Jesus blessed the loaves and fishes (Lk 9:16-9:16)

“Taking

The five loaves

And the two fish,

Jesus looked up

To heaven.

He blessed them.

He broke them.

He gave them

To the disciples

To set before

The crowd.”

 

λαβὼν δὲ τοὺς πέντε ἄρτους καὶ τοὺς δύο ἰχθύας, ἀναβλέψας εἰς τὸν οὐρανὸν εὐλόγησεν αὐτοὺς καὶ κατέκλασεν, καὶ ἐδίδου τοῖς μαθηταῖς παραθεῖναι τῷ ὄχλῳ.

 

Luke said that Jesus took (λαβὼν) the 5 loaves (δὲ τοὺς πέντε ἄρτους) and the 2 fish (καὶ τοὺς δύο ἰχθύας).  He looked up to heaven (ἀναβλέψας εἰς τὸν οὐρανὸν).  He blessed them (εὐλόγησεν αὐτοὺς).  He broke them (καὶ κατέκλασεν).  He gave them to his disciples (αὶ ἐδίδου τοῖς μαθηταῖς) to set before the crowd (παραθεῖναι τῷ ὄχλῳ).  This is the only blessing miracle that is recorded in all four gospels, Matthew, chapter 14:18-19, Mark, chapter 6:41, and John, chapter 6:12, plus here.  The blessing of the bread and the fish was exactly the same in all the synoptic gospels, but merely summarized in John.  This feeding of a large group of people harkens back to the Exodus story, chapter 16:1-36, about the manna and the quails in the wilderness.  Yet the blessing itself has almost a foretaste of the Eucharistic Last Supper of Jesus, when Jesus blessed and broke the bread.  Mark said that Jesus took the 5 loaves and the 2 fish.  He looked up to heaven.  He blessed them.  Then he broke up the loaves of bread into pieces.  He gave the loaves of bread to his disciples.  They, in turn, set the broken pieces of bread or served them to the crowd.  Jesus also divided or shared the 2 fish among them all, something that Luke did not mention explicitly.  Matthew indicated that Jesus told his disciples to bring him the food, the 5 loaves of bread and the 2 fish.  Then he ordered or directed the crowd to sit down on the grass.  He took the 5 loaves and the 2 fish.  He looked up to heaven.  He blessed them.  Then he broke the loaves of bread and the fishes into pieces.  He gave the loaves of bread to his disciples.  They, in turn, gave them to the crowd.  This almost sounds like a large later distribution of Holy Communion.  Have you ever been to a large communion service?

The herd of swine (Lk 8:32-8:32)

“Now a large herd

Of swine

Was feeding

On a hillside mountain.

The demons

Begged Jesus

To let them

Enter these pigs.

Thus,

Jesus gave them permission.”

 

ἦν δὲ ἐκεῖ ἀγέλη χοίρων ἱκανῶν βοσκομένη ἐν τῷ ὄρει· καὶ παρεκάλεσαν αὐτὸν ἵνα ἐπιτρέψῃ αὐτοῖς εἰς ἐκείνους εἰσελθεῖν· καὶ ἐπέτρεψεν αὐτοῖς.

 

Luke said that a large herd of swine or pigs (ἦν δὲ ἐκεῖ ἀγέλη χοίρων) was feeding (ἱκανῶν βοσκομένη) on a hillside mountain (ἐν τῷ ὄρει).  These demons begged Jesus (καὶ παρεκάλεσαν αὐτὸν) to allows them to enter these pigs (ἵνα ἐπιτρέψῃ αὐτοῖς εἰς ἐκείνους εἰσελθεῖν).  Thus, Jesus gave them permission (καὶ ἐπέτρεψεν αὐτοῖς).  All three synoptic gospels, Mark, chapter 5:11-12, Matthew, chapter 8:30-31, and Luke here, have these demoniacs ask to be sent into this herd of pigs nearby, with slight nuances in each story.  Mark said that this incident took place near a mountain or hill.  There was a large herd of swine, pigs, or hogs feeding on this hill, since this was gentile or a Greek area that was not Jewish.  Then the unclean spirits, not the demoniac, begged, entreated, or beseeched Jesus to send them into these pigs or swine.  Matthew said that this large herd of pigs was feeding in a pasture at some distance away from them, since this was a non-Jewish, gentile area.  Then the demoniacs begged Jesus to send them into these pigs.  It seems like these evil spirits knew that they belonged in the unclean pigs or swine.  Have you ever seen a hog farm?

