Twelve Baskets Full

January 27, 2021

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Then He commanded the multitudes to sit down on the grass. And He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitudes. So they all ate and were filled, and they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments that remained (Matthew 14:19-20).

It is utterly deplorable the amount of good food we waste in a day. With all that is produced world-wide, there should not be a single human being lacking the food necessary to promote a healthy body. While it is only fitting we have laws to regulate the process, distribution, consumption, and disposal of food, I believe our litigious culture (which is primarily based on greed) has gone so far as to make such process, distribution, consumption, and disposal of foods sinful, even damnable.

That Jesus could take 5 small ‘loaves’ of bread and two small fish, bless them, and distribute them to feed a crowd of at least 5,000 men (at least 10,000 people total) is nothing short of a mind blowing miracle. How was it done? Scripture doesn’t say, but I’m sure it was along the order of the miracle of turning water into wine at the wedding feast in Cana (John 2:1-11). Did the water become wine in the jars? In the serving vessels? In the glasses? In the mouths of those drinking the liquid? We don’t know. Did the bread and fish multiply in the hands of Jesus? In the vessels the disciples used to distribute the food? We don’t know. But that’s not important. What is important is to know that Jesus could increase that small quantity of food through His power of creation. He who created the worlds out of nothing could create bread and fish out of nothing.

John 6:12 says that Jesus directed the disciples to gather up the food fragments. We are also told that the fragments filled 12 baskets. We don’t know how large these ‘baskets’ were. They were most likely the size of a small clothes basket or ‘bushel’ basket that travelers carried their provisions in. They were used commonly by the ancient Jews in their journeys. While traveling among the Gentiles or Samaritans, a Jew could expect little hospitality, and there were no restaurants of diners for people to stop and eat. Some towns had ‘lodges’ but they seldom had food to eat. So people carried their food in baskets in their carts or ‘saddle bags’ on their donkeys. That’s why there were some at hand here. Nothing was to be lost or thrown away. 

“Waste not, want not” is a proverb that has been around for hundreds of years. It stresses the conservation of resources so that they may be used at a later time. This event in Scripture is an example of our Lord’s economy. God creates all food for our benefit. It is to be used by all and nothing is to be lost. 

“Father, forgive us for wasting our resources like we do. You have given us an abundance of resources and we waste those resources in abundance. Convict us of this sin and show us how to manage Your resources as good stewards of Your grace toward us. This to the benefit of ourselves and others, and to the glory of Jesus Christ I ask, Amen.”


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