Happy Friday!! A small snapshot into what might be Jesus’ most famous miracle. I’ve never shared on the feeding of the 5000. I’m not going very far into it here, I will be coming back and spending some time on this one. It’s one of the very few scenes that is shared in all four Gospel accounts. It’s a big deal.
This morning I am going to focus on a very small detail within this story, a detail left out of Matthew, Luke and Mark. It’s a seemingly tiny detail within a story of a fantastic miracle of God. A tiny detail that tells us so much about faith in Christ, and maybe what Jesus means when he says to his disciples – “….”Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3-4 ESV
Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a large crowd was coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?” He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do. Jesus, the fisher of men, hanging a little bait for one of His disciples. Jesus knew Philip thought this was impossible. Not only did Philip think it was impossible – it WAS impossible. There was no 7-11 on the corner, no where near to buy bread for these people. Even if there was, it really was a LARGE crowd of people. Estimated in the bible at 5000, I’ve read that it may have actually been up to 25000 people. But Jesus is making a point which He would reinforce later – “Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.” Mark 10:27 ESV
Philip answered him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread would not be enough for each of them to get a little.” Philip says what I would have said. I don’t know offhand what 200 denarii was worth, but it was a large sum of money. And yes, I’m sure I would have asked “How are we going to pay for this?” Because like Philip, I think in human terms.
One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?” Finally – one of the unknown heroes of the bible! 5000 people (at least), and this boy is the only one who packed a lunch? I don’t think so. I think lots of people had food with them. They had all come on quite a walk to catch up with Jesus here. (Jesus was actually trying to get away and hide from the crowd, but that’s for another day). They knew there would be no food wherever they were going. At this time, I’m sure most people packed their lunches regardless of where they were heading. After all, how else would you eat?
But this boy is the only one who offers his lunch. “Here Jesus – take all I have.” He probably felt silly doing it. Some probably snickered and muttered under their breath – “That’s really going to help??!!” But this boy had faith in Jesus, faith enough to step out of his comfort zone to offer his bread and fish to the one who is the bread of life. A young boy who was unafraid to offer bread to those who obviously needed it, but might not even want it.
Are you willing to step out in faith and offer the bread of life to the hungry around us? Or are you like the 99% who would just stay in their own comfort zone, and keep all their bread for themselves?
They say the devil is in the details. In this story, the love of God was in the details. God always works through people. On this day, He worked through a young boy with just enough faith to move his own mountain of fear and see a miracle happen. He has sent us out to offer his living bread to the starving all around us. Sharing our bread can be uncomfortable, even scary. We might get laughed at, we might be mocked. But maybe, just maybe, we will witness a miracle and see 5000 people fed with one one tiny lunch.
“Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a large crowd was coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?” He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread would not be enough for each of them to get a little.” One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?””
John 6:5-9 ESV