Jesus blessed and broke the bread (Mk 6:41-6:41)

“Taking

The five loaves

And the two fish,

Jesus looked up to heaven.

He blessed

And broke

The loaves.

He gave them

To his disciples

To set

Before the people.

He divided

The two fish

Among them all.”

 

καὶ λαβὼν τοὺς πέντε ἄρτους καὶ τοὺς δύο ἰχθύας ἀναβλέψας εἰς τὸν οὐρανὸν εὐλόγησεν καὶ κατέκλασεν τοὺς ἄρτους καὶ ἐδίδου τοῖς μαθηταῖς ἵνα παρατιθῶσιν αὐτοῖς, καὶ τοὺς δύο ἰχθύας ἐμέρισεν πᾶσιν.

 

This is the only blessing miracle that is recorded in all four gospels, Matthew, chapter 14:19, Luke, chapter 9:16, and John, chapter 6:12, plus here.  The blessing of the bread and the fish is exactly the same in the synoptic gospels, but merely summarized in John.  This feeding of a large group of people harkens back to the Exodus story, chapter 16:1-36, about the manna and the quails in the wilderness.  Yet the blessing itself has almost a foretaste of the Eucharistic Last Supper of Jesus, when he blessed and broke the bread.  Mark said that Jesus took (καὶ λαβὼν) the 5 loaves (τοὺς πέντε ἄρτους) and the 2 fish (καὶ τοὺς δύο ἰχθύας).  He looked up to heaven (ἀναβλέψας εἰς τὸν οὐρανὸν).  He blessed them (εὐλόγησεν).  Then he broke up the loaves of bread into pieces (καὶ κατέκλασεν τοὺς ἄρτους).  He gave the loaves of bread to his disciples (καὶ ἐδίδου τοῖς μαθηταῖς).  They, in turn, set the broken pieces of bread or served them to the crowd (ἵνα παρατιθῶσιν αὐτοῖς).  Jesus also divided or shared the 2 fish among them all (καὶ τοὺς δύο ἰχθύας ἐμέρισεν πᾶσιν).  This almost sounds like a large later distribution of Holy Communion.

The swine on the hillside (Mk 5:11-5:12)

“Now there on a hillside,

A great herd

Of swine

Was feeding.

The unclean spirits

Begged him.

‘Send us into the swine!

Let us enter them!’”

 

ἦν δὲ ἐκεῖ πρὸς τῷ ὄρει ἀγέλη χοίρων μεγάλη βοσκομένη·

καὶ παρεκάλεσαν αὐτὸν λέγοντες Πέμψον ἡμᾶς εἰς τοὺς χοίρους, ἵνα εἰς αὐτοὺς εἰσέλθωμεν.

 

All three synoptic gospels, Matthew, chapter 8:30-31, and Luke, chapter 8:32, and Mark here, have the unclean spirits or the demoniacs ask to be sent into the herd of pigs nearby, with slight nuances in each story.  This incident took place near a mountain or hill (ἦν δὲ ἐκεῖ πρὸς τῷ ὄρει).  There was a large herd of swine, pigs, or hogs (ἀγέλη χοίρων πολλῶν) feeding (βοσκομένη) on this hill, since this was gentile or a Greek area that was not Jewish.  Then the unclean spirits, not the demoniac, begged, entreated, or beseeched Jesus (καὶ παρεκάλεσαν αὐτὸν λέγοντες) to send them into these pigs or swine (Πέμψον ἡμᾶς εἰς τοὺς χοίρους), so that they could enter them (ἵνα εἰς αὐτοὺς εἰσέλθωμεν).  It seems like these evil spirits knew that they belonged in the unclean pigs or swine.

Jesus goes to Magadan (Mt 15:39-15:39)

“After sending away

The crowds,

Jesus got into the boat.

He went

To the region of Magadan.”

 

Καὶ ἀπολύσας τοὺς ὄχλους ἐνέβη εἰς τὸ πλοῖον, καὶ ἦλθεν εἰς τὰ ὅρια Μαγαδάν.

