At school, grade 3, I loved to play hooky. To me, it was more interesting to watch how the huge bakery, across the street from home, made bread.
I had successfully concocted a tall story and the old baker fell for it. He let me follow him around as he loaded the big mixing bowls with tons of flour, kneaded the dough with huge rollers, punched out wads that loaded into masses of rectangular tins which in turn moved onto a conveyor belt that loaded the huge ovens. And out the other side popped hot bread. Once cooled, the loaves were dropped into the slicers, automatically bagged and the twistie sealed the deal. Loved the smell. Loved the taste of fresh bread.
Until my dad spotted me…. and therein lies another story…
So what is the fascination with bread? There is a well known story of another little boy:
When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do. Philip answered him, “It would take almost a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish. When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.
A miracle! 2 fish, 5 loaves, 5000 fed.Interesting numbers. But what intrigues me is that all the fish was consumed but 12 baskets of leftover bread was gathered. Why 12?
There have been plenty of studies on the interesting correlation between numbers in the Bible. And there is some agreement as to what they represent. The bigger the number the more significant the representation. For example, 5 represents Grace and 5000 is a significant demonstration of Grace.
Grace means favour. But what kind of favour, for favour is of many kinds. Favour shown to the miserable, we call mercy; favour shown to the poor, we call pity; favour shown to the suffering, we call compassion; favour shown to the obstinate, we call patience: but favour shown to the unworthy, we call GRACE! This is favour indeed; favour which is truly Divine in its source and in its character.
Back to Twelve. 12 is a perfect number, signifying perfection of government, or of governmental perfection. It is found as a multiple in all that has to do with rule. The sun which “rules” the day, and the moon and stars which “govern” the night, do so by their passage through the twelve signs of the Zodiac which completes the great circle of the heavens of 360 (12 x 30) degrees or divisions, and thus govern the year.
So, 12 baskets of bread left over. Why just the bread… what was so significant about the bread? A little further on we see:
Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.” Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”
Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”
So they asked him, “What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'” Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” “Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.”
Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
Then we see another slice to the mystery when Jesus reaffirms that:
I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which people may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”
Still, 12 baskets of bread were left over.
Jesus goes on and teaches all the disciples a hard teaching.
On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”
Jesus presses the point, and:
From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.” Then Jesus replied, “Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? …
And 12 disciples were left over.
Before Jesus was crucified, he had the last supper with these 12 disciples. During supper:
Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God;
And what was going to be left were 12 disciples. He gets up and washes their feet, then:
When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
For Jesus had to go to the Cross for all mankind. 12 disciples were to be left behind.
Jesus demonstrates His Grace by leaving the12 Disciples behind… for us… for me… for you.
I love bread. But I really love the Bread of Life.