Do you have any suggestions as to just what the numbers 12 and 7 are
referencing to by Jesus when he admonished the twelve about, "Do you
Remember, 12 baskets of remnants of bread were picked up after the
feeding of the 5,000 and 7 baskets were picked up after the feeding
of the 4,000.
To what do the numbers 12 and 7 refer in your opinion?
What do the numbers 12 and 7 mean in this context? In Bible numerics,
12 is the number for government (12 tribes, 12 Apostles etc) and 7
is God's perfect number or God's seal. What do I think they mean in
the context of Mark 8:16? In short... nothing! It wasn't the
particular numbers that Jesus was pointing them to. They could have
just as easily had 8 or 11 baskets left over. The point was this...
Both in the feeding of the 5000 and the feeding of the 4000, there
was a test going on. Jesus was testing His disciples. Have a look at
John 6:5-7 which specifically says that Jesus was testing them. What
was the test? Well, the test was whether the disciples would take
Jesus into account when faced with an impossible situation (like
feeding all the people with next to nothing to give!) Would they
reckon on Jesus? Would they take Jesus into account? That is why in
Mark 6:37 He told the disciples 'you give them something to eat'.
And what did they reckon on? All they took into account was how much
money it would take to do something like this. They had the creator
and sustainer of the universe in their very midst and they couldn't
see how the people could be fed! They didn't take Jesus into account
at all! That was the test. In a way, He tests us all in this manner.
With what do we reckon on when faced with a difficult situation? Do
we take God into account and reckon on His resources or just look at
things in the natural and forget God?
So anyway, Jesus showed them twice in the feeding of the multitudes
that He can do the impossible! The amount of bread or resources that
they had didn't actually matter. He was the sustainer of all and
there would be no lack. That was what He wanted them to learn and
apply. So you can imagine what Jesus thought when, only moments
later, they are still concerned with how much bread they had!!!
(Mark 8:16) No wonder Jesus was basically saying to them 'Do you not
understand?' 'Did you not learn anything from the feeding of the
4000?' 'Did you not learning anything from the feeding of the 5000?'
'Can you not see that you don't have to concern yourself with how
many loaves we have? I can supply all that you need and have more
left over. Do you not understand?'
Good old disciples aye? We laugh at how slow they were to pick
things up and take Jesus into account, and then we go and repeat the
same things they did over and over throughout our life! Flesh is
flesh and it doesn't change.
Anyway, hope that helps.