 

Mark, chapter 8:8-10, has a similar statement about getting into a boat and traveling, but there he went to Dalmanutha, not Magadan.   Jesus sent the crowds away (Καὶ ἀπολύσας τοὺς ὄχλους) after feeding them.  He then got into his boat (ἐνέβη εἰς τὸ πλοῖον).  He ended up in the region of Magadan (καὶ ἦλθεν εἰς τὰ ὅρια Μαγαδάν).  Are Magadan and Dalmanutha near each other on the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee?  No one knows for sure, but this area might be between Capernaum and Tiberias near Gennesaret.  Magadan may have been where Mary Magdalene was from, but there is no concrete evidence to support that.

Jesus give thanks and distributes the bread (Mt 15:35-15:36)

“Jesus ordered

The crowd

To sit down

On the ground.

He took the seven loaves

And the fish.

He gave thanks.

He broke them.

He gave them

To the disciples.

Then the disciples

Gave them

To the crowds.”

 

καὶ παραγγείλας τῷ ὄχλῳ ἀναπεσεῖν ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν

ἔλαβεν τοὺς ἑπτὰ ἄρτους καὶ τοὺς ἰχθύας καὶ εὐχαριστήσας ἔκλασεν καὶ ἐδίδου τοῖς μαθηταῖς, οἱ δὲ μαθηταὶ τοῖς ὄχλοις.

 

Mark, chapter 8:6-7, has a similar statement about the thanksgiving blessing and the distribution of the 7 loaves of bread and fish.  Jesus ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground, instead of earlier on the grass (καὶ παραγγείλας τῷ ὄχλῳ ἀναπεσεῖν ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν).  This was going to be like a large picnic.  He took the seven loaves and the fish (ἔλαβεν τοὺς ἑπτὰ ἄρτους καὶ τοὺς ἰχθύας).  He gave thanks or eucharized them (καὶ εὐχαριστήσας) and broke them apart (ἔκλασεν).  He gave them to the disciples (καὶ ἐδίδου τοῖς μαθηταῖς).  Then the disciples gave them to the crowds (οἱ δὲ μαθηταὶ τοῖς ὄχλοις).  This feeding of a large group of people harkens back to the Exodus story, chapter 16:1-36, about the manna and the quails in the wilderness, but on a smaller scale.  Yet the word “thanksgiving” was used here instead of a “blessing” as at the feeding of the 5,000 people in chapter 14:19.  This has almost a foretaste of the Eucharistic Last Supper of Jesus, when he gave thanks, blessed and broke the bread.  Otherwise, this is very similar to the first multiplication of the loaves of bread.  However, Jesus did not look up to heaven here.  The process is pretty much the same.  Jesus gave the food to his disciples, who in turn gave the food to the people in the crowd.

Jesus has compassion on the crowds (Mt 15:32-15:32)

“Then Jesus called

His disciples to him.

He said.

‘I have compassion

For the crowd.

They have been with me

Now three days.

They have nothing to eat.

I do not want

To send them away hungry.

Otherwise,

They might faint

On the way.’”

 

Ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς προσκαλεσάμενος τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ εἶπεν Σπλαγχνίζομαι ἐπὶ τὸν ὄχλον, ὅτι ἤδη ἡμέραι τρεῖς προσμένουσίν μοι καὶ οὐκ ἔχουσιν τί φάγωσιν· καὶ ἀπολῦσαι αὐτοὺς νήστεις οὐ θέλω, μή ποτε ἐκλυθῶσιν ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ.

 

Mark, chapter 8:1-3, has a similar statement about compassion.  This is much like the earlier feeding of the 5,000 in Matthew, 14:15-16 that can be found in all 4 gospels.   Once again, there is a discussion between Jesus and his disciples.  He called his disciples to him (Ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς προσκαλεσάμενος τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ).  He told them that he had compassion on the crowd (εἶπεν Σπλαγχνίζομαι ἐπὶ τὸν ὄχλον), since they had been with him for 3 days (ὅτι ἤδη ἡμέραι τρεῖς προσμένουσίν μοι), without anything to eat (καὶ οὐκ ἔχουσιν τί φάγωσιν).  He did not want to send them away hungry (καὶ ἀπολῦσαι αὐτοὺς νήστεις οὐ θέλω), because they might faint on their way home (μή ποτε ἐκλυθῶσιν ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ).  Jesus was seriously concerned about the wellbeing of this large crowd of people who had been with him for a couple of days.