tested his disciples by asking them
“Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?”
He already knew what would happen. Jesus had already seen it unfolding. He knew that Philip would reply saying they didn’t have enough money to buy bread for all the people.
He knew that in a moment, Andrew would introduce a boy with five loaves and two fish. He knew that he would give thanks for the loaves and fish, and that as he gave out a loaf and as much fish as each person wanted, the supply would continue until they had eaten their fill. As someone said to me yesterday, it seems like they were whole loaves given out!
And then he says to his disciples,
“Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.”
They gather up twelve baskets of leftovers.
Can we see the significance of this act? Firstly, there are twelve baskets. That’s one for each disciple isn’t it? Except we find out a little later that there were more people considered to be disciples at that time. We know this because it says,
“After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him.”
After the others had walked away, twelve remained. The same number as the baskets collected. Perhaps these were the same twelve who collected the baskets? I would venture to say yes to that.
Perhaps there were twelve baskets because the twelve disciples were the only ones who listened to and heard Jesus instruction? Perhaps the others missed it?
You see, a disciple of Jesus listens for and hears the voice of Jesus. And responds to the instruction. “This is my Son, my chosen one. Listen to him!”
What happened to the baskets of food? There is no mention of these baskets again. I like to imagine that Jesus wanted nothing to be wasted, and that they took the baskets down from the mountain and found others who needed feeding. Even those unaware of the miracle behind this provision blessed and fed.
What can we learn from twelve baskets?
Disciples of Jesus have a responsibility to make sure that nothing of what they are given is wasted. Jesus purpose for the miracle? To reveal himself as the Bread of Life, yes, but simply to feed people. There were twelve baskets leftover to feed others with!
The Bread of Life is for feeding, not wasting.
A disciple of Jesus is someone willing to pick up the pieces others are willing to leave behind. Willing to pick up what others are willing to walk away from. Willing to carry and share the food with others for the purpose it was intended.
Willing to stay with Jesus because there is nowhere else to go!
Are we willing to pick up the pieces others have left behind?
Let’s be what Jesus intended us to be, disciples who hear his voice.
Eat the Bread, drink the Living Water. Choose to be one of those who carries a basket today!