I was rummaging through a container full of baskets for sale at a craft store recently. I was looking for a large basket to go with one I already have which I use in my ministry. Unfortunately, they didn’t have what I was looking for so I went away empty handed.
Somewhere along the way, an old song popped into my head. “A tisket, a tasket, a green and yellow basket, I wrote a letter to my love, and on my way I dropped it.”
Okay, so I’m a little strange… That’s all I knew of the song, so I repeated the first line a couple of times until I had to chuckle at my own silliness.
Today, I was reading the Scriptures in the chronological Bible about Jesus feeding the 4000. When reading that particular publication, you read the same story in all four gospels one after the other. In this case there were only two gospel accounts. But, it’s very interesting to see how the different authors saw the incident through slightly different eyes.
After reading Matthew 15 and Mark 8, I happened to notice something jump out at me. The disciples picked up baskets full of leftovers. I’ve read that story so many times, but this time, I began to wonder where they got the baskets.
In the accounts of Jesus feeding the 5000, I had previously noticed that the disciples picked up twelve baskets of leftovers and had thought to myself ‘that meant the Lord had supernaturally provided not only for all those people, but had provided a full basket for each of the twelve.’ That’s pretty good pay for simply helping the Master minister to the people.
But I still wondered my question about where the baskets came from in both sets of miracle feeding stories.
As I pondered, I re-read the accounts. In the second miracle, the crowds had followed Jesus for three days. He had compassion on them and that prompted the supernatural provision. These people had come bringing the sick to be healed.
In order to find out where the baskets had come from, I put myself into the scene imagining having left home for three days. I don’t know about you, but when I do that, I take a decent sized suitcase. And that’s without any consideration about food because there are ATMs and restaurants everywhere.
In Jesus’ day, people would not have worried about a change of clothes or personal care items like we do. They would have focused on bringing food and water. Even the most spontaneous among them would have had some provisions.
So, maybe the people had brought baskets with them, that, after three days, were empty. Some of them had some left overs; seven loaves and the few fish that Jesus multiplied, but for most of them, by this time, they were carrying empty baskets.
This thought about the people staying with Jesus while He wandered from village to village for three days made me realize a truth I feel the Lord wants us to see today.
There are so many good lessons we could learn here. Be prepared; stay with Jesus no matter where He goes; willingly share what little you may have with others; have faith for Him to heal those you love, etc.
Any one of those is worth our time to learn. But what I saw from today’s reading is that the people continued to come to Jesus even after their provision had run out. This signaled a faith within them that believed He could provide.
This tells me they were hungry. Jesus not only saw their physical hunger and had compassion on them, but He saw the spiritual hunger. They longed for something only He could give. Yes, many did come just to participate in the miracles. Maybe their focus was off. But He saw through to the hearts to their true needs.
I believe what the Lord wants us to learn today is that He searches the hearts of those who follow Him to see if they are hungry for what He has. He alone is the bread of life. He alone can fill the spiritual hunger within us.
His desire is that we come to Him with our hunger and offer that emptiness to Him so He can satisfy us. We have to recognize that no one else is capable of meeting our deepest needs.
We had a speaker at our church this weekend who talked about asking ourselves the question “Is God enough?” I challenge each of you to ask yourself that question. Do you have the faith to believe that if you had absolutely nothing, He would be enough to satisfy you.
The crowds who followed Jesus were given a supernatural show of God’s mighty power. They were treated to a fully satisfying physical meal. But some must not have expected more, because some of them left behind some empty baskets.
The disciples picked up seven baskets full on this last occasion. Perhaps seven people believed God would again provide for Jesus’ servants and willingly donated their baskets. We may never know how they got the baskets. But what we can know is that the Lord never wastes anything.
If we come to Him hungry, He will satisfy us. If we come to Him empty, He will fill us. If we leave behind our own means of provision, void of substance, He will take it up and use it to advance the Kingdom.
My prayer for you today is that you will come before your Messiah, your Savior, and ask Him to fill you up with Himself. If you do, I know He will meet you at your point of need and He will fill you when you come, even if you are only carrying empty baskets.
Psalm 107:9 “For He has satisfied the thirsty soul, and the hungry soul He has filled with what is good.”
John 6:32-33 “Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.” “
Matthew 5:6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”
Always in Jesus,
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