The background of the passage in Kings is of a famine in the land. The prophet Elisha is found in the process of feeding the faithful, following the instructions of God. Elisha spoke the Word of God to the kings of Israel in the midst of three corrupt kingships. He was generally ignored, but he remained faithful.
Some in the Northern Kingdom listened and it is they who received the help of the Lord. One of the faithful brought 20 loaves of barley bread to Elisha. These were small loaves, more in the range of a modern dinner roll. We are told that 100 people ate from the loaves and there was bread left.
The similarity with Jesus feeding the 5,000 is obvious, but there is one point that we too often overlook. For Jesus, in addition to meeting the needs of people, it was about fulfilling the prophecy regarding the Messiah. When John was in prison and sent his disciples to Jesus to ask if he was indeed the Messiah, Jesus told them, “Go back and tell John what’s going on:
The blind see,
The lame walk,
Lepers are cleansed,
The deaf hear,
The dead are raised,
The wretched of the earth learn that God is on their side.
“Is this what you were expecting? Then count yourselves most blessed!” MSG
Not only was Jesus going about the business of being the Son of Man, he was proving that he was the true Son, the promised Messiah.
Look at all the recorded miracles of Jesus and you will see a lesson. This lesson is that God feeds us the Bread of Life. Jesus even said I am the bread of life. NIV This is not a promise that all of God’s faithful will eat all they want every day. Some of the faithful will starve to death and many will go hungry most of their lives.
The Bread of Life is the gift of God that will be rewarded to the faithful in the New Jerusalem.
Be righteous and do good.