The sun was at its peak in the middle of the day. Radiance danced across the lake as the young Rabbi spoke from a small boat. His voice filled the entire expanse. It was a voice of authority – a strong, yet gentle voice that could be heard by everyone. There were 5000 men and almost as many women and children. The power that came from the Master’s voice was filled with hope and promise – words that had been lost in their years of oppression – words they longed to hear. They clung to every one of them and couldn’t get enough of Him.
Day waned into twilight, and as the sun began to set, Jesus came ashore. His disciples were concerned by the number of people who had gathered. It was getting late and they hadn’t eaten all day. They were tired and, I imagine a bit cranky, thinking about having to provide food for this crowd. They told Jesus to dismiss the people so they could go and buy their own dinner. The Lord said they should provide the food. One, most likely the keeper of the treasury, thought of the cost and said it was impossible.
A young boy, overheard their conversation. He thought about the five loaves and two fish he had in his basket – leftovers from his earlier meal. His heart was full after a day of listening to the words spoken by the Man. His tummy was growling a little. He knew his meager meal wouldn’t be of much help in feeding such a crowd, but he also had a feeling about Jesus. This was no ordinary man. He seemed to sense that something miraculous was about to happen.
He meekly approached the disciples and generously offered his meal. Jesus gentle eyes thanked the boy and His hands blessed the food. He told the men to distribute the food . They did as He asked and it was if the contents of the basket had no end. When all had eaten more than their fill, the leftovers were collected. Leftovers!
When I reread this story, I think about God’s provision in action. He has no problem filling the needs of His people. He’s constantly taking care of thousands, millions and billions of those who cry out for His grace and mercy. He does these things because He loves us – ALL OF US. His love extends far beyond the dinner table though. In just a short time He would subject Himself to humiliation, scorn, beating, having his flesh cut and pierced to a cross. He would suffer and die on our behalf.
Even from that cross, Jesus was concerned for others. He provided for His mother’s care. He invited the convicted thief to join Him in paradise. He finished the work that His Father had intended Him to do. He offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice for the remission of the sins of the entire world.
When He came back to life on the third day, He demonstrated His power over His own death. Through that act, He gives us the promise of the same thing. We no longer need to fear the pangs of death.
Through His life, we will live forever in His kingdom, where hunger, pain and tears do not exist. Oh give thanks unto the Lord. His mercy endures forever!