“How many loaves do you have? ...” (Matthew 15:32-34)

Jesus called his disciples to him and said, "I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way." His disciples answered, "Where could we get enough bread in this remote place to feed such a crowd?" "How many loaves do you have?" Jesus asked. "Seven," they replied, "and a few small fish." (Matthew 15:32-34)

The miracle of the loaves

Jesus had been traveling along the Galilee Seashore, and he went into the hills and large crowds of people followed him. Jesus illustrates with these words, his love and compassion for those who were traveling with him.

This is the characteristic of the representative of God. The representative of God is engaged in a loving relationship with the Supreme Being. In any true loving relationship, each party cares about the other, and cares about what the other cares about. This is the nature of love. Because the Supreme Being cares about each of us, naturally, the lover of God also cares about each of us.

What is notable about this miracle is that the seven loaves that were counted turned into more pieces of bread than seven loaves could possibly make, but only after Jesus offered them to the Supreme Being. The NIV translation for this in the text is:
When he had taken the seven loaves and given thanks, he broke them and gave them to his disciples to set before the people. (Mark 8:6)
So what is given thanks? Notice that the given thanks was done prior to giving the bread to the disciples.

As we investigate the Old Testament, we find that God requests that we offer to Him our foods before we eat them:
"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.” (Exodus 25:1-3)

“When someone brings a grain offering to the LORD, his offering is to be of fine flour.” (Leviticus 2:1-3)
In fact, the giving of an offering to the Supreme Being was considered extremely important to the prophets such as Abraham, Jacob, Moses, David and others. We find them building great altars for the Supreme Being, and people would bring their grains, fruits, and other food offerings to God's altar for an offering.

Jesus and offerings

Jesus also supported making 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, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift." (Matt. 5:23-24)

“See that you don’t tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” (Matt. 8:4)

"You blind men! Which is greater: the gift, or the Altar that makes the gift sacred?" (Matt. 23:19)
We can see from this that not only did Jesus agree with making offerings to the Supreme Being; he instructed his students to make offerings and he also understood the deeper aspects of making offerings.

And with regard to this last quote from Matt. 23:19, we see that Jesus taught that making an offering made what was offered "sacred." This means what is offered to the Supreme Being becomes purifying - it is considered sacred.

In Jesus’ case, he understood that the Supreme Being can also be offered food through the altar of the heart. A person can make an offering to the Supreme Being from any location, with a simple prayer beseeching Him to please accept this offering by the mercy of God’s representative.

This ancient and sacred practice of offering to the Supreme Being has been lost in the translation of the New Testament, and unfortunately replaced by “giving thanks.” How did this come about?

Would Jesus, who gave great respect and followed the teachings of the great prophets, simply ignore this great tradition of offering to the Supreme Being before eating, and make up his own ceremony of 'giving thanks'?

Giving thanks

In fact, the Greek word being translated to "giving thanks" is εὐχαριστέω (eucharisteō), which has been translated as "giving thanks" but also "a blessing" according to the King James Version and others. Strong's lexicon states "in the Fathers εὐχαριστέω is to consecrate a thing by giving thanks."

The word "consecrate" denotes something becoming "sacred." How is a "thing" "consecrated" then? We see from Jesus' statement in Matt. 8:4 that once a "gift" is offered by the Supreme Being, that gift becomes "sacred" - "consecrated."

Thus we can conclude that while an eye witness might have only observed Jesus making a quiet prayer over the food - it is clear that what he was actually doing was making an offering to the Supreme Being - and this offering made the food become "sacred" or "consecrated."

The fact that ecclesiastical sectarian institutions have misinterpreted what Jesus was doing is not surprising. They have also misportrayed many things about Jesus' life.

Consider the grotesque ritual of the "Eucharist" being performed in many ecclesiastical churches today. During this ritual, followers supposedly consume the "body and blood" of Jesus in the form of a little cracker and some wine or grape juice. What is the purpose of this ritual? It is a grotesque self-centered ceremony based upon the motivation to become cleansed by eating the body of Jesus.

Rather than hearing Jesus' instructions and teachings to love and serve the Supreme Being, their focus is their own cleansing of sins. Consider Jesus' response to these:
“Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 7:20-22)
What should be happening in a church or temple - the assumed place where the Supreme Being is to be worshiped - is giving not taking. We should be offering to the God, not consuming in the form of "eating" God's representative's body.

While there is nothing wrong with "giving thanks," we should be offering our food and singing praises to God. This is the ceremony that the Supreme Being and Jesus instructed us to partake in.

What the Supreme Being wants is our love. He doesn't need our stuff - He owns everything. But He wants us to come closer to Him and renew our loving service relationship with Him. For this reason, He and His representative give us a process for coming to know Him and love Him.

When God instructed the priests to “receive the offering for Me from each man whose heart prompts him to give,” He was communicating that the offering should be from the heart and should come from free will. No one can force us to love and worship God. Real love requires freedom. The Supreme Being and His representative Jesus want us to freely re-develop our natural love for Him. There can be no force involved. That would not be love.