Jesus feeds the 5,000
(based on Matthew 14:13-21, Mark 6:30-44, Luke 9:10-17 & John 6:1-15)
“Calev! Over here! You came just in time.” The excitement within the voice of the young man could not be contained as he slapped his friend on the shoulder of his tunic.
“I came as quickly as I could.” Calev answered, still a bit winded from running to the sea’s edge to meet up with the others. “My master said that I had finished my tasks at the dock for the day and could leave to follow Baruch at once.”
Baruch, whom had also just sat down, quickly accepted the basket of bread and fish for those seated around them from Jesus’ disciple, Philip. As the disciple of Jesus walked to yet another group of one hundred people gathered within the grass near the shore of the Sea of Galilee, the young men began to talk of the recent news.
“Did you hear what happened to the man called John the Baptist?” Calev asked quietly. “The whole city is buzzing with questions of what Jesus will do. That was His cousin, you know.”
“If you ask me,” Seth began with a mouth full of bread and a piece hanging from his beard, “there is something very unique about this Jesus.”
Seth’s wife, Eliana, agreed as she tucked her hair back under her head covering before continuing, “This Jesus of Nazareth has amazed and astonished those from every social and economic circle. He truly seems like a god in nature.”
The large crowd continued to grab bread out of the baskets from the middle of their arranged groups as they reclined on the ground. In this time, the sun began to set behind the mountains.
Baruch looked at Jesus in the distance, who was healing the sick along the shore. “I wouldn’t have believed it if I would not have seen it with my own eyes.”
“What do you mean, Baruch?” His brother Calev seemed puzzled.
“When aunt Miriam told us about the wedding she had attended a few summers back—you remember—the one that she had us work her shift in order for her to attend the event—well, she spoke of the wine running out! Aunt Miriam then told us that a woman, she said that the woman was the mother of this Jesus, went to those running the party and had them do as Jesus then instructed. What Aunt Miriam said next sounded so crazy, I just blew it off as one of her embellished stories. But, seeing this Jesus of Nazareth healing people on the shore, right now before my eyes, makes me think that perhaps Jesus really did do what Aunt Miriam said took place at that wedding. Maybe He really did turn water into wine—and it taste so good that others wondered why the good wine had been saved until that point in the wedding festivities—you know—seeing as most can’t tell the difference by that point of drinking anyway.”
“Yeah,” Calev recalled, “I too remember Aunt Miriam speaking adamantly about the water being changed into wine. No way! Guys, look at that!” All of the young men looked down to the water’s edge where Calev was frantically pointing. “That man, do you recognize him?!” The friends’ countenance each turned to shock as they saw the man not only standing, but jumping around. “That is old man Gamliel, the one who has sat crippled outside our city gates for the past decade after his accident! Look! He is no longer being carried by his friends! See, there are his closest friends Aharon, Gidon, Meshulam and mighty Hillel! After being touched by Jesus, he and his friends are jumping for joy and shouting in laughter!” The young men were amazed and laughed in sheer wonderment of the day’s events that continued to unfold before them.
“This is truly amazing.” Seth took a deep breath as he tried to make his brain accept all of the healings taking place by Jesus right before his eyes. Seth was a very logical man and nothing that they had experienced since following Jesus earlier in the day had been logical. As he ran his fingers through his dark curls, Seth noted the food that remained in the basket before them. “Guys, I am completely stuffed. I cannot finish the food in the basket. How about you?” All agreed that they could not take another single bite. Soon another of Jesus’ disciples, Luke, came around to collect any left over pieces of bread or remaining fish. When all was said and accounted for, twelve baskets were full to the brim, after the masses had grown completely satisfied.
Yigal, whom had been silently eating until this point finally spoke. “To think, each one of us have been fed by the tiny amount of food that was blessed by Jesus after He looked up to heaven to pray. Why, there must be about five thousand men; not to mention all the women and children bustling around as well.”
Eliana’s married older sister, Talia, agreed. “Yes, at least five thousand men alone to be sure! This is remarkable!”
“Yeah,” Seth added. “How incredible that the very meaning of our town, Bethsaida, means ‘house of fish’—and like you said, Yigal, bread and fish were miraculously provided for this entire mass of people! To be honest, I will never be the same after this encounter with Jesus of Nazareth!”
“Wait a minute, guys.” Yigal noted to his older friends. “Jesus is having His disciples get into the boat along the shore. They are leaving! Should we follow them again?!” Yigal himself was just fifteen years old.
“Look, Jesus is speaking! Quiet down everyone. I want to hear!” Baruch shouted as he pushed his palms to the ground. He was the noted leader of their group of friends. All stood up to hear what Jesus had to say. Jesus dismissed the masses for the evening and withdrew to the mountainside by Himself to pray. The day had seemed like something out of a dream for the group of young friends. Food for a population greater than a town from only five tiny loaves and two small fish, healings of men, women and children at the hands of Jesus and now, realizations that previous accounts of this Jesus of Nazareth were indeed verified and trustworthy. It was obvious that this man, Jesus of Nazareth, was not merely the son of a carpenter. No, this Jesus was connected to God Himself. And after today, many were added to the number of those who trusted their lives and hearts to the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth; the true Messiah.