In the natural world, 5x2 equals 10. In God’s world, 5x2 can convert to more, much, much more.
In Luke chapter 9:12-17, Jesus has had a long day of curing the sick. His apostles suggest He dismiss the crowds so they can go find lodging and provisions.
Jesus responds, "Give them some food yourselves."
To me, this little instruction sounds like a ‘test’ similar to “throw in your net” (again) in Luke 5:4-11. Give them some food yourselves, indeed.
The apostles can only reply, “Five loaves and two fish are all we have.”
He gives them to the disciples to set before the crowd. Jesus blesses and breaks the five loaves and the two fish. Then, rather than distributing them Himself, He gives the fish and loaves to the apostles to set before the crowd.
I know what happens next, but if the apostles’ account weren’t written out for me, I would think, this is absurd; this defies logic. There are only 5 loaves and 2 fish for over 5,000 people!
Perhaps the apostles shook their heads and wondered what’s up with this? Nevertheless, they distribute the food and there is more than enough for the crowd, with 12 wicker baskets left over.
5x2 is converted to 5,000+. That’s God’s math.
My first thought: Yes, apostles! You are my heroes because you chose to believe and trust the Lord's logic-defying command. Now, I and so many others can stand on the shoulders of your faith.
My second thought: This math-defying conversion makes me think of yet another type of transformation – one that is not food for the body, but one that is food for the spirit.
“Blessed are you, Lord God…, for through your goodness we have received the bread we offer you: fruit of the earth and work of human hands. It will become for us the bread of life.” -- The priest’s specific and familiar prayer in the Liturgy of the Eucharist (the Presentation of Gifts).
It will become for us the bread of life. The apostles trusted Jesus with the 5,000+. They also trusted what Jesus said at the Last Supper. “This is my body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me.” Luke 22:19
If earthly bread nourished 5,000+, then how much more would His body, the bread of life, nourish the soul?
And so, we stand on the shoulders of the apostles and share in their faith. We trust in Jesus’ math-defying feeding of the multitudes. We also believe in Jesus’ logic-defying conversion of bread into His body, the bread of life. The bread of life that indeed feeds the entire world every day.
Notes: The "Feeding of the 5,000", is recorded in all four gospels (Matthew 14:13–21; Mark 6:31–44; Luke 9:12–17; John 6:1–14)
The story of the Last Supper is reported in four books of the New Testament (Matthew 26:17–29; Mark 14:12–25; Luke 22:7–38) and 1 Corinthians 11:23–25.