Jesus, the 12, the 5000, and the Eucharist

Luke (Understanding the Bible Commentary Series) by Craig A. Evans

This story teaches that Jesus is more than sufficient to meet every need, even the needs of a large crowd. Whereas the disciples had received authority and power and therefore could do many of the things that Jesus had done, the power of Jesus, nevertheless, far overshadowed their own. Just as God provided bread for the wandering Israelites (Exod. 16:1–36) and to one hundred men in the days of Elisha (2 Kings 4:42–44) so Jesus, in an even mightier way, is able to feed a multitude. Although it is not certain that Jesus himself may have intended such a meaning to be attached to the feeding of the 5,000, it is quite possible that for Luke and his readers this miracle foreshadowed the institution of the Lord’s Supper (Luke 22:14–23). This can be seen most clearly in the words found in v. 16: Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke them.

Then he gave them to the disciples to set before the people. These words are quite similar to those found in Luke 22:19: “And he took some bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them [the disciples]” (see also 1 Cor. 11:23–24). Moreover, the eucharistic-like discourse that follows John’s account of the feeding of the 5,000 (John 6:30–58) would suggest clearly that at least in one segment of the early church the miracle had been related to the Lord’s Supper.

© 2012, Rick Hogaboam. All rights reserved.

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