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The Fourth Sign

There is an ancient mosaic which was unearthed near the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee. The mosaic depicts four little loaves and two fish. The mosaic is a sign pointing back to the Feeding of the Five Thousand, the fourth of Jesus’ miraculous signs. It’s a sign about the sign.

The mosaic is beautiful art ... a masterpiece. The craftsman was an incredible artisan. But ... he missed one little detail.

John says that there were two fish and five loaves ... not four ... five.

Was it a mistake? ... an error? ... humm?

Let’s remember the Gospel story.

Everywhere Jesus went, large numbers of people followed. On this particular day, a crowd of five-thousand men and their families followed Jesus to a grassy hillside. Perhaps there were twelve or fifteen thousand people present.

Jesus told His disciples to feed them. But how? With what?

In the hordes that day was a young chap who brought his Happy Meal and laid it at the feet of Jesus. The Master took the five loaves and two fish and prayerfully blessed the morsels. He miraculously multiplied it, and with the meager offering, Jesus fed a vast multitude.

Wow! What a miracle!

The following day, a similar crowd surrounded Jesus and asked to be fed... again.

Jesus used the occasion to teach His disciples that He, Jesus, was foreshadowed by the manna in the wilderness. Just like God had provided life-sustaining manna, God had provided His only Son to bring life to a lost and wandering world.

Jesus said, “I am the Bread come down from heaven... I am the Bread of Life.” (John 6:33-35)

Indeed, Jesus is the only provision given for our eternal nourishment. Without Jesus, mankind is forever lost and alone. Our spiritual hungering can only be resolved by the presence of Jesus!

So, once again, why does the mosaic depict two fish and only four loaves?

Maybe it wasn’t a blunder. Perhaps the artist was offering an important lesson ... Jesus, the Bread of Life, is the unseen fifth loaf! The mosaic was a reminder that Jesus, though unseen, is always near.

Not only is Jesus able to provide a little bread, He is “able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think!” (Ephesians 3:20, ESV)

The feeding of the five thousand was a sign! Jesus is near, and He is more than able!


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