The story text is found in John chapter six. The scene is breathtaking; Jesus is at the mountain top, surrounded by the beautiful Sea of Galilee and the multitude.
The thronging crowds were not attracted with the beautiful scenery. They were drawn to Jesus.
It was no small gathering. It was a crowd of five thousand eager listeners, come with one purpose; to listen to the words of life from their Rabbi; Jesus, the greatest teacher. Everything seemed perfect; but there was a problem. There was lack.
After the teaching is done and it is getting late in the evening Jesus feels compassion for the crowd and does not want to send them back hungry; just another of His unique attributes.
“Where can we buy bread for these to eat?” He asks and His disciples get busy with calculations. Philip adds up the cost and says “two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little” Of course it would certainly cost much to feed a crowd of five thousand. Andrew on the other hand had a no-investment-no risk suggestion. May not really work, he thinks but still goes ahead. “There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?” he announces unconvincingly. Both of them oblivious to the fact that Jesus has it all figured out, as always.
Verse six tells us “for He himself knew what He would do”.
There is a surprising, unexpected response from Jesus.
“Make the men sit down” He instructs.
Suddenly the setting has turned all the more beautiful. The same grassy mountain, the beautiful Sea of Galilee and now a little boy has willingly offered his only meal to Jesus; five loaves of barley and two fish.
Did the boy feel bad to give away his only meal to Jesus? Not an appropriate time to part with the only provision of the day. I do believe we would all be challenged and discomforted in such a situation. I’m not really sure I can imagine what exactly he felt at that moment. But what I can joyfully imagine is him watching in amazement as the Master took the meal, gave thanks to the Father and multiplied the meal in lavish abundance. Definitely makes me want to admire and applaud his desire to give his all to Jesus.
The story also reminds me of a time in my life when business was difficult and income was hard to come by. There was lack. Yet my mind was on Jesus. I wanted to learn more of His word. So I went ahead and made a small offering to attend a short term Bible course. And then I stood back and watched in awe as He multiplied my little and provided me with abundance, wiping out all the lack.
That’s the first time I realized that Jesus has it all figured out.
Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten.