When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick. As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.” Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered. “Bring them here to me,” he said. And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick. As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, "This is a remote place, and it's already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food." Jesus replied, "They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat." (Matthew 14:13-21)
What did Jesus hear - 'what had happened'?Jesus was told that his teacher was murdered. This situation follows Jesus hearing that his teacher, John the Baptist, had been murdered by Herod. When Jesus first heard about it he immediately took a boat and went to a remote place where he could pray and console with God:
John's disciples came and took his body and buried it. (Matthew 14:12)This clearly indicates Jesus' dedication to his teacher, John the Baptist. Many teachers ignore the reality that Jesus accepted John as his teacher. But it is clear from the events that Jesus did accept John as his teacher. This was formalized through the baptism process. Many institutions today treat baptism as a ritualized rite of passage or the confirmation of joining a particular sect.
But this was not the purpose of baptism during Jesus' time. The purpose of baptism was to confirm the acceptance of a student to follow the teacher's instruction and the acceptance of a particular person as a follower or student. This was why John baptized so many followers - because he wanted them to follow his teachings.
This is also why John baptized Jesus. At first, John resisted because in his humility he considered Jesus had greater wisdom and devotion than himself. But after Jesus' request, he still did baptize Jesus, in order to carry on the lineage of students and teachers dating all the way back to Melchizedek, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and so many others, who were anointed to become God's messenger.
This tradition is confirmed by the lives of the many prophets, and Jesus' example illustrates this, as he also baptized followers and then asked them to preach his teachings and themselves take on disciples and students:
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit ... (Matthew 29:8)
Why did he say 'they do not need to go away'?“They do not need to go away." The problem was, the crowd that had gathered around him followed him to the solitary place. So it was no longer solitary. His disciples saw this and they saw the crowd was hungry, so they suggested dispersing the crowd.
As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, "This is a remote place, and it's already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food." (Matthew 14:15)Even though he was obviously grieving over the loss of his teacher - he knew that John returned to the spiritual realm. Thus, Jesus continued his work. He became compassionate towards the people and instructed his disciples to give them something to eat.
In other words, Jesus loved them.
How was there enough food?When they said they only had five loaves of bread and two fish, Jesus asked the food be brought to him. Many translations of Matthew and Mark state that Jesus gave thanks and broke the loaves. (Matt. 14:19).
The Gospel of John states:
Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. (John 6:11)When they passed out the food, it became obvious that somehow, there was enough food to feed everyone.
This is considered one of Jesus’ more miraculous acts. Yet we know it was an act of the Supreme Being. Why would the Supreme Being bother making sure the people were all fed?
The intention, as Jesus states elsewhere, was to increase their faith in the Supreme Being. They needed to realize that the Supreme Being will take care of them.
Notice the texts explain that 'he gave thanks.' What is 'giving thanks' anyway?
What is 'giving thanks'?The phrase, "gave thanks" is translated from the Greek word, εὐλογέω (eulogeō) - which means, "to praise, celebrate with praises; and "to consecrate a thing with solemn prayers."
So who is being praised and who is being prayed to? "Giving thanks" simply does not convey the meaning of this word. The more appropriate translation for this word is "prayer offering," because this is what is occurring. Jesus was offering the food to the Supreme Being with prayers and praises to the Supreme Being.
We can understand this activity as it is described throughout the Old Testament. Why would Jesus, who strictly followed the tenets and instructions of the prophets, and quoted them also, not also partake in this manner of worship?
Yes, we can see that just as Jesus did not always comply with the pomp of ceremony, he still observed the core practices, such as prayer and praising the Supreme Being. And yes, he did not restrict his prayers to a temple, as he often prayed outside. As such, he also did not restrict his offerings to the temple altar as well, because he observed the Supreme Being's presence within and throughout nature.
Does the Bible recommend making offerings to God?Jesus offered the food to God before distributing it. We see that Jesus also taught his disciples to make offerings to the Supreme Being:
“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you..." (Matthew 5:23)Jesus was following the time-honored tradition of making offerings to the Supreme Being:
He who sacrifices thank offerings honors Me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God."These are but a few of the descriptions among the Bible that present the importance of making offerings to the Supreme Being.
I will sacrifice a freewill offering to You; I will praise Your Name, O LORD, for it is good.
Ascribe to the LORD the glory due His Name; bring an offering and come into His courts.
Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together,
" 'If you bring a grain offering of firstfruits to the LORD, offer crushed heads of new grain roasted in the fire.
Jacob set up a stone pillar at the place where God had talked with him, and he poured out a drink offering on it; he also poured oil on it.
But Moses said, "You must allow us to have sacrifices and burnt offerings to present to the LORD our God.
Then Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, brought a burnt offering and other sacrifices to God, and Aaron came with all the elders of Israel to eat bread with Moses' father-in-law in the presence of God.
"Tell the Israelites to bring Me an offering. You are to receive the offering for Me from each man whose heart prompts him to give.
These are the offerings you are to receive from them: gold, silver and bronze;
And make its plates and dishes of pure gold, as well as its pitchers and bowls for the pouring out of offerings.
"For the generations to come this burnt offering is to be made regularly at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting before the LORD. There I will meet you and speak to you;
Do not offer on this altar any other incense or any burnt offering or grain offering, and do not pour a drink offering on it.
Each one who crosses over to those already counted is to give a half shekel, according to the sanctuary shekel, which weighs twenty gerahs. This half shekel is an offering to the LORD.
All who cross over, those twenty years old or more, are to give an offering to the LORD.
Those presenting an offering of silver or bronze brought it as an offering to the LORD, and everyone who had acacia wood for any part of the work brought it.
