It was getting close to the time of the Passover Feast when Jesus and His disciples crossed over the Sea of Galilee, climbed to the top of a hill, and sat down together. He had been followed by huge crowds of people, wherever He went, because they had seen how many of the sick He had healed. And, as they looked around from the top of the hill, they saw that this time was no exception; a great crowd was looking for Him.Jesus turned to Philip and asked, ” Where can we buy bread to feed all these people?” He of course, was interested in how Philip would respond; He was not really looking for a solution.
And Philip, like so many of us, looking around at the situation, replied ” It would take more than a couple hundred days’ wages to feed them all.” Overhearing this, Andrew volunteered “There’s a young boy here with five barley loaves and two fish. But that’s not going to do anything for this great crowd.”
“Have them all sit down,” Jesus instructed. And eventually, the whole crowd, 5000 men plus women and children, was seated on the grass on the hillside.
Jesus took the bread, gave thanks to His Father, and broke it into pieces. He did the same with the fish, having His disciples distribute them to the seated crowds. Everyone ate as much as they wished, and when Jesus had His disciples gather the remnants, so that there would be no waste, they filled twelve baskets with the pieces of bread and fish.
In this story, we find human nature illustrated in the crowds that were always seeking a new thrill. We find ourselves illustrated in the disciples– they were with Jesus and loved Him and followed Him, yet continually found that they needed to grow spiritually in order to become like Him. And we find Jesus Himself, compassionate toward the crowds, gentle in training His disciples. We find Him thanking His Father for the provision, and distributing it in abundance to the whole crowd, yet gathering the leftover pieces so there would be nothing wasted.