Jesus’ disciples have just returned from their first mission trip. They are excited about all they have seen and done. They can’t wait to tell Jesus how successful it was. Jesus wanted to hear all about it too, but not where they were at.
When Jesus sent His disciples out to share His message, even more people were able to hear the gospel. Which in turn caused more people to follow Jesus and His disciples. There were so many people that night, when the disciples got back to Jesus that they couldn’t even eat. Everyone wanted to talk to them or ask them for something. Jesus knew that His disciples were tired and needed a rest.
So Jesus tells His group that they are going to sneak away to an isolated place for some rest and alone time. But the people figured out their destination and rushed ahead and beat them to where they were going. These people were HUNGRY for what Jesus and His disciples had been serving. They wanted more and they were willing to do whatever it took to get it.
When Jesus and His disciples made it to their destination they found the crowd already there. I’m a little curious about this. Was this a regular stopping point for Jesus or was there no other port accessible, given their starting location and sailing direction? How did the people know where to wait for Jesus and His group?
However it happened, Jesus was faced with a sea of humanity seeking His direction and healing power. We are not told if Jesus performed healings in that place, but I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to find out He did. What we do know is that Jesus personally ministered to the WHOLE group of people. He let His disciples rest while He tended to the people. And that took ALL day. He taught them “many things” until it grew late in the day.
By now everyone is physically hungry and tired. Nobody came prepared for an all-day sermon. The disciples want Jesus to send the crowd away so that each one could get into town to buy something to eat. Jesus didn’t want to do that. He wanted to satisfy their stomach’s hunger after satisfying their soul’s hunger. So Jesus tells His disciples to feed the people.
“WHAT!? How are we supposed to do that? Are we to spend almost a year’s worth of wages on this group?” I doubt they even had that much money in their treasury. Jesus didn’t ask them if they had that much money, He asked instead how much food they had on hand. This was another faith stretching experience in the making.
The disciples went and found out the extent of their supplies; five loaves and two small fish. Not nearly enough to feed them, let alone this huge crowd. But Jesus tells them that this is what is for dinner. He told His disciples to have the crowd sit down in groups. I have no idea how they grouped up, especially the large groups, but they did as they were told. I’m going to bank on everyone expecting some kind of miracle from Jesus when He gave them their instructions. I can almost see the crowd and the disciples hurrying to complete the task of getting everyone seated so they could see what Jesus was up to.
Once everyone is seated, all eyes are on Jesus. Did they have any idea dinner was about to be served? Jesus held the small portion of food available in His hands as He prayed for God to bless it. What was the atmosphere among the crowd? I’m sure they fit all four of our soil types here. Some busy think about other things. Some eager to hear what Jesus would come up with next. Some believing Jesus was about to do a miracle but distracted by their own needs. And some hanging on Jesus’ every move in expectancy.
Jesus broke the bread and began handing it out to His disciple who when gave it to the people. Jesus then did the same with the fish. I don’t know how long it took to serve that huge group but EVERYONE was served and ate enough to fill their bellies.
At the end of dinner Jesus had His disciples collect the leftovers. They filled twelve baskets full of leftovers out of five loaves of bread and two small fish. That was a miracle worth waiting for! Now it was time for the crowd to go home.
One of the most awe inspiring things about that day was that all were welcome at Jesus’ table. He and His disciples didn’t only serve those who were “true believers” but everyone in attendance. He didn’t discriminate when presenting His teaching or His food. ALL were satisfied by what Jesus gave that day, both physically and spiritually.
Jesus, it is always amazing to read Your stories, but this one is special. You touched so many lives that day, spiritually and physically. Did those sharing that meal with You let Your message sink in a little deeper? Did they willingly let You end the day with them or did some of them try to stay on longer? Did anyone bring home a “doggy bag” from dinner? If so, did they try their hand at “multiplication?”
Thank You that You didn’t leave anyone out. It is quite possible that this meal moved even a few from the thorns soil into the good soil. Thank You for never giving up on us, no matter what. Thank You that You do satisfy our souls every day. I look forward to seeing what You are “serving” each day.