“I have compassion for the masses because they have been with me for three days and don’t have anything to eat. And if I send them off to their homes fasting they will faint on the way – because many of them have come from far away.” (Mark 8:2-3)This statement by Jesus precedes the second miracle of the loaves - where Jesus offered seven loaves to God and fed some four thousand people with the sacred offering. The first miracle of the loaves occurred with five loaves, and fed five thousand. This event of five loaves was also described in the Book of John.
Here Jesus' words give us a glimpse of his compassion for others. So what is the purpose of these events? Was Jesus' mission all about feeding people? Or was it to perform miracles so that everyone would think that he was great?
Rather, it is clear from these events that his mission revolved around teaching others about God. Jesus came to teach about the Supreme Being and show us how we can leave this physical world of hunger and return to our loving relationship with the Supreme Being in the spiritual realm. These people had come out to hear Jesus' teachings for three entire days. Jesus wanted to make sure they didn't faint on the way home.
Three days of hearing Jesus' teachings means that Jesus was facilitating what we might today call a retreat or an extended workshop.
Unfortunately, the Gospel of Mark doesn't detail Jesus' teachings over the three days. None of the four Gospels detail all of Jesus' teachings. As many teachings in the four Gospels are duplicated, if we were to combine all the teachings of the four Gospels they would only fill about two or three hours of speaking. There was much more to Jesus' teachings than contained in the four Gospels. More of Jesus' teachings can be found among other ancient Gospels, such as the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Philip and the Gospel of Mary - detailed in the Gospels of Jesus.
Jesus offered the bread first
But we also find that Jesus offered the food before he told his students to distribute it. He was teaching the power of offering food to the Supreme Being.
Consider the mechanics. Jesus offers the food to the Supreme Being - evident from the Greek word εὐχαριστέω (eucharisteō). This means not just being "thankful" but also to "bless" the food - which ties back to the friendship offerings that the Prophets and their followers gave at the Altar:
“ ‘If they offer it as an expression of thankfulness, then along with this thank offering they are to offer thick loaves made without yeast and with olive oil mixed in, thin loaves made without yeast and brushed with oil, and thick loaves of the finest flour well-kneaded and with oil mixed in." (Lev. 7:12)Due to misinterpretation and mistranslation, the offering of food to the Supreme Being became confused with simply "giving thanks" - as we see here the term "thank offering" - and "an expression of thankfulness." The Hebrew word used is תּוֹדָה (towdah), which is often mistranslated to "thanksgiving," but more accurately means - according to the lexicon - "give praise to God," and "thanksgiving in songs of liturgical worship, hymn of praise."
So we find the source of the mistranslation with regard to the εὐχαριστέω (eucharisteō) - which has also been termed among some modern sects as the "Eucharist." We find this actually means to make offerings to God:
The Lord said to Moses: “Tell the Israelites to bring Me an offering. You are to receive the offering for Me from everyone whose heart prompts them to give." (Exodus 25:1-2)Some say that Jesus did not continue this tradition, and instead just thanked God. This is short-sighted. Jesus certainly did teach this tradition of offering to the Supreme Being:
"Therefore, if you are making your offering before the Altar of God, and you are reminded that your brother has something against you, leave your offering before the Altar of God and go – first become reconciled with your brother and then return and present your offering. Agree with your adversary quickly when you are disposed with him, or else at any time the adversary may bring you before a judge and the judge hand you over to the guard to be tossed in prison." (Matt. 5:23-25)
Then Jesus said to him, “Show or tell no one, but go on your way and show yourself to the Altar priest and make an offering of a gift – which Moses instructed – as your testimony.” (Matt. 8:4)
"Blind fools – which is greater, the offering – or the Altar of God that sanctifies the offering?" (Matt. 23:19)We find, therefore, among these three statements by Jesus the following:
- Jesus advised his students to make offerings to the Supreme Being at the altar
- Jesus supported the system of friendship offerings as God requested of Moses and his students
- Jesus acknowledged that once something has been offered to the Supreme Being, it becomes sacred due to its being offered to God.
Offering to God is fulfilling
The last point above is important to miracles of the loaves. Jesus was trying to teach his students and the people that offering food to the Supreme Being is fulfilling - to the spirit-person within. To make an offering to the Supreme Being fills the emptiness inside us - something food alone cannot provide.
Simply the act of offering food to God is fulfilling. And the byproduct of that offering is that the food itself becomes spiritualized. It becomes "sacred."
For this reason, Jesus made a point to offer the loaves to the Supreme Being on both occasions (as well as the Last Supper) before distributing them. The common element clearly described in both events is that Jesus offered the loaves to the Supreme Being first. The result was a miracle - illustrating the power of offering to the Supreme Being. This clearly illustrates that what is offered to the Supreme Being becomes spiritualized - and thus boundless.
We can also offer our food to God
As Jesus taught by example, each of us can also offer our food to the Supreme Being before eating it. Jesus illustrates that an offering does not have to be done in a temple or at an altar. One can make a prayer to God within the heart by quietly praising the Supreme Being's Holy Names as mentioned above.
Praising God's Holy Names fulfills the requirements of the altar because God's Holy Names provide us with contact with the Supreme Being through His Holy Names. See the scriptural evidence for the power of God's Holy Names.
With these two practices - offering to God and praising God's Holy Names - we find facilities for connecting with the Supreme Being, and seeing Him with our hearts.
Many people want to see God with their physical eyes - and some even demand that God appear before their eyes before they will believe in His existence.
This kind of attitude is akin to treating God as though He is our servant - that He should do whatever we want Him to do. This is also instilled in the "giving thanks" theory: That God exists for our pleasure and all we have to do is ask Him for stuff and He does it. And we should also thank Him for the stuff too.
But this attitude is diametrically opposed to our actual position. Just take a look around. There are billions upon billions of living organisms on this one planet, and there are billions upon billions of other solar systems and other galaxies that exist and all of these were created by God. And here we are, demanding that God appear to my eyes whenever I want Him to appear. And do whatever I ask Him to do.
Our situation is actually the opposite. We were created by the Supreme Being to be His servants. He is the superior and we are the inferiors. He is not our order-supplier: We are His servants,
This is why He doesn't appear to our eyes when we ask Him to. This is why we don't necessarily get what we pray for. Because we have the roles mixed up. Why should He facilitate such a mix up in our roles?
However - should someone embrace the devotional practices of making offerings to the Supreme Being - praising His Holy Names with humility and love - then the situation becomes completely different. It becomes a relationship. These devotional practices embrace our real position and relationship with the Supreme Being - and allow us to come into contact with Him and actually be able to see Him with the eyes of the heart.
Yes, the Supreme Being is seen through the eyes of a devoted heart. These are the eyes of love. In such a state - where we are reaching out to God from within our hearts and seeking to please Him - we can see the Supreme Being, and His loving servant, Jesus. Jesus stated this clearly:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘lord, lord,’ shall enter the sanctuary of the spiritual realm – only one who does what pleases my LORD in the spiritual realm." (Matt. 7:21)