22nd June 2008, mgh
This Article: (8 Pages)
4) Miracle of Feeding the Thousands
Every day, world-wide, a miracle occurs with the baking of bread. From grains, which are ground, man for thousands of years has been able to produce bread, which process itself is inexplicable. People know how to bake bread but who can explain why it is produced? There are many chemical reactions which we accept without question, because they seem so natural.
In the Bible, the feeding of the four and five thousand with just a few loaves of bread is regarded as a miracle. The following account is given in the gospel of Luke.
And when the day began to wear away, then came the twelve, and said unto him, Send the multitude away, that they may go into the towns and country round about, and lodge, and get victuals: for we are here in a desert place. But he said unto them, "Give ye them to eat." And they said, We have no more but five loaves and two fishes; except we should go and buy meat for all this people. For they were about five thousand men.
And he said to his disciples, "Make them sit down by fifties in a company. " And they did so, and made them all sit down. Then he took the five loaves and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed them, and brake, and gave to the disciples to set before the multitude. And they did eat, and were all filled: and there was taken up of fragments that remained to them twelve baskets. (Luke 12: 12-17)
The original five loaves were ordinary bread, which had to have undergone the slow manufacturing process, which would not amaze us nor would we regard it as a miracle. In the bread that was produced in the process of feeding the multitude, the product was the same, but the process would have been fast and beyond the capabilities of man, which was a demonstration of God's power to the people of that age. The observant person would have recognised also that Jesus was the Messiah of Israel, through whom God was working.
In relation to the bread in this miracle, the product that was produced was recognisable, and, in day to day life bread is accepted as natural and not considered a miracle. The difference is in the process by which it was made and this is what is beyond our comprehension and our limited powers.
This could be compared to food that is cooked over the coals, the conventional oven and the microwave oven. The outcome in each case is similar, but the time taken to achieve the end result is substantially different. This miracle of feeding the multitude with a few loaves of bread could be described as a higher form of the work we see performed every day in our natural world.