All the Israelite men and women who were willing brought to the LORD freewill offerings for all the work the LORD through Moses had commanded them to do.
The bronze from the wave offering was 70 talents and 2,400 shekels.
If your grain offering is cooked in a pan, it is to be made of fine flour and oil.
Season all your grain offerings with salt. Do not leave the salt of the covenant of your God out of your grain offerings; add salt to all your offerings.
Put oil and incense on it; it is a grain offering.
The priest shall burn the memorial portion of the crushed grain and the oil, together with all the incense, as an offering made to the LORD by fire.
"Over the table of the Presence they are to spread a blue cloth and put on it the plates, dishes and bowls, and the jars for drink offerings; the bread that is continually there is to remain on it.
"Eleazar son of Aaron, the priest, is to have charge of the oil for the light, the fragrant incense, the regular grain offering and the anointing oil. He is to be in charge of the entire tabernacle and everything in it, including its holy furnishings and articles."
Prepare these in addition to the regular morning burnt offering.
" 'In addition to what you vow and your freewill offerings, prepare these for the LORD at your appointed feasts: your burnt offerings, grain offerings, drink offerings and fellowship offerings. ' "
So we have brought as an offering to the LORD the gold articles each of us acquired—armlets, bracelets, signet rings, earrings and necklaces—to make atonement for ourselves before the LORD."
Then the Israelites, all the people, went up to Bethel, and there they sat weeping before the LORD. They fasted that day until evening and presented burnt offerings and fellowship offerings to the LORD.
But Samuel replied: "Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD ? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams."
1 Samuel 15:21-23
"O mountains of Gilboa, may you have neither dew nor rain, nor fields that yield offerings of grain. For there the shield of the mighty was defiled, the shield of Saul—no longer rubbed with oil.
2 Samuel 1:20-22
The king went to Gibeon to offer sacrifices, for that was the most important high place, and Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings on that altar.
1 Kings 3:3-5
David built an altar to the LORD there and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. Then the LORD answered prayer in behalf of the land, and the plague on Israel was stopped.
2 Samuel 24:24-25
On the fifteenth day of the eighth month, a month of his own choosing, he offered sacrifices on the altar he had built at Bethel. So he instituted the festival for the Israelites and went up to the altar to make offerings.
1 Kings 12:32-33
When the king came back from Damascus and saw the altar, he approached it and presented offerings on it.
2 Kings 16:11-13
evening grain offering, the king's burnt offering and his grain offering, and the burnt offering of all the people of the land, and their grain offering and their drink offering. Sprinkle on the altar all the blood of the burnt offerings and sacrifices. But I will use the bronze altar for seeking guidance."
2 Kings 16:14-16
A Levite named Mattithiah, the firstborn son of Shallum the Korahite, was entrusted with the responsibility for baking the offering bread.
1 Chronicles 9:30-32
Ascribe to the LORD the glory due His Name. Bring an offering and come before Him; worship the LORD in the splendor of His Holiness.
1 Chronicles 16:28-30
They were in charge of the bread set out on the table, the flour for the grain offerings, the unleavened wafers, the baking and the mixing, and all measurements of quantity and size.
1 Chronicles 23:28-30
" 'This is the special gift you are to offer: a sixth of an ephah from each homer of wheat and a sixth of an ephah from each homer of barley.
Who knows? He may turn and have pity and leave behind a blessing— grain offerings and drink offerings for the LORD your God.
The angel answered, "Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God. Now send men to Joppa to bring back a man named Simon who is called Peter.
"You do not know me or my Father," Jesus replied. "If you knew me, you would know my Father also." He spoke these words while teaching in the temple area near the place where the offerings were put. Yet no one seized him, because his time had not yet come.
But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you.
I have received full payment and even more; I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God.
Did Jesus make up a new ceremony?Jesus was not making up a new ceremony. It is clear from the scriptures that Jesus supported making offerings to God:
“Therefore if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift." (Matthew 5:23-24)And Jesus' disciples also followed the teachings of the Prophets after Jesus left. It was Paul - who had not even met Jesus personally - who departed from the teachings of the Prophets and made it seem like Jesus' life and teachings departed from the Prophets. (This is called the Pauline theology or Pauline Christianity.)
Jesus' first and foremost instruction, to love God, is quoted from Moses' teachings. Yet Paul fought with the real disciples of Jesus, such as James and Peter to depart from Jesus' teachings as passed on from the Prophets. This included making it seem like Jesus was just 'giving thanks' instead of making an offering to God.
There is no reason to think that Jesus abandoned the process of offering to the Supreme Being. And as suggested by his instruction above to his students, it is apparent indeed he did support it.
Furthermore, we see that those professional sectarian scribes who have translated the New Testament did not honor the act of offering to the Supreme Being, and thus did not properly translate these scriptures.
Nor have they followed Jesus' instructions and example to offer one's food and other gifts to the Supreme Being. Instead of practicing this, the Pauline institutions and their teachers created their own brand of worship - one that worships God's representative as God - forgetting God Himself.
Why have Pauline institutions that dominate Christianity today ignored this tradition of making offerings to God? It is because the Pauline philosophy is focused on attracting followers who want an easy pathway to their own salvation. Rather than doing the hard work of having a change of heart and consciousness and developing their personal relationship with the Supreme Being.
When a person offers something to God - such as food before it is eaten - we are reaching out to the Supreme Being. We are extending a request to have a relationship with Him.
This is what people do when they want to have a relationship with someone: They offer that person a gift.
And why would a person have a relationship with the Supreme Being? Because each of us is lost without our innate loving relationship with the Supreme Being. We are empty inside, not knowing who we are or why we exist. This is why Jesus' most important instruction was:
" 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment." (Matthew 22:37-38)