ENCOUNTERS WITH JESUS

THE STARVING MULTITUDE

Common sense said 'Send this huge crowd away! There's thousands of people here, we cannot possibly feed them; it would take over eight months wages to buy enough bread!'

Compassion said: 'Feed them!'

Feed them? There is nothing more here than five small barley loaves and two little fish!

Nothing more?

Was not he who had commanded obedience from wind and waves also here? Was not he before whom demons cringed also here? Was not he who brought life from death also here?

He who in the beginning created all that exists from nothing does not need even these five small loaves and two small fish. At his original creative word nothing was suddenly everything.

Now, here in the Galilean countryside, at his touch, at his word, this small boy's lunch is suddenly more than enough for over five thousand people.

The truth about Jesus is uncovered here: that hidden behind the veil of his humanity is the Creator, by whom and for whom everything exists. He speaks and it is done.

Neither Matthew, Mark nor Luke record anything about the people's response. John reports that, thinking Jesus was the promised Prophet, they intended to make him king. That was as far as their minds could reach: to a human hero, a man blessed and favoured, even chosen, by God.

The thought that here was God himself in human flesh did not enter their minds, could not enter their minds. Their hardened hearts could not see what was right before their eyes. They simply did not understand the real meaning of what Jesus did with the loaves and the fishes.

Later, after another failure to believe, Jesus challenged the disciples: 'Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don't you remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand? Do you still not understand?'

This question, this challenge, comes also to us: do we see, do we understand, do we believe, that this Jesus is the Almighty Creator, the Lord of all?

Scriptures: Luke 9:10-17; Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:30-44; John 6:1-15; 1:1-4; Colossians 1:15-17; Mark 6:52; 8:17-21.

Copyright Rosemary Bardsley 2004,2008