Mark 6:41 “And Jesus took five loaves and the two fish, and looking up toward heaven, He blessed the food and broke the loaves and He kept giving them to the disciples to set before the crowd of 5,000; and He also divided up the two fish among all.”
Here it is, by the numbers.
5 – the # of loaves;
2 – the # of fish;
5,000 – the # of men who were fed;
12 – the # of baskets of leftovers;
1 – the # of people who believed this was possible!
The feeding of the 5,000 was surely a memorable day for the disciples, though later that night — out on the Sea of Galilee — they seemed to have forgotten the miraculous power of Christ. Painfully typical, for us all.
But it’s verse 41 (above) that quietly introduces a pattern in Jesus’ ministry, and perhaps a pattern for our own lives.
Jesus took the food, blessed it, broke it, and gave it. It’s formulaic. Jesus would do the same thing repeatedly, right up until the Last Supper.
Take. Bless. Break. Give. Various scholars have noted the Gospel-pattern over the years. Always in the same order.
Henri Nouwen was the first to help me think of it in terms of our own lives. Is this not what the Father desires to do with us all? The broken bread becomes a symbol.
Christ takes us (chooses us), blesses us (calls us the beloved children of God), breaks us (of our old nature, willfulness, selfishness, and sin), then gives us to serve the multitudes in the world around us. And in the process, He frequently performs a miracle.
The time-lag between blessing and breaking is all that slows down the miracle. It’s the time between justification and sanctification; the time between salvation and transformation; the time between my “Yes” to Christ and my full surrender to the Holy Spirit.
But when bless moves into break then give becomes possible, and miracles abound.
On this 16th day of Lent, be assured that you have been taken and blessed. Have you yet been broken and given? A starving world awaits.