The friendly request (Lk 11:5-11:5)

“Jesus said to them.

‘Suppose one of you

Has a friend.

Would you go

To him

At midnight?

Would you say

To him.

`Friend!

Lend me

Three loaves

Of bread!’”

 

Καὶ εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτούς Τίς ἐξ ὑμῶν ἕξει φίλον, καὶ πορεύσεται πρὸς αὐτὸν μεσονυκτίου καὶ εἴπῃ αὐτῷ Φίλε, χρῆσόν μοι τρεῖς ἄρτους,

 

Luke uniquely had this parable story about waking up a friend in the middle of the night.  Luke indicated that Jesus told his disciples (Καὶ εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτούς) this parable.  He asked them, who among them had a friend (Τίς ἐξ ὑμῶν ἕξει φίλον)?  Obviously, some of them had friends.  If they were to go to their friend (καὶ πορεύσεται πρὸς) at midnight (μεσονυκτίου), and say to him (καὶ εἴπῃ αὐτῷ), good friend (Φίλε), lend me 3 loaves of bread (χρῆσόν μοι τρεῖς ἄρτους), what do you think he would do?  Most of us would say leave us alone.  After all there were no fast food 24-hour service places to get food.  Luke has Jesus take up this question after his presentation on how to pray the Our Father.  What if you have a sudden visitor and not enough food?  What to do?  Wake up your next-door neighbor friend!  I do not know if that is a good idea.  Let’s see what happens.  Would you wake up a neighbor in the middle of the night?

They were filled (Mk 8:8-8:8)

“They ate.

They were filled.

They took up

The broken pieces

Left over,

Seven baskets full.”

 

καὶ ἔφαγον καὶ ἐχορτάσθησαν, καὶ ἦραν περισσεύματα κλασμάτων ἑπτὰ σπυρίδας.

 

Matthew, chapter 15:37, has a similar statement about how many ate at this multiplication of the bread loaves.  Mark said that they all ate (καὶ ἔφαγον) the bread and the fishes, so that they were filled or satisfied (καὶ ἐχορτάσθησαν).  They then collected 7 overflowing full baskets of these broken piece fragments of the loaves of bread (καὶ ἦραν περισσεύματα κλασμάτων ἑπτὰ σπυρίδας).  In comparison with the feeding of the 5,000 earlier in chapter 6:30-44, there were 12 baskets of food left over, while here it is only 7 baskets.  Mark, like Matthew, used a different word for the baskets here as opposed to the preceding chapter.  The “σπυρίδας” here was a very large basket, while the other story had a “κοφίνους”, a smaller wicker basket.

 

Blessing of the fish (Mk 8:7-8:7)

“They also had

A few small fish.

After blessing them,

Jesus ordered

That these also

Should be distributed.”

 

καὶ εἶχαν ἰχθύδια ὀλίγα· καὶ εὐλογήσας αὐτὰ εἶπεν καὶ ταῦτα παρατιθέναι.

 

This is unique to MarkMatthew, chapter 15:36 included the fish with the bread.  However, Mark treated them separately.  However, he had the similar process to that of the loaves of bread, but there was no mention of breaking the fish into small pieces.  Mark said that they also had a few small fish (καὶ εἶχαν ἰχθύδια ὀλίγα).  Jesus merely blessed them (καὶ εὐλογήσας αὐτὰ).  Then he said that these also should be distributed or set before the people there (καὶ ταῦτα παρατιθέναι).

How can they feed them? (Mk 8:4-8:4)

“His disciples

Replied.

‘How can we feed

These men

With bread

Here in the desert?’”

 

καὶ ἀπεκρίθησαν αὐτῷ οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ ὅτι Πόθεν τούτους δυνήσεταί τις ὧδε χορτάσαι ἄρτων ἐπ’ ἐρημίας;

 

Matthew, chapter 15:33, has a similar statement about the disciples questioning Jesus, just like in the other story of the first multiplication of loaves for the 5,000 people.  Mark said that the disciples of Jesus responded to him by asking (καὶ ἀπεκρίθησαν αὐτῷ οἱ μαθηταί αὐτοῦ) where would they get enough loaves of bread to feed or satisfy these people (ὅτι Πόθεν τούτους δυνήσεταί τις ὧδε χορτάσαι ἄρτων) in this desert (ἐπ’ ἐρημίας).  In the earlier feeding of the 5,000, the place was deserted, while here it is a desert or uninhabited place also.

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.

David and the holy bread (Mk 2:25-2:26)

“Jesus said to them.

‘Have you never read

What David did

When he with his companions

Were hungry,

In need of food.

He entered

The house of God,

When Abiathar

Was high priest.

He ate the bread

Of the Presence,

Which it is not lawful,

For anyone but the priests to eat.

He gave some

To his companions.’”

 

καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς· Οὐδέποτε ἀνέγνωτε τί ἐποίησεν Δαυείδ, ὅτε χρείαν ἔσχεν καὶ ἐπείνασεν αὐτὸς καὶ οἱ μετ’ αὐτοῦ;

πῶς εἰσῆλθεν εἰς τὸν οἶκον τοῦ Θεοῦ ἐπὶ Ἀβιαθὰρ ἀρχιερέως καὶ τοὺς ἄρτους τῆς προθέσεως ἔφαγεν, οὓς οὐκ ἔξεστιν φαγεῖν εἰ μὴ τοὺς ἱερεῖς, καὶ ἔδωκεν καὶ τοῖς σὺν αὐτῷ οὖσιν;

 

Matthew, chapter 12:25-26, and Luke, chapter 6:3-4, are similar to Mark, so that perhaps Mark is the origin of this saying of Jesus.  Jesus responded to the Pharisees by citing the example of David in 1 Samuel, chapter 21:1-6.  David went to the Levite town of Nob, not the house of God mentioned here.  There Ahimelech was the high priest, not Abiathar as indicated here.  David said that he needed bread for himself and his men.  Ahimelech responded that he only had consecrated holy bread for the sacrifices, not common bread.  That bread was for the Levites, but the priest then gave him the holy bread anyway.  Jesus said to the Pharisees (καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς).  He wanted to know if they had read the unnamed book of Samuel (Οὐδέποτε ἀνέγνωτε).  That was when David and his companions were hungry (τί ἐποίησεν Δαυεὶδ ὅτε χρείαν ἔσχεν καὶ ἐπείνασεν αὐτὸς καὶ οἱ μετ’ αὐτοῦ).  He entered the house of God (πῶς εἰσῆλθεν εἰς τὸν οἶκον τοῦ Θεοῦ) when Abiathar was the high priest (ἐπὶ Ἀβιαθὰρ ἀρχιερέως).  He ate the bread of the Presence or sacred Levite bread (καὶ τοὺς ἄρτους τῆς προθέσεως ἔφαγον).  However, it was not lawful for him to eat it (οὓς οὐκ ἔξεστιν φαγεῖν).  Only the Levite priests were allowed to eat this sacred bread (εἰ μὴ τοῖς ἱερεῖς).  He even gave some of this holy bread to his companions who were with him (καὶ ἔδωκεν καὶ τοῖς σὺν αὐτῷ οὖσιν).  The bread of the Presence were 12 loaves of bread in the holy place in the Temple that symbolized communion with God.  Thus, Jesus used the example of David to answer the Pharisees, although there are some discrepancies in this story about David.

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.