Receiving of heavenly food

  1. 7. Receiving of the Table laden with heavenly food

Surah Table        5, 111-115                            (Sahih International)

111. And [remember] when I inspired to the disciples, "Believe in me and in my messenger Jesus." They said, "We have believed, so bear witness that indeed we are Muslims [in submission to Allah]."

112. [And remember] when the disciples said, "O Jesus, Son of Mary, can your Lord send down to us a table [spread with food] from the heaven? [Jesus] said," Fear Allah, if you should be believers."

113. They said, "We wish to eat from it and let our hearts be reassured and know that you have been truthful to us and be among its witnesses."

114. Said Jesus, the son of Mary, "O Allah , our Lord, send down to us a table [spread with food] from the heaven to be for us a festival for the first of us and the last of us and a sign from You. And provide for us, and you are the best of providers."

115. Allah said, "Indeed, I will sent it down to you, but whoever disbelieves afterwards from among you - then indeed will I punish him with a punishment by which I have not punished anyone among the worlds."

With the seventh miracle comes a laden table with food down from heaven. 

First of all we have the disciples confessing plainly that they have believed in Allah and do obey Isa Al Masih, so they call themselves Muslims. Yes, followers of Isa Al Masih are called Muslims in the Holy Quran. After this they ask Isa, if Allah can send down food, a table laden with heavenly food to them, so they could taste it to be reassured of Isa’s truthfulness. Isa tells them to believe in Allah, and asks His Lord to provide the food. Allah, the provider of all good things does so, but equally warns the disciples against unbelief, once they get such a strong sign of His goodness through Isa Al Masih.

1000 BC. David (Dawood) prayed in his most famous Zaboor prophetically towards the event when Isa Al Masih received the food from heaven, in the time of so much opposition by the Jews and Romans:

Zaboor,                               Psalm 23, 5         A psalm of David.            (NIV)

5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. Now these extracts in the Quran and also from the Zaboor reflect or introduce the complete story narrated in the Holy Injiil in detail. It perfectly illustrates the hidden spiritual identity of Isa Al Masih. This miraculous event; the feeding of 5000 people with food, bread and fish from heaven is recorded a 4-5 times in the Injiil. It was that unprecedented needs for food of a spontaneous open air gathering of mostly poor people all wanting to be healed and thought by “Rabbi” Isa:

Injiil,     Luke 9, 10-17      (CEV)

10 The apostles came back and t old Jesus everything they had done. He then took them with him to the village of Bethsaida, where they could be alone. 11 But a lot of people found out about this and followed him. Jesus welcomed them. He spoke to them about God’s kingdom and healed everyone who was sick.

12 Late in the afternoon the twelve apostles came to Jesus and said “Send the crowd to the villages and farms around here. They need to find a place to stay and something to eat. There is nothing in this place. It is like a desert!”

13 Jesus answered, “You give them something to eat.”

But they replied, “We have only five small loaves of bread and two fish. If we are going to feed all these people, we will have to go and buy food.” 14 There were about five thousand men in the crowd.

Jesus said to his disciples, “Have the people sat in groups of fifty.” 15 They did this, and all the people sat down. 16 Jesus took the five loaves and the two fish. He looked up toward heaven and blessed the food. Then he broke the bread and fish and handed them to his disciples to give to the people.

17 Everyone ate all they wanted. What was left over filled twelve baskets.

This is a never-before-heard miraculous event in human history:  The multiplication and distribution of bread and fish to 5000 people through Isa Al Masih with only five small loaves of bread and two fish.  Extraordinarily, the left over bread alone filled 12 baskets. The next text gives the story’s deeper meaning of this supernatural sign away by the aftermath:

Injil,       John 6, 22-58      (NIV)

22 The next day the crowd that had stayed on the opposite shore of the lake realized that only one boat had been there, and that Jesus had not entered it with his disciples, but that they had gone away alone. 23 Then some boats from Tiberias landed near the place where the people had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks. 24 Once the crowd realized that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into the boats and went to Capernaum in search of Jesus.

25 When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?”

26 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. 27 Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”

28 Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”

29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”

30 So they asked him, “What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? 31 Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’ ”

32 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

34 “Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.”

35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. 37 All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. 38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”

41 At this the Jews there began to grumble about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 42 They said, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I came down from heaven’?”

