“Bread And Fish Tales” – One Year Bible Reading – January 24

Old Testament:   Genesis 48:1-49:33

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Genesis 48:1-49:33   Reverse Blessings


Towards the end of Jacob’s life he blessed Joseph’s two sons born to him in Egypt, Manasseh and Ephraim.  Though Ephraim was the younger, Jacob blessed him over Manasseh.

Then Jacob blessed each of his sons individually with Joseph getting the major blessing.  Jacob asked to be buried in Canaan, the land of his promise.


In Chapter 48, Jacob was getting near the end of his life (v. 1a). Joseph went to visit him with the two sons born to him in Egypt, Manasseh and Ephraim (v. 1b). Ephraim was the younger but Jacob blessed him over Manasseh (v. 14). Jacob had finally learned the lesson that God’s ways are not always man’s ways (Is. 55:8, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,”declares the LORD.) Notice the pattern of blessing throughout Abraham’s family,the younger was blessed over the older: Isaac was blessed over Ishmael, Jacob was blessed over Esau, Joseph was blessed over Reuben, and Ephraim was blessed over Manasseh.

In Chapter 49, Jacob blessed each of his sons individually showing an intimate knowledge of each one (vv. 1, 28).  Joseph, of course, got the major blessing (vv. 22 – 26).  Jacob asked to be buried alongside Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, and Leah (vv. 29-32).  He asked to be buried in Canaan the place of his promise of a great nation (v. 30).  Jacob was 147 years-old (cf. Gen. 47:28) when he died (v. 33).  It took Jacob almost a lifetime to learn to deal with his many trials and infirmities but in the end was truly a man of faith.

New Testament:   Matthew 15:29-16:12

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A lot of lame, mute, and blind Gentiles came to Jesus for healing. They then recognized that He was Messiah of Israel.

Jesus then fed 12,000.

The religious leaders asked for a sign.   Jesus said they would only get the sign of Jonah.

Jesus warned the disciples about bad, yeasty teachers.


Matthew 15:29-16:12   Bread And Fish Tales

A lot of lame, mute, and blind people came to Jesus for healing (vv. 29-31).  They may have been Gentile crowds (cf. Mk. 7:31-37).  He healed them and they recognized that He was Messiah of Israel.  They worshipped Yahweh, “the God of Israel” (v. 31).

The crowds had been together for three days so He again felt He needed to feed them since they weren’t even remotely close to a Captain D’s (v. 32). He asked the disciples what they had in the way of victuals (vv. 33-34a). The answer came back seven loaves and a few small fish (v. 34b). This was a little better than the last time in that he had two more loaves of bread and maybe like one more fish (cf. Mt. 14:13-21). On the other hand, there were only 4,000 instead of 5,000 men to feed not to mention women and children (possibly 12,000 altogether). So that would still only be like .0105 pieces of bread each (if there were 18 slices of bread in a loaf) and .00025 pieces of fish. There were only seven baskets instead of 12 baskets full left over this time (v. 37).

Here come the religious leaders again giving Jesus a hard time (Matt. 16:1). This time they are asking for a sign. (Did they miss the whole bread and fish thing — twice?) Jesus says they can see the sky at night and know what the weather will be the next day but they can’t see what’s going on in their own time (v. 3)? In case they missed it the first time He had told them (12:39-41), Jesus tells them that the only sign they’re going to get is the sign of Jonah being in the fish’s belly for three days and three nights (v. 4). He was talking about being in the ground Himself for three days and three nights.  He may have also been hinting that Israel, in rejecting their Messiah, was no better than evil, rotten Nineveh.

The disciples were concerned because they had forgotten to go grocery shopping (vv. 5-7).  Jesus told them to beware of the yeast of the false teachers (v. 11). The rather intellectually-challenged disciples thought Jesus was talking about bread. Jesus reminded Him that He was able to feed them, proven by the feeding of the 9,000 (5K plus 4K men, not counting women and children, vv. 8-10). He said He was talking about yeast not bread, that is, the microscopic fungus consisting of single oval cells that reproduce by budding, and are capable of converting sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide.

Then the disciples caught on that He was talking about the icky teaching of the bad teachers that can spread through people and cause them to bloat up with evil and be bad people (v. 12). He wasn’t talking about baking.

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