Hidden Symbols in the Loaves and Fish

Most Christian commentaries are quick to make a connection to sacramental gestures in connection with the Last Seder, but the symbolism is then incomplete. The Master did not serve wine to the five thousand, nor did He serve fish at the Seder. From a Jewish perspective, what might five loaves of bread represent?

Walking on Water

Their eyes searched the pre-dawn darkness for the familiar shape of the Capernaum shoreline. They saw only the heads of the waves lifting and falling. Then they saw something else—a man in the water—not in the water—on the water. Something in the shape of a man, illuminated only by the light of the moon.

One Hundred Fifty-Three Fish

The rabbis tell us that no word, no letter, no number in the Torah is there by accident. Naturally, anyone who believes in divine revelation has wondered at the fact that John recorded the exact number of fish—153—that Simon Peter caught on that day when Yeshua revealed Himself to His disciples.

Seek Out James the Righteous

Yeshua’s eighth post-resurrection appearance was to His brother, James. This event is only mentioned in passing in the New Testament, but church historians of later centuries had access to sources that expanded on this heartfelt family reunion—and even clarified the leadership position into which Yeshua placed James.

Touch Me Not

When Mary Magdalene saw the Master raised from the dead, she clung to His feet. Like the distressed woman in the Song of Songs, she held on, refusing to let Him go. Hence His response: “Stop clinging to me, for I have not yet ascended.”

The Cup of Suffering

Rabbi Yeshua was in Gethsemane the night before His arrest. He prayed three times that God would change His destiny—that God would revoke His decree, as He did for Abraham when Isaac was bound on the altar. Nevertheless, our Master resigned Himself to God’s will.

Unity of the Believers

The Master ended His farewell discourse with a prayer on behalf of His disciples. He asked God that they would be “perfected in unity.” This unity is not collegial, theological, or ecumenical; it is a spiritual connection expressed through sincere, mutual love and fierce devotion.

The True Vine

Rabbi Yeshua of Nazareth is the rightful king of Israel. In that capacity, he represents the nation. His parable of the true vine and the branches should be understood in that respect: he does not replace the Jewish people; he leads them to the final redemption as their Messiah.

Show Us the Father

When Moses asked to see God, He told Moses that no one could see Him and live. Yet Yeshua states that “he who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). Drawing on a traditional Jewish midrash about Abraham and Isaac, He revealed a deeper aspect of His identity.

A New Commandment

Yeshua’s farewell discourse centers on what it means to live today for the coming kingdom. The Messianic Era has not commenced, but we can experience it to some degree today by living by its principles. One of these principles is to love one another more than our own lives.