One of the reasons that it’s so amazing to read the Old Testament is that it gives me such an amazing perspective of the New Testament. Jesus new his followers were well aware of what had gone on before. There are many times and places that he takes Old Testament occurences, sayings, and events and turns them upside down. Often times we end up with this new appreciation of what he was all about, when take these things in context.
For example, it is well known how that Jesus fed thousands of his followers on two seperate occasions. Recently, I heard a message preached about 2 Samuel. In passing, it was mentioned that David lead this tremendous celebration when he brought the Ark of the Covenant home. At the end of the celebration, David fed every man, women, and child there.
My brain made this connection between these two events. I found myself wondering if Jesus wasn’t meaning to evoke memories of the whole thing. The implications are fascinating if he was.
As you may know, the whole thing begins when the disciples got pretty nervous. Thousands of people had traveled far to hear Jesus speak. It was getting late. Jesus followers encouraged their Master to send the people home so that they could get some food. (Apparently their was no Starbucks around.)
Jesus said, “You feed them.”
The disciples all resisted this. They said the same things I would say. They simply did not have the money.
I wonder if the thing that David did was already floating around beneath the surface. Were the disciples saying, “Look, it’s easy for David to have fed the people… But we’re not rich kings of Israel. We’re just fishermen.”
I wonder if they were so busy being defensive that they missed the implication: Jesus was the new ark of the covenant. There are tremendous similarities, of course, already: both are Earthly manifestations of God’s presence among His people. But perhaps they weren’t ready for that.
And what happens next is such a great picture. Through Jesus the disciples are equipped to do more than David did. They get fishes and loaves out of thin air, unlike David, who (as far as we know) fed everybody simply by gathering together enough food for them. But while David did this, in some sense, for God, the disciples do this through God. They could not have done it with out Him. It’s almost a metaphor: the idea that we need God in order to even approach God; our faith in Jesus is fueled by Jesus; this strange and wonderful nonsensical catch-22.