43 “Stop grumbling among yourselves,” Jesus answered. 44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day. 45 It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me. 46 No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. 47 Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life.

48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. 50 But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”

52 Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”

53 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. 57 Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.”

We see here that when Isa provided the table from heaven it was first of all a compassionate humanitarian act of service, then a miraculous sign of identification of his authority, but also a profound spiritual lesson about his identity as the “Bread of life”. We all know that the basic physical need for a human being is to eat bread or he will die. We then learn from the Tawrat, through the example of Moses and the Israelites in the desert, that in order to live spiritually, human needs to hear the word of Allah understand and believe it.

Tawrat,                 Deuteronomy 8:3            (NIV)

3 He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.

The same words Isa quoted to Satan when he was hungry and tempted in the desert 1500 years later:

Injiil,     Matthew 4:4     (NIV)

4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’

Now Isa Al Masih, after this miraculous event as ‘Kalimat-ullah’ himself, claims here, that he is the heavenly bread, the spiritual food for humanity.  He promises that whoever feeds on this bread will life forever, he will never die. Later, when he eats his last meal before his crucifixion with his closest disciples, he explains more specific when he identifies the loaves of bread with his own body.

Injil,       Matthew 26:26                 (NIV)     body

26 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”

In regards to Isa’s body hanging on the cross, his disciple Peter later writes:

Injiil,     1. Peter 2, 24      (NIV)

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. 

And in regards to Isa’s blood, shed on that cross, he writes to the early followers:

Injiil,     1. Peter 1, 18-19               (NIV)

For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, 19. But with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.

Therefore, Isa Al Masih identifies the grape juice from the wine with his own blood. This was to be called “the last supper” or “communion” by the followers of Isa ever since:

Injiil,     Matthew 26:27-28           (NIV)     blood

27 Jesus picked up a cup of wine and gave thanks to God. He then gave it to his disciples and said, “Take this and drink it. 28 This is my blood, and with it God makes his agreement with you. It will be poured out, so that many people will have their sins forgiven. 29 From now on I am not going to drink any wine, until I drink new wine with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

In regard to the wine, we learn in Injiil, John of Isa’s first recorded miracle of turning water into wine when he attended a village wedding with his family. He provided heavenly wine for all guests, which was the first sign based on which his disciples put their trust n him:

Injiil,     John 2:9-11         (CEV)

9 and the man in charge drank some of the water that had now turned into wine. He did not know where the wine had come from, but the servants did. He called the bridegroom over 10 and said, “The best wine is always served first. Then after the guests have had plenty, the other wine is served. But you have kept the best until last!”

11 This was Jesus' first miracle, and he did it in the village of Cana in Galilee. There Jesus showed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.

Isa Al Masih had equal powers to multiply bread and fish to distribute among thousands out on a deserted place as well as to turn water into wine for hundreds on a wedding gathering. If we read the Injiil carefully, we find other stories concerning bread, fish as well as the juice from the fruit of the grapes. Only Ruh-llah turned natural food into supernatural. Only Kalimatullah compared himself with this spiritual food for mankind. Only he was believed by those who heard the words and saw the signs that he truly is what he claimed and proved.

The symbolic act Isa left us with, to take and eat bread and drink grape juice identifies you cooperatively as a believer and follower of Isa Al Masih, as savior of the world. It is today’s sign of the chosen Jamaat-e-Masih or the community of his followers on earth. Read this in the Injiil:

Injiil,       1. Peter 1, 1-2    (NIV)

To God’s elect, (true Muslim) strangers in the world, scattered throughout …Asia.., who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father (Allah), through the sanctifying work of the spirit, (Ruh-ullah) for obedience to Jesus Christ (Kalimat-ullah) and sprinkling by his blood (Masiha):

The blood of Isa Al Masih is your guaranteed token of eternal life as a true Muslim, if you believe.

Now, this is the real food Isa informs you about, which is a sign, if you believe according to the following verse in the Holy Quran:

Surah Ahl-e-Imran 3, 49 (Muhsin Khan)

 ('Isa) "I have come to you with a sign from your Lord, that … I inform you of what you eat, and what you store in your houses. Surely, therein is a sign for you, if you believe.

