On the second occasion the uninhabitable place was on the eastern side of the Sea of Galilee – in territory which was not part of Israel but was known as the Decapolis, after the ten city-states which had been allowed to be established in the area. On that occasion there were seven small bread rolls and a few sardine-sized fishes. Four thousand men, besides women and children, ate them. And seven woven reed baskets of broken sandwiches remained after all had had their fill.
What do you make of those two eye-witness attested events?
In particular, would you begin to be confident that, if you went on a picnic with Jesus, you wouldn’t need to worry if the sandwiches were missing?
That’s exactly what happened: several of the followers of Jesus, having gone with him by boat to the other side of the Sea, were troubled because they had not brought any bread at all. They thought that Jesus was in some way “getting at them” when he said to them: “Watch and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”
They put two and two together. Leaven = yeast; yeast goes into dough to make bread edible; the Pharisees and Sadducees did have leaven of some kind; we don’t have bread; we don’t have leaven; Jesus is annoyed about the missing sandwiches.
In fact Jesus seems to be deeply annoyed by his own disciples. (Do you sometimes wonder if that’s the case today, in Jersey?) His deep annoyance is that they haven’t put two and two together.
These are the questions he asks of them (see bold above). (1) “Why are you discussing among yourselves the fact that you have no bread? (2) “Do you not yet perceive? (3) “Do you not remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? (4) “Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many baskets you gathered?
They had failed to grasp who he was. They had seen what he did (twice). But they did not see who he was. He could easily provide some sandwiches. Who is he? If you’re a disciple of Jesus please let me know – if you know.