Sunday, July 24, 2016
©Linda Goodman July 24, 2016
(This story is adapted from the book of John, Chapter 6, verses 1-14)
Once Jesus was preaching near the Sea of Galilee. A huge crowd of people had come to see him because rumor had it that Jesus would be healing the sick that day. Jesus did not disappoint. He made the deaf hear, the blind see, and the crippled whole. He also healed various skin diseases feared by the general populace.
Healing on such a scale left Jesus drained, so he retreated into the hills with his disciples to rest and renew his energy. The crowd, however, followed him. They did not want to let him out of their sight.
For his part, Jesus felt sorry for these people. They had spent an entire day with him, and there was no food to be had nearby. He knew that they must be hungry. “Where can we get food for this crowd?” Jesus asked his disciple Philip.
Philip was incredulous. “Lord, what are you suggesting? There are five thousand men in that crowd, and also women and children. We could work for months and still not have money enough to feed them all.”
A young boy overheard their conversation, and tugged on the robe of another disciple, Andrew. “I have a basket of bread and fish that my mother prepared for me,” the boy said. “It is too much food for a young boy like me to eat. Please take it and give it to the hungry people. My mother will not mind such a kindness.”
Andrew looked into the basket. Then he turned, laughing heartily, to Jesus and said, “Master, this young boy thinks that we can feed this crowd with only five loaves of bread and two fish!”
Jesus sighed. “O ye of little faith,” he muttered; then commanded Andrew, “Give me the bread.”
Andrew did as he was asked and gave all the loaves of bread to Jesus, who prayed over the bread and requested that his disciples distribute it to the people. Then he did the same thing with the fish.
The people were told to eat as much as they wanted. After all of them had eaten their fill, Jesus asked his disciples to gather the leftovers, so that there would be nothing wasted. The disciples did as they were asked and gathered twelve baskets of bread and fish. Jesus had used the contents of the young boy’s basket to work a miracle.
The Bible does not tell us the name or age of this young boy. It does not tell us if he went to school or what kind of work he would be trained to do. Nor does it tell us if he eventually raised a family; and yet today, more than 2,000 years later, the whole world knows about that young boy’s faith and kindness on this one specific day in his life, when he trusted Jesus to feed more than 5,000 people with the food he offered. To this very day, the story of his selfless act and his innocent faith on that one day is told in Sunday Schools and preached in sermons all over the world.