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I read in the Quran (5:112-114)

And when the disciples said, 'O Jesus son of Mary, is your Lord able to bring down for us a feast from heaven?' He said, 'Fear God, if you are believers.'“ They said, “We wish to eat from it, so that our hearts may be reassured, and know that you have told us the truth, and be among those who witness it.” Jesus son of Mary said, “O God, our Lord, send down for us a table from heaven, to be a festival for us, for the first of us, and the last of us, and a sign from You; and provide for us; You are the Best of providers.”

I do not find this in the canonical Gospel accounts.

Is a similar account related in Christian literature?

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  • I have been studying the Bible for 20+ years and no of nothing similar. I cannot speak to extra-biblical christian writings. Commented Aug 13, 2022 at 13:18
  • I am presently editing an Gospel synopsis containing the 4 canonical Gospels and the Gospel of Thomas in full length, all Quran passages referring to Jesus, and later writings only if there is a good reason, e.g. go parallel with the Quran. So, there's no need to search well known literature as I did it already. Tafsir never cites pre-Quranic sources, and I know it.
    – Jeschu
    Commented Aug 13, 2022 at 13:39
  • Why are you including the gospel of Thomas, if you don't mind my asking? Commented Aug 13, 2022 at 13:42
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    I qualify it intrinsically "weak", lacking any trace of transmission but it supports some narrations that else would be single source, adding at least a second source, and it may contain further narratives that go back to Jesus.
    – Jeschu
    Commented Aug 13, 2022 at 13:54
  • The Gospel of Thomas was not written by Jesus’ disciple Thomas. Scraps of paper found in the binding of eight codices bear dates indicating that the books were made in the mid-fourth century. The Coptic texts could be many years earlier, of course. Some of the 114 sayings resemble sayings found in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Other sayings were unknown until their discovery (in 1945) or even run counter to what is written in the four Gospels. There is evidence that some of these gospels espouse Gnostic teachings.
    – Lesley
    Commented Aug 13, 2022 at 14:16

2 Answers 2

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In order to properly address your question, I went to an Islamic source commenting on Surah 5, verses 112-114, regarding a table provided by Jesus for the apostles. It is important to understand that verse 111 claims that the apostles of Jesus were Muslims.

Verses 109-120: Questioning messengers on the Day of Resurrection about the people’s responses, reminder of miracles of Jesus and the story of the table, dialogue between Jesus and His Lord on the Day of Resurrection, good consequences of the truthful:

The disciples requested Jesus to ask God to send down a feast for them from heaven. Jesus warned them, to which they responded that they simply wish to eat and to have their hearts reassured and that he has told them the truth and be witnesses to it. Jesus then prayed to the Lord to send down a feast from the heaven. God accepted the prayer of Jesus, but cautioned that anyone who disbelieves after seeing the sign will be given an exemplary punishment. Source: https://www.islamreligion.com/articles/11207/chapter-5-al-maidah-feast-part-3/

You ask if there is a similar account recorded in Christian literature. As you correctly observe, there is no mention of this in the gospel accounts, written under divine inspiration by men who knew Jesus and who recorded the events surrounding his life, death, and resurrection in the first century A.D.

We need to remember that when Jesus performed miracles his primary motivation was to address the spiritual needs of the people, not just their material needs. His kingdom is no part of this world (John18:36). After feeding 5,000 people from two fish and five barley loaves, Jesus makes this important point in John 6:27:

Do not labour for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.

In other words, they were so enthralled with the food, they were missing out on the fact that their Messiah had come. So the Jews ask Jesus for a sign that He was sent from God (as if the miraculous feeding and the walking across the water weren’t enough). They tell Jesus that God gave them manna during the desert wandering. Jesus responds by telling them that they need to ask for the true bread from heaven that gives life. When they ask Jesus for this bread, Jesus startles them by saying,

I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst (John 6:35).

There is a tentative link here, inasmuch as the account in the Quran suggests Jesus’ disciples wanted reassurance in the form of a miracle to establish the identity and claims of Jesus. The biblical account in John chapter 6 is a rebuke from Jesus to his disciples, directing them away from miracles to the fact that Jesus is the Son of Man and that he is the source of eternal life. His disciples did not perceive these events with spiritual eyes of understanding. Neither did the Jewish people who witnessed the many miracles Jesus performed.

Given that Islam believes Jesus was only a prophet (of Allah) and that his disciples were Muslims (verse 111), then the biblical account regarding the identity of Jesus is rejected by Muslims.

There are many Apocryphal and Gnostic gospels, written after the resurrection of Christ Jesus, but I have neither the time nor the inclination to search in extra-biblical writings for any story that reflects what the Quran says about the disciples asking Jesus to miraculously provide a feast from heaven. The genuine gospels make no mention of Jesus asking God to send a table from heaven laden with food to prove that God is “the best of providers”.

God sent us his one, his only Son, from heaven. Jesus is the bread of life. Jesus is the feast from heaven (spiritually speaking). All who believe in him are assured of eternal life:

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him (John 3:36).

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  • Thanks for your efforts. I also think that the event in the Quran does not refer to John 6 and parallel. The question has either no answer, or a specialist in Syriac literature might know something.
    – Jeschu
    Commented Aug 13, 2022 at 10:27
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OP: Is a similar account (feast of heaven) related in Christian literature?

Yes, there is. The feast of heaven is a future motif of the promise of blessing to Abraham for all.

And through your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed—all because you have obeyed me.” Gen 22:18

And so, Christ speaks of this feast in/of the kingdom of heaven.

And I tell you this, that many Gentiles will come from all over the world—from east and west—and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the feast in the Kingdom of Heaven. (NLT)

The promise to Abraham and descendants Isaac and Jacob has been fulfilled in Christ the provider.

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  • Good reference; I had not considered this link so far. I will have a look on variants and comments to Mt. 8:11 par.
    – Jeschu
    Commented Aug 13, 2022 at 16:33

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