You won't believe it!
“It was AMAZING!” Peter said to Jesus.
Peter was one of the twelve followers Jesus had chosen to help him tell the world about God’s incredible love. Jesus called them his disciples.
There was nothing special about these guys. They weren’t the smartest in their class - they probably didn’t even GO to class. Ever. They weren’t the biggest or the strongest. They weren’t star athletes, or ruggedly handsome, or movie stars (of course, they didn’t HAVE movies stars back then. That was mostly because they didn’t have movies!)
No, these guys were just ordinary, most likely smelly most of the time, fishermen.
What made them special was being with Jesus. It’s always that way. God takes the ordinary, and makes it extraordinary!
Anyway, a few days before, Jesus had sent the twelve of them out into the nearby villages to heal the sick and to tell the good news that the Kingdom of God was near.
“We could hardly believe our eyes!” Peter said, “People came to us who were sick - and we made them well!”
I think sometimes the disciples forgot just who Jesus was.
Of course they could do what Jesus sent them to do!
Jesus had filled them with his power. He wouldn’t send them out to do something without giving them the power to do it, would he?
But you can’t go around healing the sick without people starting to follow you - especially the ones who all of a sudden can see and walk!
So now a huge crowd was following Jesus and his disciples. They were all hoping to see more miracles.
But Jesus and his disciples were tired. They really needed to get away and get some rest.
The tried to get away in a boat. But it was no good. The crowd of people just ran along the shore after them.
Finally, Jesus got out of the boat and climbed to the top of a hill. He turned around, opened his arms, and welcomed everyone. He knew they were like sheep without a shepherd. And so he began to tell them some more about how much God loved them. And he healed many who were sick.
The crowd around him grew and grew.
Meanwhile, the disciples were getting nervous.
The crowd was very large now, and it was getting past dinner time. And, just like it was for the Israelites in the desert, there wasn’t a McDonald’s in sight. Well, there wouldn’t be for another couple of thousand years. It would be a little too late by then!
“What are we going to do?” the disciples started asking each other.
“Tell these people to go back to their homes,” James finally said to Jesus. “They are getting hungry, and there is nothing to eat here.”
Well, there WAS one little boy who had five loaves of bread and two fish.
(“Oh, oh,” the little boy thought. All of a sudden everyone seemed to be looking at him.)
Jesus said to Phillip, “You can feed this great crowd of people!”
“ME?!!!” Phillip said.
“How can I feed all these people! It would take me half a year to earn enough money to buy bread for all these people. And even then, it would only be enough for every one to have just a little”
Jesus must have known something the rest of them didn’t.
Just then Jesus saw the boy with the bread and the fish (the little boy was hiding his dinner behind his back now).
“There,” Jesus said, “there is enough food.”
“But, Jesus,” Andrew said. “He has only five loaves of bread and two fish. There must be five thousand men here, plus their wives and their sisters and their daughters. You can’t feed five thousand people with five loaves and two fish!”
“Ask the boy to come here,” Jesus said.
Jesus wrapped his arms around the little boy and smiled at him with a smile that seemed to warm the boy all over. “Would you share your bread and fish with us, so that we all can eat?” Jesus asked.
Five loaves of bread? And two fish? For all these people?! That can’t be possible! “This I have to see!” the boy must have thought to himself. And so, he said, “Sure!”
So Jesus told his disciples to have the people sit down on the grass in groups of fifty and a hundred.
Before, it was a great crowd of people. Now, they were gathered into little neighborhoods, laughing and talking with each other and becoming friends. That’s how God likes it.
Then Jesus took the bread, and he looked up to heaven and said, “Thank you, Father, for your great love and all your wonderful gifts!” Then he broke the bread and gave it to his disciples. They took the bread and began to hand it out to the people.
They kept handing it out and handing it out - and the amazing thing was, there was always more to give. Soon, everyone in that huge, huge crowd had some bread, and not just a little.
They all had as much bread as they wanted!
It was just like what happened a long time ago with Elisha and his hundred guests.
They did the same thing with the fish too.
And, just like with the bread, there always seemed to be another fish to hand out (even though it was a little harder handing out all those slippery fish!). How could that be?!!
Before long, every one - more than five thousand people - had all the bread and fish they wanted!
When they all had eaten their fill, Jesus said, “Now gather up what is left over, so that none will be lost.”
And so the disciples did as Jesus told them. They filled TWELVE baskets with the left over pieces of bread!
They started out with only five loaves, they fed over five thousand people - and they still had twelve baskets full of bread left over.
Now, that’s what I call wonder bread!
When the people saw all of this, they were amazed.
The ones who had been paying attention at Sabbath school were probably thinking, “Hey! Isn’t this just like how God gave our people manna in the desert?! Only GOD can do that!!!”
And so they said to each other,
“He has to be from God!”
The thing is ...
... the boy could have held onto his fish and his bread.
He could have said, “It’s mine! It’s mine! It’s mine! It belongs to me!” He could have held onto it real tight. And he would have had five loaves and two fish. He would have had enough to feed one person.
But instead he gave it all to Jesus.
And Jesus took his five loaves and two fish and fed over five thousand people.
What wonderful, amazing things God can do when we share what he has given us!
We might not think we have very much, but he can take the little we think we have, and multiple it a hundred times!
That’s how it is with God. He is so powerful, and has so much to give, there is always more than enough for everyone - there’s more left over than what we even had to start with!
...here is something more important than that here.
Jesus fed the five thousand people just like his father fed the Israelites in the desert, and just like his father in heaven multiplied the bread for the prophet Elisha.
It was something only God can do.
It was one of the real and powerful ways Jesus proved that he really is God’s son.
But even more important than that!
Later on Jesus said, “I am the Bread of Life. Whoever believes in me will never die, but will live forever!”
Jesus didn’t come to earth just to make sure we had enough bread to eat. He came to give us a different kind of bread, a bread that would make us live forever. But it isn’t the kind of bread you eat. It’s something called faith.
When you eat bread, it goes inside of you. It becomes part of you, and it keeps your body healthy and well. It gives you life.
That’s how it is with Jesus.
When you believe in Jesus, you let him inside of you. You let him inside your mind and your heart and your spirit. He becomes a part of you. He gives you life. That is how Jesus is the bread of life.
Jesus lives inside of you, and because of that, you will live with him forever.
God loves us, he cares for us always.
How wonderful God is!