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The First Easter Basket

  • Rebekah Montgomery Editor, Right to the Heart of Women
  • Published Mar 28, 2007
The First Easter Basket
Timidly, the child laid his small woven lunch basket into Jesus’ hands.

Like most children, the little boy liked to help. But could he? Would Jesus be annoyed with him, too?

Earlier, he had overheard the disciples discussing a problem. It seemed that among the entire crowd of people, only the little boy thought to bring his lunch. When Jesus told the disciples to feed the crowd, the boy eagerly offered it. And the disciples scoffed. Would Jesus?

Now Jesus unlatched the basket and looked inside. Nestled together were John 6:1-14. Jesus grinned, almost laughed aloud. He shook His head. “The faith of a child!”

The boy twisted his stubbed great toe into the sand. Red-hot shame rose to the roots of his hair.

“Come here, lad,” Jesus called to the boy. He stooped low, extending His callused carpenter’s hand. The boy placed his own small one into it. Jesus’ big hand closed over the tiny one, holding it gently, firmly. Jesus looked into the child’s eyes. The little boy knew: his gift was accepted.

Jesus and the disciples gazed up the side of the mountain. Among the rocks, the crowd of about 5,000 men plus women and children were dispersed into little clusters. Children, once with twisted limbs, now danced and played on sound legs. The skin of the lepers was smooth, whole, and restored. The formerly blind were marveling over a world previously seen only through their fingertips.

“Have the people sit on the ground,” Jesus told His disciples.

Quickly, the word spread up the hillside and the crowd eagerly sat, facing Jesus. An expectant hush fell. Perhaps Jesus was going to teach again. Perhaps heal.

Still holding the child’s hand, He looked up into heaven as if He could see the very face of God. “Thank You,” He said simply.

The boy didn’t know if Jesus was thanking God for his lunch or him. Perhaps both.

Then Jesus handed the boy his lunch back. As the boy held his little basket, Jesus reached in and took a barley loaf. He tore a piece and dropped the bit into a nearby basket. Then He tore the loaf again. And again. And again. And again.

Inexplicably, the basket filled. As the torn pieces of bread reached the top of the basket, the silence was so heavy that when Jesus quietly asked for another basket, His voice could be heard to the back edges of the crowd.

His request spurred the stunned disciples to life.

“Another basket!” one of the disciples called out and it was produced.

Jesus repeated the process with a fish. Then a loaf. Then a fish

There seemed to be no end. Every stomach was filled. Twelve baskets were leftover.

No chocolate bunnies. No marshmallow peeps. Only loaves and fish. How, then, is the little boy’s lunch the first Easter basket?

Several ways:

Transformation. The lunch changed. It fed a multitude. Like the Carpenter who became the Foundation. Like the Crucified who became the Savior. Like the Dead Man who became the Resurrection and the Life.

Transformed like a sinner I know personally who was headed for destruction but who now — miraculously — has eternal life.

A miracle is repeated. Some time later, Jesus did this miracle again. And He does it today The bread, the meal of a former Galilean Boy who gave up His life for us, continues to feed the multitudes.

On the night He was betrayed, He took bread, gave thanks, and broke it.

As you take a wafer from the communion basket, a bit of matzo from a silvered tray, you join across time with the 5000 on a sun-drenched hillside by the Sea, the 12 in the Upper Room, and the untold multitudes who — over the last 2000 years — have eaten at the Lord’s table; you join across space with your brothers and sisters the world over who share your faith.

I’ll meet you at the Easter basket.

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Rebekah Montgomery is the editor of Right to the Heart of Women e-zine, a publisher at Jubilant Press, and the author of numerous books on spiritual growth. She can be contacted for comments or speaking engagements at rebekahmontgomery.com.