Then, taking the five loaves and two fish, Jesus raised his eyes to heaven,
pronounced a blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples to distribute.
Tabgha is a small town just two miles from Capernaum which Jesus and his disciples likely frequented. Though many tours highlight Tabgha as the site of Jesus’ multiplication of the loaves and fish, it is more likely to have happened in nearby Bethsaida. The confusion began with Egeria, a Spanish pilgrim from 380 C.E. She found rock formations which were considered memorials of the Sermon on the Mount, the feeding with loaves and fishes and one of Jesus’ post-resurrection appearance to the apostles. Though it’s possible that these events occurred in Tabgha, modern scholars have determined that this is likely not the case.
As for me, being in the general vicinity of these events was quite enough. The location of Jesus’ activities means far less to me than all that he did. Though Jesus probably didn’t offer his Sermon on the Mount in this place, he certainly taught with every word and deed wherever he walked. Though the loaves and fish may not have fed five thousand in this place, Jesus certainly exhibited his compassion wherever he was. Perhaps this isn’t one of the places Jesus visited after he rose from the dead. Nonetheless, his assertion that there is life after this life lives on.
In addition to this inspiration, Tabgha’s Church of the Loaves and Fishes offers a tangible symbol of Jesus’ impact. The current church is built over the site of the original structure. It features amazing 5th century mosaics. This artwork includes a lovely depiction of a basket with four loaves of bread with two fish at its side. Our guide shared that, though the scriptures report that five loaves were multiplied, this artist offered only four. Our guide shared that the artist’s purpose was to elicit interest in that missing loaf. In the artist’s mind, the fifth loaf is the Body of Christ ever-present among us.
Dear God, though we’re not certain of where Jesus did all that he accomplished, we are certain that he changed everything for the good of us all. Thank you!
©2018 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved