‘In those days, when again a great crowd had gathered, and they had nothing to eat, he called his disciples to him and said to them, “I have compassion on the crowd, because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. And if I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way. And some of them have come from far away.”‘
These are the words of Jesus to his disciples. This crowd has been following for a few days, they are hungry, and Jesus has compassion on them. He wants to feed them. That is Jesus purpose, he wants to feed people!
And of course, the disciples remembered that he fed 5000 people before, with five loaves and two fish. They remember that Jesus multiplied the food and that twelve baskets of leftovers were collected up.
Except they didn’t. Their reply?
“How can one feed these people with bread here in this desolate place?”
So Jesus asks them; “How many loaves do you have?” And they reply, “Seven.” And we find out they had a few small fish too.
Seven loaves and a few small fish. They actually had bread and fish. And it’s more than Jesus had to feed 5000 people. Jesus broke the bread and shared out the fish, everyone was satisfied and seven baskets of leftovers were collected up.
So despite the fact that this time they actually have food, and they have more food than they did when the 5000 were fed, they don’t see how it’s possible “here in this desolate place.”
But this story continues. They get into a boat, Jesus has a discussion with the pharisees when they arrive in Dalmanutha before getting into the boat again and leaving.
And we pick it up here.
“Now they had forgotten to bring bread, and they had only one loaf with them in the boat.”
They had forgotten to bring bread, but they had one loaf with them in the boat. Good news! One loaf between 13 should be easy!
But no, it doesn’t quite go like that.
“And they began discussing with one another the fact that they had no bread.”
Er, sorry? No bread? You’ve got a loaf in the boat with you! No bread??? This must be a joke….
I don’t get it.
Jesus reminds them of what has happened before.
“And Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why are you discussing the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear? And do you not remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” They said to him, “Twelve.” “And the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?”And they said to him, “Seven.” And he said to them, “Do you not yet understand?”
At times we may feel like the situation we are in is a desolate place. Sometimes we may wonder if we can feed anyone with Bread in this desolate place. Whether it be the desolate place they are in or we are in, or in together! The way we feel isn’t an indication of what we have. We may feel desolate, isolated, or even lost. And yet the Father will always give us his Son, the True Bread of Heaven. And all we have to do is receive!
At other times we may be completely unaware of what we have, thinking that we have nothing to give to anyone.
We always have Bread! As long as it’s today, the Father gives our Daily Bread. Today, we have been given all we need to feed people by the Father, whether we are in a desolate place or not.
It doesn’t matter if we’re in a desolate place, a boat, or a place of plenty. If we have the Bread, we have all we need and all that others need. Everyone can and will be fed.
It doesn’t matter how much of the Bread we have. If we have Bread, we have all that we need! Five loaves, seven loaves, one loaf. It’s all the same to him. It’s the Bread that matters not the amount of it. That is the wonder of the gift that the Father gives to us, Jesus himself, the Bread of Life.
Jesus says to you and I today. “Do you remember? We’ve been here before. You have everything. You have me, the Bread of Life. Don’t look at the desolate place. Don’t look at what you haven’t got. Look at what you have. The True Bread! It’s yours! Now feed my sheep.”
Eat the Bread, drink the Living Water. Understand?