Then He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed them, and broke them, and kept giving them to the disciples to set before the people. And they all ate and were satisfied; and the broken pieces which they had left over were picked up, twelve baskets full.Luke 9:16-17
I had an insight I would like to share with you all. I believe it is from God. I drew your attention to the fact that what was left over from the miraculous lunch was indeed more than they started with in the beginning. To reiterate so that you get the point they began with the boy’s lunch as John told us. His lunch consisted of 5 small loaves of barley bread. These were loaves of poorer quality and smaller than usual. They were a poor man’s loaf of bread. They finished up with 12 baskets [kophinos] of the left over pieces. Let me explain a little the significance of this and then I will add this concept to the other verse in focus today, following which I will share the insight I believe the Lord gave me.
The kophinos was a large basket usually carried by soldiers for their rations and equipment. They were about the size of modern bushel measure which is the equivalent of 35.24 litres. It was a significant amount of bread and fish to be put in a kophinos. There were 12 full baskets of these kophinos left over after all had had their fill. I would estimate the 5 small loaves and two fish would have fitted into a 2 litre container. Let’s even say a 4 litre container to be generous. Twelve such containers would have amounted to a capacity of 423 litres. That’s a 100 fold increase just from the pieces still left. Reminds us of the parable of the sower again doesn’t it? 30 fold, 60 fold or 100 fold increase. But this is just from the pieces left over.
Now lets explore the idea of the pieces. The Greek word is klasma, a fragment or a piece. I have heard comment about this from some who feel these are the fragments gathered up after it was all over. The idea is that the disciples went around gathering the scraps left over. I don’t hold with that thought at all. That is not what was happening here. These are whole pieces, not crumbs or half bitten leftovers. These are the pieces which came directly from Jesus when He BROKE the loaves of bread and the cooked fish and gave them out. He gave them broken pieces. Not half eaten remains from what the people had left on the ground. Furthermore, we are told in verse 9:16 that Jesus kept giving them to the disciples. It was a continual flow of food that was going out from what Jesus was doing.
I asked you in the last Gem why 12 baskets? What was the significance of there being 12 baskets? I have sat through a sermon where a man, who shall remain nameless, waxed eloquent about the gematria (or numeric significance) of the number 12 related to the baskets. His point was picking up the standard alpha numeric understanding of twelve signifying government, organization and order. I thought at the time it was nonsense. It just didn’t fit with the facts. It was forcing something on the text that really didn’t fit. I think it is simple. There were 12 disciples. Verse 16 tells us that Jesus broke bread and distributed it to the 12 disciples and furthermore He kept giving it to them. The distribution process was on-going. I think what happened was that each disciple had a kophinos and kept going back to have it refilled or maybe it was just refilled miraculously. As I pondered this early this morning it was like the Lord gave me a picture of it happening. I thought of the river that followed them from the rock in the wilderness (Gem 401). Then I thought of this incident and it was like I saw God’s provision was like a fire hose. A never ending supply to meet the needs of His people. Just like the river from the rock at Rephidim kept flowing, so too the supply of bread and fish to the gathering. The guys must have been run off their feet keeping up with it. Jesus gave it to the disciples and they set it before the people. I think they went around handing the food out.
It as like the Lord reminded me of the analogy of the hose. You turn on the water and the hose fills and overflows at the end of the process. God’s measure is always pressed down, shaken together and flowing over. The food just kept flowing. What happens when the flow stops in the hose? The water stops at the extreme end but all the water currently in the hose at the time the flow stops; it stays in the hose. So too this occurrence. The reason why there were 12 full baskets of food still left is that the flow of food stopped when the last person to be fed was satisfied. The flow stopped but the baskets were brimmed full to overflowing with the food still available at the time the Lord Jesus stopped adding food. Hence there were 12 full baskets of food left over. Each disciple still had a full basket of provision yet to be distributed. When God plans a party He goes all the way. We have been to weddings where the food for the guests ran out. We have been to weddings where the food never stopped coming. The latter is the kind of party God organizes.
Remember in Cana of Galliee, and with this incident we are still in the general area, at the wedding there the wine ran out. Oh horror of horrors. The moment any wedding host dreads. A miscalculation of the food or wine needed. But just like at Cana, when God is in the house you never have to worry. When the Bread of Life is present the bread will always be available. When the Vine is present, the wine will keep flowing. Don’t worry so much. God knows you need these things. Don’t be concerned for what you will wear and what you will eat. Your Heavenly Father will provide. The problem is we don’t believe that and we don’t trust that to happen. So we provide for ourselves, because He might not. In the act providing for ourselves, we cut ourselves off from His provision because He WON’T SHARE HIS GLORY.
I remember some years ago when we were at Bible College watching a video of testimony from somewhere in South or Central America (It was a vague recollection) where people had gone to a barrio at Christmas time to serve the poor with a Christmas dinner from the back of a truck. They were cutting up the meat to distribute it when the hordes came. The people giving testimony were telling the story initially of their shock at how many people came. Far more than ever they imagined. But then they excitedly told of how God multiplied the food that was there. One man I remember said he was sit on the top of the cab of the truck and watching them carve off slice after slice of meat for the multitudes but the meat was not diminishing at all. It just stayed the same until every one had been fed.
That is God’s provision. It is the same every time He moves to provide. The hose gushes fire department style. The 12 baskets are kept filled to overflowing. The woman in 2 Kings 4 whom Elisha told to collect vessels in which to put the oil, discovered the oil stopped with the last vessel she had collected.
Never ever doubt God’s ability to do anything and let Him blow your mind with the magnitude of His provision for you.Ian Vail
Make sure you always have enough containers around to hold the blessing of what God provides, including the container of your own heart of thankfulness.Ian Vail
Troubles to the left of us, threats on the right, danger lurking behind us and obstacles ahead; but that’s alright, there’s God above.Ian Vail
Peace is not the absence of trouble; it’s the presence of His power.Victoria Osteen
No God, know need; Know God, no need.Anon
If you attempt only things you know are possible with the resources you possess, you’ll receive the credit and God will have no part in it.Anon
What is behind you and what’s ahead of you are tiny matters compared to what is WITHIN you.Sidney Mohede