Everybody knows about the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It’s the most famous miracle in the Bible. The miracle that gives reason and substance to our faith.
Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15 that if there’s no resurrection—then you may as well give up and go home. Our faith is meaningless without Jesus fulfilling his promise of stepping out of that grave on that fateful Sunday morning. If he did not resurrect, then turn on the neon light at the church entrance that says, “We’re Closed for Business.”
Jesus even had the guts to call that miracle days, weeks and even more than a year before it happened. Prophecies a thousand years old reverberated through time, pointing fingers toward the birth, life, and death of Jesus Christ, saying it would happen—and it did.
That’s the power of a miracle—it shows who God is, what he can do, what he’s willing to do. The resurrection proves that Jesus is God, that he has power over death, and that he can do what no other person on earth has ever done—raise himself from the dead.
So if all that is true for the greatest miracle, what can we learn from the second greatest miracle? Or the third greatest? Or the least-greatest miracle (which sounds like an oxymoron)?
Only one other miracle gets the honor of being shared in all four Gospels—the Feeding of the 5,000. It even has as sequel, the Feeding of the 4,000. Jesus’ resurrection has no sequel unless you count when those who believed in him—including you and me—will conga-line out of their graves one day!
Any miracle that gets so much press time must be there for a reason. It must teach us something about God—his heart, nature, character.
I think it does.
When I pitched the title of my book, Fish Sandwiches, some said there are people who hate fish and react negatively to gluten, so they would be unlikely to buy the book. That may be true, but I saw the fish sandwiches as metaphors of what God wants to serve up to a hungry audience—something everyone would want, no matter what their dietary dispositions.
You see, this earth depletes our spiritual energy at work, school, and at home. We lose focus and forget where we are, and whose we are. We need encouragement.
A promise from God is a delicious and delightful spiritual entrée that fills the holes in our hearts when we wonder, “Does God care? Does God provide? What should I do next? Where do I turn?”
In a world where promises are broken, contracts nullified, and handshakes denied, God keeps his promises. It’s called faithfulness. He says what he means. He does what he says and that becomes our foundation, our stability, our hope. We can return to the buffet-line of promises and get more. It’s all you can eat!
The fish sandwich miracles use food to make a spiritual point that we might otherwise miss. And though we tend to see these miracles as magic tricks—abracadabra, halibut for all!—every miracle in the Bible has a deeper meaning. Jesus healed the man born blind to show the Pharisees that they were blind. Raising Lazarus from the grave was a prequel to Jesus’ resurrection just days later.
So we can’t skip this buffet of promises found in the fish sandwich miracles. I think there’s one overall point that most people miss when they read this miracle over and over.
God knows what you need, and he promises to help you. It seems so simple and so servile, but does it mean God is my personal butler ready to put jam on my scones and get me more ice for my tea? No! Not at all.
We must look at it this way: the eternal God—the creator of the universe, the savior who died for my sins, the lover of my soul—sees that I could use a simple sandwich for lunch, and he’s willing to meet my need. That truth right there should cause me to gasp in astonishment and tip over in my chair. Me? He cares that much about me?
Jesus saw 5,000 people (though it was probably considerably more since only the men were counted) and said “These guys are hungry. We should feed them.”
If Jesus saw that need then, does he see your need now? You bet he does.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” —Matthew 11:28-29
Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” —John 6:35
Jesus sees our deepest needs, and he wants to meet them. And he doesn’t do it because he has to or because he feels an obligation to take care of us. He simply does it out of love.
My wife slaves in the kitchen for a week before Thanksgiving. I tell her, “Let’s just get pizza and make it easy.” For the record, I only told her once, because there’s no way it would ever happen. That meal for our family is her love meal. She shows her love to all of us with every bite of stuffing, cranberry relish and buttery mashed potatoes.
Jesus feeds us when we pull up to the table, hungry and ready (with thankful hearts) to dine with him. He reveals himself to us in our deepest moments of need.
So pull up a chair and dine with God. Tell him what you’re hungry for and watch how he gives you exactly what you need.
And Jesus promises that if we trust him, it will be more satisfying than anything we could ever want.
Troy E. Schmidt is an accomplished writer for television and film, including the series The American Bible Challenge and The All New Mickey Mouse Club. He was also the writer for Max Lucado’s Hermie & Friends children’s video series. He runs the website Reason for Hope: Answers to Your Bible Questions (reasonhope.com). He lives in Florida, where he serves as campus pastor for First Baptist Church Windermere. Read Chapter 1 (free) of his book, Fish Sandwiches: The Delight of Receiving God’s PromisesHERE.