Feeding of the 5,000: From five small loaves and two fish, Jesus created enough food to feed many more than 5,000 people. The Gospels tell us there were 5,000 men present, but Matthew adds that there were women and children there besides. Estimates of the crowd are as high as 20,000. But our God is a God of abundant provision, and little is much in the hands of the Lord. A poignant lesson is learned by seeing that, before He multiplied the loaves and fishes, Jesus commanded the multitude to sit down. This is a beautiful picture of the power of God to accomplish what we cannot, while we rest in Him. There was nothing the people could do to feed themselves; only He could do that. They had only a pittance, but in God’s hands it became a feast that was not only sufficient—it was bountiful.
Transfiguration: This event is referred to as the “Transfiguration,” meaning “a change in form,” because Jesus was changed before the eyes of Peter, James, and John into a reflection of His true nature. His divine glory radiated from Him, changing His face and clothing in such a way that the Gospel writers had trouble relating it. Just as the apostle John used many metaphors to describe what he saw in the visions of Revelation, so, too, did Matthew, Mark, and Luke have to resort to images like “lightning,” “the sun” and “light” to describe Jesus’ appearance. Truly, it was otherworldly. The appearance of Moses and Elijah to converse with Jesus shows us two things. First, the two men represent the Law and the Prophets, both of which foretold Jesus’ coming and His death. Second, the fact that they talked about His upcoming death in Jerusalem shows their foreknowledge of these events and the sovereign plan of God that was unfolding just as He had foreordained. God spoke from heaven and commanded the disciples to “Hear Him!” thereby stating that Jesus, not Moses and Elijah, now had the power and authority to command them.
Raising of Lazarus: Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha of Bethany, was a personal friend of Jesus, which is why Jesus was sent for by the family when Lazarus was sick. Jesus delayed several days before going to Bethany, knowing that Lazarus would be dead long enough by then to verify this amazing display of divine power. Only God has the power over life and death, and by raising Lazarus from the grave, Jesus was reiterating His authority as God and His supremacy over death. Through this incident, the Son of God would be glorified in an unmistakable way. As with many other miracles and incidents, one of the goals was that the disciples—and we—“may believe” . Jesus is who He said He was, and this most astounding of His miracles testifies to that fact. Jesus told Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life” and asked her if she believed what He was saying. This is the basis of the Christian life. We believe that Jesus is the very power of resurrection, and we trust in Him to give us eternal life through that power. We are buried with Him and raised by His authority over death. Only through His power can we be truly saved.
Triumphal entry: Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem the week before the crucifixion is the basis of what is known as Palm Sunday. The multitudes who greeted Him laid palm branches in the road for Him, but their worship of Him was short-lived. In just a few days, these same crowds would be calling for His death, shouting “Crucify him! Crucify him!” . But as He rode into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey’s colt—signifying His lowliness and humble state—He received the adoration of the crowd and their acknowledgement of His messianic claim. Even the little children welcomed Him, demonstrating that they knew what the Jewish leaders did not, that Jesus was the Messiah. Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem fulfilled the Old Testament prophecy of Zechariah repeated in John 12:15: “See, your king is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.”