Gathering Up the Fragments
10 Then Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. 11 And Jesus took the loaves and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted. 12 So when they were filled, He said to His disciples, “Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost.” 13 Therefore they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with fragments of the five barely loaves which were left over by those who had eaten. 14 Then those men, when they had seen the sign that Jesus did, said, “This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.”
I find it interesting that that the other three gospels, make a point of the fact that there were 12 baskets of food left over.
Let me point out something important in the Bible. The number 12 is a significant number. Jacob, had twelves son, which eventually became the 12 tribes of Israel. Jesus chose 12 disciples which became the 12 Apostles.
Some might say Paul was an apostle, which he was, but he was not part of the original twelve disciples, of with Matthias was chosen to replace Judas. These twelve made up the beginning of the Christian church, just like the twelve sons of Jacob, made up the original church of God in the Old Testament. Therefore the number 12 is representative of God’s true church, the church of the Old Testament and the apostolic church of the New Testament. Therefore, we should find it a significant fact that John makes the point of emphases, what the other gospels don’t. They made the point that were 12 baskets, of leftover food collected. John adds to this by stating that it was Christ Himself that directed that the leftover food be collected in baskets. As it says in verse twelve, “Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost.”
Jesus was making a point by having the disciples gather up the fragments. He had supplied the needs of the people without limit. In fact, they had more than they could wish for. But now, lest anyone should that that the bounteous miracle gave license to wastefulness. Instead Christ was giving us an example that just because the Lord can supply our needs beyond what we can comprehend, we have a responsibility to manage those resources wisely. We should be careful not to waste the resources he has wisely given to us.
For us today the same holds true, in our church and even in our personal lives, God has blessed us with blessings beyond our ability to comprehend. As Christ gave us an example of managing that which God has given us, we should follow that example both at church and in our personal lives.
We could also make the point that since sin has entered this world, society is in fragments. Therefore, Christ is directing the Christian church, His true church to gather up the fragments and bring them into the church.
God wishes that none would be lost, and although we often suffer the lack of faith, the same lack of faith of the disciples, Christ still uses us despite our lack of faith and feebleness to do his work.
Therefore, let us rededicate our lives to doing the work Christ has set before us. Doing it to the best of our ability and when we have done all that is humanly possible, then let God step in and do the rest.