It’s that time of the year again, when our gardens are starting to burst forth with the delicious vegetable called zucchini. I received five of these specimens from my local CSA and pored over the recipe books for just the right dish. After looking at recipe after recipe I finally decided upon zucchini bread.
Oh, how I love this delicious brown bread with the delightful little green flecks inside. I decided to make two loaves because I thought making one was just a waste of time. I was sure that with my family we would probably consume one loaf easily and be wanting for more.
I predicted correctly, however, it was not my family gorging on zucchini bread, it was just me. My family took one look at a slice of this bread with a, “What’s the green stuff” look on their face. I then thought, “Oh well, more for me”.
As I carefully buttered each piece of bread before consuming it I thought, “It would have been nice if the disciples would have had some zucchini bread along with them when they fed the 5,000 or was that the 4,000?
There has always been some question in my mind as to the feeding miracles found in the Bible. Were there actually two different miracles as recorded in Matthew and Mark or did the gospel writers just get their facts wrong?
I have heard pastors preach of the feeding of the 5,000 probably 5,000 times over the years but never have I heard them preach about the feeding of the 4,000. Is this done for a reason? Is the feeding of the 4,000 thought to be a lesser miracle?
As I ponder these questions I slice off and butter yet another slice of bread.
The feeding of the 5,000 is mentioned in all four gospels so it must be a very important story. The feeding of the 4,000 is mentioned only in Matthew and Mark.
I find myself fact checking the feeding of the 5,000 and the feeding of the 4,000 as recorded at Bible.org.
I found that there are definite differences in the two miracles. In the feeding of the 5,000 the gospel writers record the people as sitting on the grass. In the feeding of the 4,000, the people sit on the ground. In the feeding of the 5,000, Jesus teaches the Jews. In the feeding of the 4,000, Jesus teaches the Gentiles. In the feeding of the 5,000, there are five loaves and two fish. In the feeding of the 4,000 there are seven loaves and a few fish. In the feeding of the 5,000, twelve baskets remain after everyone is fed. In the feeding of the 4,000, seven baskets remain.
So, as I brush zucchini bread crumbs from the keyboard of my computer and read the interpretation of the Bible.org post, I conclude that there must have been two different feeding miracles. Each intended to teach about faith but with a second feeding miracle added it also teaches about Jesus being offered for all, not just some.
As I do some further investigation I find that Jesus does indeed include all men when he speaks of salvation. John 1:7 NIV says, “He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe”. Matthew 20:28 NIV says, “just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many“. And of course, the ultimate Bible verse, John 3:16 NIV says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
By this time I alone have consumed most of the first loaf of zucchini bread. I contemplate the consequences of this act. As I sigh and say, “Never again” I am stuffed to the gills with this delicious bread. At the same time I am also filled with the knowledge and grace that is our Lord Jesus Christ that he offers to all. At this I sigh and think, “Isn’t it wonderful to be filled?”