How could something go so badly, having just satisfactorily fed well over 5,000 people, from five small loaves and two small fish?
There are times when people just have to be told to sit down.
Jesus Christ returns from Jerusalem and a great crowd follow him around the northern shores of the Sea of Galilee. They knew ‘the water into wine man’ was back in town.
He realised they had travelled far, and would be tired and possibly hungry.
Jesus tests disciple Philip, asking where they could buy bread for everyone to be fed and satisfied, although Jesus knew what he was going to do.
He is concerned about the people because he cares. He still cares.
Philip’s calculating pessimism is expressed. We do not have enough money for this vast number.
Disciple Andrew mentions that there is a boy here with five small barley rolls and two small fish, but that is not very much among so many.
Barley bread was the bread of poorer people – wheat bread being for those who could afford it.
Jesus commands the people to sit down. He took the bread and the fish, gave thanks, and started breaking it, distributing what he was creating, to the people.
The Creator was creating, and he continued until everyone was fed and filled and satisfied, including the wee boy.
Never assess difficulties in the light of your own limited resources. Little becomes much in the hands of God.
This miracle appears in all four Gospels, and that has its own significance.
Jesus Christ wants no-one to remain unfed, unfilled or dissatisfied.
John calls this miracle, a sign, signalling who Jesus is. His authoritative signature underwrites what he says and does.
His insignia is revealed to those who have eyes to see, as he demonstrates his powerful creative concern.
If people had been unwilling to sit in obedience, would they have been fed?
Jesus had taken what he had been given, and he created sufficient to feed those who had travelled to meet and hear him.
When the disciples gathered up the crumbs, there appeared to be more left over than they had at the start. Jesus Christ does not like waste, whether it be food, resources, money or time.
Were there gasps when the disciples filled twelve baskets? Did these men look at each other, wonderingly?
Everyone seemed to know this was a miracle, and they assumed that he was the prophet who was to come. They had waited a thousand years for this man to appear.
Jesus overheard suggestions that they should make him king, and do so by force.
He quietly slipped away.
These people were ‘nationalists’, living in a land governed by Rome, and the Passover approached.
If you have someone who can feed you without your having to put your hand in your pocket, and heal your body if you are sick, then why not make him king?
Imagine what was going through their minds – liberated from Rome, free food for life, and an amazing GP on our doorstep?
Off your throne king Herod – this will be our new king!
Crowds do become excited about Jesus – a socialist Jesus, a capitalist Jesus, a revolutionary Jesus, a ‘Santa Claus’ type Jesus, a feeding and healing Jesus.
He walks away from such notions.
He does not just give bread. He is the bread, and very few saw that, and within a few hours many deserted him.
Here is a King who would not be a king.