The Twelve disciples carried a collective worry as they saw the tremendous crowd following Jesus into the Galilean wilderness.
Attracting such a gathering implied certain responsibilities. Who would care for them? Who would dismiss them? How far would they follow Jesus away from their villages, homes, and lives? Jesus seemed totally unconcerned about these things. The Twelve did not know what He was planning as He selected an impressive mountainside as their stopping place. Turning to look behind Him, Jesus saw the vast multitude following Him. The feast of Passover was near so the multitude should have gathered at the Temple but there they were at the foot of a mountain in Galilee. What would Jesus do? Surely they were His responsibility.
A Test in the Wilderness
Knowing the thoughts of His men, Jesus decided to test them. He asked the one named Philip,
“Where shall we buy bread that these may eat?”
Philip did the math in his head and gave a reasonable answer.
“Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them,
that every one of them may have a little.”
Philip glanced at Judas who carried the meager funds Jesus and the men relied upon. Judas clutched the money bag to his heart and shook his head. The prognosis of Andrew hung in the air like a foul odor. Foreseeing the crisis, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother had surveyed the closest members of the multitude. He reported his findings.
“There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish,
but what are they among so many?”
It was a reasonable question. In normal circumstances, Andrew had a point, but following Jesus led to anything but normal circumstances.
A Miraculous Meal in the Wilderness
Jesus began His miracle, employing His men in the process.
“Make the people sit down.”
The grassy knoll was well chosen. The disciples organized the people instructing the men to sit down. Their wives and families followed; they counted 5000 men plus the women and children.
Jesus took the bread and fish, looked to heaven and gave thanks. Next, He distributed the blessed food to the Twelve. Uncertain looks passed between the men as each received his portion from the hands of Jesus. To their utter amazement, the food multiplied in Jesus’ hands until each man had his own equal supply. The bread and fish were strangely warm, as if the power of the Lord had heated it in the multiplication process.
Twelve Baskets Full
The strange, warm multiplication continued as each disciple supplied row after row of hungry people. In a little while, everyone had eaten his/her fill and there was still food left over, an almost invisible steam rising from each portion. Jesus told His men to gather the leftovers in baskets. Each of the disciples had a basket brimming with warm bread and fish.
The laughter of full bellies rippled through the crowd like a stone tossed into pool. Soon though, the laughter was overcome by a whispered confession, gathering force as it moved through the multitude:
“This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.”
The Twelve looked at their teeming baskets, the satisfied faces of the people, and the smile of Jesus. This was a meal they would never forget.
After these things Jesus went over the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias. Then a great multitude followed Him, because they saw His signs which He performed on those who were diseased. And Jesus went up on the mountain, and there He sat with His disciples. Now the Passover, a feast of the Jews, was near. Then Jesus lifted up His eyes, and seeing a great multitude coming toward Him, He said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?” But this He said to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do. Philip answered Him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little.” One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to Him, “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?” Then Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted. So when they were filled, He said to His disciples, “Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost.” Therefore they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten. Then those men, when they had seen the sign that Jesus did, said, “This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.”
Lord Jesus, You are Jehovah Jireh, the Lord Who Provides. To this day there is a multiplying warmth to Your touch. Time and time again, You have taken what we have to give and multiplied it to meet the need. I will trust You today to take my meager supply and heat it up, making it sufficient for the challenges facing me. May I never doubt the power and thoroughness of You, Lord Jesus! Amen.
Words and Music: Merla Watson
Jehovah Jireh My provider His grace is sufficient
For me, for me, for me
Jehovah Jireh My provider His grace is sufficient For me
My God shall supply all my needs
According to His riches in glory
He will give His angels Charge over me
Jehovah Jireh cares for me, for me, for me
Jehovah Jireh cares for me
© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved