November 9, 2015

Matthew 15:33 they all ate and were satisfied. Afterward the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.

In our congregation we have been following the book We Make the Road by Walking by Brian McLaren. In this week’s readings he gave me insight into something about which I have long wondered. Earlier Jesus fed 5,000 people inside the boundaries of Israel. Here he feeds 4,000 outside of the country. Are these two versions of the same event? If not, why is this done twice? What is the relationship between the two? McLaren explains it this way: “Jesus repeats a miracle for those outsiders that he had done previously for his fellow Jews, multiplying loaves and fish so they can eat. In the previous miracle, there were twelve baskets left over, suggesting the twelve tribes of Israel- the descendants, that is, of Jacob and his twelve sons. In this miracle, there are seven baskets left over- suggesting, it seems quite clear, the seven Canaanite nations that Jesus’ ancestors had been commanded to destroy.” Just as any good writer chooses the specific details to make their point and form their verbal pictures, so do Jesus and the biblical writers. The details of the stories matter. This week, what details in your story with God stand out?

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