In conclusion we learn that Isa Al-Masih as the “Spirit from Allah” performed miracles that only Allah can do. Look at the miracles performed by Isa! Was there ever seen anything like it? No, only Isa Al-Mash healed lepers, gave sight to the blind and raised people from the dead (Surah 3:49) – only Isa can multiply bread from heaven, turn water into wine and knows the secrets of men’s heart. Yes, he does it today through his followers! Yes, only the Holy Son ever raises people from the dead; even today it is done in his name.

Many Pakistanis would testify that they have been healed in Isa’s name in public meetings or through private prayer of one his followers. This phenomenon is seen increasingly in the land of the pure too. So is it common then that disciples of Isa are given the power to do the same in his name? The following story from the Injiil answers this question with the first miracle the disciples Peter and John performed after their master was gone to heaven and left them to be filled with “Ruh-ullah”, the Holy Spirit at Pentecost:

Injiil,     Acts 3, 1- 26        (CEV)    (Peter and John Heal a Lame Man)

3 The time of prayer was about three o’clock in the afternoon, and Peter and John were going into the temple. 2 A man who had been born lame was being carried to the temple door. Each day he was placed beside this door, known as the Beautiful Gate. He sat there and begged from the people who were going in.

3 The man saw Peter and John entering the temple, and he asked them for money. 4 But they looked straight at him and said, “Look up at us!”

5 The man stared at them and thought he was going to get something. 6 But Peter said, “I don’t have any silver or gold! But I will give you what I do have. In the name of Jesus Christ from Nazareth, get up and start walking.” 7 Peter then took him by the right hand and helped him up.

At once the man’s feet and ankles became strong, 8 and he jumped up and started walking. He went with Peter and John into the temple, walking and jumping and praising God. 9 Everyone saw him walking around and praising God. 10 They knew that he was the beggar who had been lying beside the Beautiful Gate, and they were completely surprised. They could not imagine what had happened to the man.

(Peter Speaks in the Temple) 11 While the man kept holding on to Peter and John, the whole crowd ran to them in amazement at the place known as Solomon’s Porch. 12 Peter saw that a crowd had gathered, and he said:

Friends, why are you surprised at what has happened? Why are you staring at us? Do you think we have some power of our own? Do you think we were able to make this man walk because we are so religious? 13 The God that Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and our other ancestors worshiped has brought honor to his Servant Jesus. He is the one you betrayed. You turned against him when he was being tried by Pilate, even though Pilate wanted to set him free.

14 You rejected Jesus, who was holy and good. You asked for a murderer to be set free, 15 and you killed the one who leads people to life. But God raised him from death, and all of us can tell you what he has done. 16 You see this man, and you know him. He put his faith in the name of Jesus and was made strong. Faith in Jesus made this man completely well while everyone was watching.

17 My friends, I am sure that you and your leaders didn’t know what you were doing. 18 But God had his prophets tell that his Messiah would suffer, and now he has kept that promise. 19 So turn to God! Give up your sins, and you will be forgiven. 20 Then that time will come when the Lord will give you fresh strength. He will send you Jesus, his chosen Messiah. 21 But Jesus must stay in heaven until God makes all things new, just as his holy prophets promised long ago.

22 Moses said, “The Lord your God will choose one of your own people to be a prophet, just as he chose me. Listen to everything he tells you. 23 No one who disobeys that prophet will be one of God’s people any longer.”

24 Samuel and all the other prophets who came later also spoke about what is now happening. 25 You are really the ones God told his prophets to speak to. And you were given the promise that God made to your ancestors. He said to Abraham, “All nations on earth will be blessed because of someone from your family.” 26 God sent his chosen Son to you first, because God wanted to bless you and make each one of you turn away from your sins.

In conclusion, aren’t these supernatural signs and miracles of Isa and his followers a clear indication of His divinity? Disease has no power over Him. He lovingly and boldly touches the lepers and they are healed. Isa’s divine power by the Spirit of God overcomes the power of sin, disease and famine. Seven miracles are mentioned in particular in the Holy Qur'an. They all are unique and unheard from any other prophet. They all come with a deeper spiritual meaning for mankind, if we would only understand and believe? Allah loves humanity, wants to bless all people through his son, and forgive everyone’s sin and heal the sick in the name of his spiritual ‘Son’ Isa Al Masih, Kalimatullah.