Wednesday, October 17, 2012

"Give Ye Them to Eat"

I have been reading the KJV this year, and something struck me in today's Gospel reading, Luke 9:1-17.

Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases.
And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.
And he said unto them, Take nothing for your journey, neither staves, nor scrip, neither bread, neither money; neither have two coats apiece.
And whatsoever house ye enter into, there abide, and thence depart.
And whosoever will not receive you, when ye go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet for a testimony against them.

And they departed, and went through the towns, preaching the gospel, and healing every where.

Now Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was done by him: and he was perplexed, because that it was said of some, that John was risen from the dead;
And of some, that Elias had appeared; and of others, that one of the old prophets was risen again.
And Herod said, John have I beheaded: but who is this, of whom I hear such things? And he desired to see him.

And the apostles, when they were returned, told him all that they had done. And he took them, and went aside privately into a desert place belonging to the city called Bethsaida.
And the people, when they knew it, followed him: and he received them, and spake unto them of the kingdom of God, and healed them that had need of healing.
And when the day began to wear away, then came the twelve, and said unto him, Send the multitude away, that they may go into the towns and country round about, and lodge, and get victuals: for we are here in a desert place.

13 But he said unto them, Give ye them to eat. And they said, We have no more but five loaves and two fishes; except we should go and buy meat for all this people.

For they were about five thousand men. And he said to his disciples, Make them sit down by fifties in a company.
And they did so, and made them all sit down.
Then he took the five loaves and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed them, and brake, and gave to the disciples to set before the multitude.
And they did eat, and were all filled: and there was taken up of fragments that remained to them twelve baskets.

It was verse 13 that reads, "Give ye them to eat" which sounds a bit odd to the modern ear. The newer translation, "You give them something to eat" does seem to make a bit more sense, but the strangeness of the KJV version caused me to reflect on this command of Jesus to his disciples, a command which some may overlook because of the important miracle in the next verses.

The disciples had just returned from their first successful mission trip during which they themselves had performed healings (a foretaste of Acts?). Now they are stumped by Jesus' demand that they feed the multitude. Of course they had not yet been filled with the Holy Spirit, and they were unable to comply, but was Jesus testing them? Or was he teaching them (and us)?

Jesus would feed the multitude with bread and fishes, but ultimately he feeds the world with His body and blood.

The KJV, "Give ye them to eat," has this eerie ring to it that perhaps Jesus is teaching his disciples to give to the multitude their very being as the food that they truly need.

Much later, following the Resurrection, Ascension, and Pentecost, most of them will do just that.

Disciples taste better when they are filled with the Holy Spirit.

Holy Cow Cake, on the other hand, tastes better when you don't know what it is filled with.

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