When Jesus heard about John, he withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by himself. When the crowds learned this, they followed him on foot from the cities. When Jesus arrived and saw a large crowd, he had compassion for them and healed those who were sick. That evening his disciples came and said to him, “This is an isolated place and it’s getting late. Send the crowds away so they can go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” But Jesus said to them, “There’s no need to send them away. You give them something to eat.” They replied, “We have nothing here except five loaves of bread and two fish.” He said, “Bring them here to me.” He ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. He took the five loaves of bread and the two fish, looked up to heaven, blessed them and broke the loaves apart and gave them to his disciples. Then the disciples gave them to the crowds. Everyone ate until they were full, and they filled twelve baskets with the leftovers. About five thousand men plus women and children had eaten (Matthew 14:13-21, Common English Bible).
It has always seemed odd to me that we call this story the feeding of the 5000. It is probably because adult men were the only people who truly counted in the Biblical era. Children were nobodies as were women. When a male child was fully grown, he would have been included in the count. The others, never would be.
In reality, Jesus and the disciples fed far more people than 5000 in this story. The Scriptures tell us it was “5000 men plus women and children.” While that number is a high number of people considering they were trying to feed them all with two fish and five loaves of bread, in reality it was much, much higher.
I did a little research in preparation for this post. I discovered there are 4.2 children in an average Jewish home. If we calculate that out figuring in a woman and 4 children per household we are talking about 31000 people who were there that day. And, while I am sure there were men there who were not married, what if we take 11,000, we are still left with 20,000 people to feed with a young man’s lunch.
Imagine, if you can, what it would be like to watch and see this story unfold. You have followed Jesus over from across the sea. Now the day is coming to an end. You are hungry. Then you see something going on, something with Jesus and his disciples. He holds up the fish and breaks them apart. He then holds up the bread and breaks it apart and the disciples make their way out into the crowds.
Your hungry. You would really like some of the food but there are so many people here. You can’t possibly expect to receive any of the food. There are just too many people. But, you are wrong. Here comes Thaddeus, he comes to the group of people where you are sitting and he hands you both bread and fish. The serving you receive looks to be as large as the five loaves and two fish Jesus had at the very beginning. What is more, as the basket passes around your group, it never looks like anything is taken from it. Thaddeus says, “Don’t be shy. Take what you want. Eat your fill. There is plenty here.”
In the end, not only do you eat your fill, everyone else around you does too. Word spreads quickly as people talk about what they are experiencing. Everyone, all 20,000+ people have eaten their fill off of five loaves of bread and two fish. You have just been part of something amazing.
There is food for all and even some left over. In the end, you recognize you have seen a miracle take place right in front of your eyes. What an event to experience.
How does Jesus allow you to have your fill?
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Joy and Thanksgiving,
Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved