This Sunday we continue our “Tales of the Sea” worship series with a story that is in all four Gospels. The story of the Loaves and Fishes, often called the Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes, or the Miracle of Multiplication, is a story of multiplication through generous sharing.
Jesus and the Disciples were in an isolated place by the Sea of Galilee. It was getting late. The crowds were getting restless — and hungry. The only solution Jesus’ Disciples could imagine was sending the crowds away to fend for themselves. But, Jesus could envision another possibility. He said to his disciples, “There’s no need to send them away. You give them something to eat.”
What an impossible task! Can’t you just imagine the Disciples looking at one another in disbelief? They surveyed the paltry amount of food they had brought with them and responded, “We have nothing here except five loaves of bread and two fish.” I can imagine them shaking their heads as they looked out on the crowd. What could they do with so little?
The crowd had swelled to 5,000 men — not including the women and children. A lot of hungry people were standing there staring at them, waiting.
So then Jesus asked the Disciples to hand him the loaves and fishes. He took them, and blessed them, and broke them apart. He then gave them to the Disciples, and the Disciples began passing them out to the crowd. They looked on with incredulity as the crowd passed the food among themselves, shared the food, and there was not only enough to go around, but 12 baskets left over.
Now, here are the questions I’d like for you to ponder: What do you think really happened that day? What do you think you would have seen and experienced if you had been in that crowd?
Maybe we should rename this story “The Miracle of Generosity.” It is a story that goes beyond bread and fish shared two thousand years ago. It is a story about the miracle of generosity and abundance today. We’ll think about that together on Sunday.
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster,
Feeding the five thousand
When Jesus heard about John, he withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by himself. When the crowds learned this, they followed him on foot from the cities. When Jesus arrived and saw a large crowd, he had compassion for them and healed those who were sick. That evening his disciples came and said to him, “This is an isolated place and it’s getting late. Send the crowds away so they can go into the villages and buy food for themselves.”
But Jesus said to them, “There’s no need to send them away. You give them something to eat.”
They replied, “We have nothing here except five loaves of bread and two fish.”
He said, “Bring them here to me.” He ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. He took the five loaves of bread and the two fish, looked up to heaven, blessed them and broke the loaves apart and gave them to his disciples. Then the disciples gave them to the crowds. Everyone ate until they were full, and they filled twelve baskets with the leftovers. About five thousand men plus women and children had eaten.