There are no leftovers with Jesus

Published 4:46 pm Thursday, July 16, 2020

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Growing up in a family of seven, we did not have many leftovers after dinner. My grandmother always said if we cleared the bowls on the table, we would have a sunny day the next day, so I probably should have never seen rain as a child.
The bowls were completely bare once we left the table, and oftentimes we were arguing over who got that last piece of chicken. Nowadays when my wife and I cook for our small family of three, we usually have leftovers because it is impossible to eat it all at once. We always wrap the leftovers and place them in the fridge to be heated up the next day for lunch. The Bible tells a story of a feeding of the five thousand individuals with five loaves of barley bread and two small fish from a small boy that brought his lunch. They all ate till they were filled and twelve baskets full of fragments remained. I recently reread and studied this event and I want to share my findings with each of you.
All the gospels tell this story and I would encourage you to read each account located in these chapters: Matthew 14:13-21, Mark 6:30-44, Luke 9:10-17, and John 6:1-15. In all the accounts of this story, Jesus commands the disciples to pick up the leftovers after everyone had eaten until they were filled. In John’s account, Jesus then states that he does not want anything going to waste or to be lost. The disciples then gather the leftovers into twelve baskets. I wonder what the disciples were thinking as they were gathering this food off the ground. I am certain after feeding five thousand men they were exhausted and just wanted to rest, but instead they were picking up the leftovers. Jesus begins to teach the disciples that he is the bread of life, and that when someone eats of him that they will never hunger again. I then noticed what Jesus says in John 6:39-40, “39 And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. 40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.” I know that Jesus never did anything without a reason, and I assumed all these years, as I have read and studied this story that they would need these leftovers for food, but now I realize there’s more to the gathering of the leftovers.
When Jesus says he will raise up what the Father had given him at the last day, I immediately could see the connection to the disciples gathering the leftovers. Jesus is the bread of life and those who believe upon him and follow him are the bread leftovers. Jesus ascended into Heaven and we await upon his arrival. We, as believers, are the bread of life as well because we are the body of Christ. Jesus is the bread that came down from heaven. He came into our desolate wilderness world to souls hungry for life. He took his one body, gave thanks to God, and broke it to feed our hungry souls. His body was broken for the sins of the world. We are the broken leftovers that must feed the world the love of God until he returns. Jesus cares about each leftover piece because each represents a piece of him and his saving care for each one who receives him. Jesus saves his leftovers so that we too can become broken agents of healing to a starving world. God draws nigh to them that are of a broken heart. We spend so much time trying to be whole when in fact he commands us to be broken. What good is a loaf of bread until it’s broken and distributed to those who are hungry?
Jocelyn Larsen says, “Accepting my brokenness turned myself and my sin into a gloriously tiny trickle, and it turned His cross and His grace into the magnificent ocean in which I was now near-drowning with grateful glee. Indeed, God was not who I thought He was. I thought He wanted inherent wholeness. Instead, under the administration of this King Jesus, to be broken is to be whole, and to be whole is to be broken.” We must know that we are broken leftovers and our purpose is to feed as many as we can before he commands his angels to gather up the leftovers. So, when we had those disciples gathering up the leftovers, Christ was creating a comparison to his second coming. Matthew 24:31 says, “And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” He will gather his wheat into the barns at the last day. I have never made the comparison between the gathering of the leftovers and his second coming until now. I am honored to be a crumb from Jesus Christ, the complete loaf, and very soon he will once again gather up the leftovers! I am thankful that I am ready to be gathered into his basket to live for eternity in his presence.
(The Solution Column is provided by Pastor Brandon Young of Harmony Free Will Baptist Church and his associate, David Odom.)

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