1After this, Jesus crossed over to the far side of the Sea of Galilee, also known as the Sea of Tiberias.2A huge crowd kept following him wherever he went, because they saw his miraculous signs as he healed the sick.3Then Jesus climbed a hill and sat down with his disciples around him.4(It was nearly time for the Jewish Passover celebration.)5Jesus soon saw a huge crowd of people coming to look for him. Turning to Philip, he asked, “Where can we buy bread to feed all these people?”6He was testing Philip, for he already knew what he was going to do.
7Philip replied, “Even if we worked for months, we wouldn’t have enough money to feed them!”
8Then Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up.9“There’s a young boy here with five barley loaves and two fish. But what good is that with this huge crowd?”
10“Tell everyone to sit down,” Jesus said. So they all sat down on the grassy slopes. (The men alone numbered about 5,000.)11Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks to God, and distributed them to the people. Afterward he did the same with the fish. And they all ate as much as they wanted.12After everyone was full, Jesus told his disciples, “Now gather the leftovers, so that nothing is wasted.”13So they picked up the pieces and filled twelve baskets with scraps left by the people who had eaten from the five barley loaves.
14When the people saw him do this miraculous sign, they exclaimed, “Surely, he is the Prophet we have been expecting!”15When Jesus saw that they were ready to force him to be their king, he slipped away into the hills by himself.
I never know where to begin with a story like this. It is simple, but yet there are so many fine details. Why does Jesus even feel the need to feed the crowd? It is crazy talk – just ask Philip. But Jesus is God and God does care for his followers. In feeding the crowd Jesus is doing exactly what he did for the Israelites when the left Egypt and wandered in the desert for 40 years. Then he fed them with manna, now he is using barley loaves.
And then there is the source of the meal. It came from a young boy, not a rich person or even an adult. The bread was made of barley, which was the grain of the poor. It was a poor man’s meal from a young child who obviously was willing to give it to Jesus. Can anyone say “child-like faith”? So Jesus did this wonderful miracle using the faith of a child, and the meal of poor family. Our gifts are never too small.
Finally the crowd wants to make him king, and Jesus runs and hides. He has no desire for worldly rewards and worldly power. He knows he is already THE KING, being a king here is a demotion! No, Jesus came to serve, not to be served, and we must do the same.
Lord, let me be willing to give the small gift and trust you to multiply it. Change my heart so I don’t want worldly pleasures and glory. And give me faith to trust you to care for us in all situations. *obbs*