JOHN 6:12,13 – When they were filled, He said to His disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments so that nothing will be lost.” So they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten.
The miracles of Jesus always display aspects of the glory of God. What started as a little boy’s meager lunch turned into a full on banquet. There were 5000 hungry men plus women and children. The best estimate of the size of the whole crowd was 15-20 thousand hungry bellies. How far would 5 loaves and 2 fish go? Apparently much further than anyone imagined. Not only did everyone eat until they were satisfied, there were 12 baskets of leftover fish and bread. Here is how the Lutheran theologian from the 1500’s, Hunnius, describes this miracle.
“Now all of them don’t just eat, but even greater than this, they all are completely satisfied. And not only are they satisfied, but- and this is even more astonishing- there is still some left over. And there are not a small amount of leftovers, but – this goes beyond the comprehension of human intelligence, – there is more left over than was first placed before the crowd. Just before the beginning of the banquet there had been at hand only fives loaves of bread and two fish, which could hardly even fill one basket. Now, afterwards, when so many thousands of human beings had been filled, the leftover pieces are gathered at the Lord’s command, and twelve baskets are filled. A careful consideration of all these circumstances magnifies the glory of this miracle to a considerable degree.”
The glory of God is what this miracle is all about, its what His miracles are always about. The glory of God shines the brightest when it is darkest. Think about it, 20,000 people wondering where their next meal would come from. In the next moment, they were sitting in groups eating bread and fish to their heart’s desire. Not only did everyone have a full belly, there was actually 12 baskets of bread and fish left over. As Hunnius pointed out, there was more bread and fish left over than what they started with. When there is no shot, when circumstances are more than hard, when success is impossible; that is when God’s glory shines the brightest.