Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people. He also divided the two fish among them all.
When Deep Throat was talking to Bob Woodward in the movie, All the President’s Men, he said something that has stuck with me. When describing his feelings towards newspapers and reporters, Deep Throat said,
“I hate inexactitude.”
Deep Throat is saying that he wants exact reporting of the facts. He wants precise and clear writing so people can understand what happened. What’s going on.
And most of us are just like Deep Throat. We want precise details and information so we can easily figure it out for ourselves. And if there is even a whiff of controversary or straying from the facts, people are ready to jump. And with both feet.
For example, the acclaimed Netflix series, The Crown depicts the history and lives of the royal family. And when there is the least little bit of straying from timelines, the media and the internet blow up about it.
I personally don’t get all that excited. After all, it doesn’t say that it’s a historically accurate documentary. It’s a drama. And with all great dramas, they are written and portrayed for dramatic effect. As a friend of mine one said, “Whenever you watch a docu-drama, there will always be an imbalance between the docu (documentary following of the facts) and the drama. And most of the times, the docu is sacrificed for drama, it’s altered in order to increase interest, viewership, and revenue.”
But with this story of Jesus, the writer Mark is very careful and precise with his writing. There is a sequence of steps that takes place so that we clearly see what happened. And all this is recorded for us here.
Jesus takes the loaves and the fish probably from the boy. He takes possession of what they have, he takes it from their hands and puts it into his. Only then does he look up to heaven, establishing a face-to-face connection with his heavenly Father. He then gives thanks to God. It’s interesting that this prayer of “giving thanks” is not recorded for us in detail. This leaves it for us to imagine what Jesus said. Then Jesus broke the bread.
And then it gets interesting. Jesus then starts giving broken pieces of bread to his disciples to pass out. And he keeps giving bread to his disciples. This giving keeps going on, and on, and on. This is more than just busy work, but there is a vitally important message here for us to listen to, learn, and to burn into our hearts.
The miracle took place at the hands of Jesus. It’s didn’t happen as the disciples passed out the food, or their baskets magically filled up. This is how it was portrayed in Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus holds up his hand in prayer, not looking up to heaven. The disciples walk away from Jesus with virtually empty baskets. And when they put them down, boom, they are filled with bread and fish.
This may make for more dramatic television, but not for more accurate history. It takes the power and miracle out of Jesus’ hands and impersonally puts it somewhere in the air.
The truth is that miracles with bread and fish happen at the hands of Jesus. Raising the dead happens at the hands of Jesus. Healing the blind, deaf and dumb happens at the hands of Jesus.
If you’re in need of a miracle, it happens at the hands of Jesus. And the only way this happens is when you put your life in his hands. He’s not a grabber when it comes to our lives. He doesn’t take us by the scruff of the neck, yanking us to his side. No, he waits for us to approach him.
Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.
Jesus stands at the door and knocks with his hand. He comes to the door and stands. He’s not moving around, shuffling his feet, checking his cell phone. He comes and stands. And he’s still standing. Then he knocks. And knocks. And knocks. He’s actively and continuously knocking with his hand. While he’s doing the standing and knocking, he’s waiting. Waiting for someone to hear his voice, here his knock, come to the door, and open it.
Jesus has come and is standing there, knocking. Waiting. Waiting for us to hear. But it doesn’t end there. We must do more than hear, we must respond by going to the door, opening it up and inviting him in.
So, Jesus has done all that’s required. He’s come, he’s standing, he’s knocking. We have to hear, respond and open up.
What are we waiting for? What are you waiting for?