Jesus Feeds The 5000

Written by Rosie Smith

Jonathan’s eyes sprang open.

“Today’s the day!” He thought to himself. “Today I get to see Jesus in real life!” 

He rolled up his sleeping mat and hurriedly put on his tunic and sandals.

“I hope I’m not too late” he muttered to himself. There was a long journey ahead of him before he reached the shores of Galilee where Jesus was said to be. Many said He was a prophet, and some claimed Him to be the Messiah Himself!

Running out the door he suddenly  heard his voice.

“Jonathan!” It was his mother. “Don’t forget this!”

Jonathan stopped in his tracks, and  let out an impatient sigh.

“Mother, I’m already late” he huffed.

“You’ll need this” she said, handing him a worn leather bag and sneaking a kiss on his forehead. “Travel safe, and don’t come home too late -“

But before she could finish her sentence Jonathan was already down the road.

“Bye Mother!” he yelled , as he ran towards the hills.

As the sun beat down on his head Jonathan slowed to a walk. Drops of sweat dripped from his forehead.

“I might as well have a rest now” he thought, slumping down on the grass. He opened his bag, hoping his mother had packed some water to quench his thirst.  To his relief, he saw a waterskin tucked inside. He took a few sips then rummaged through the rest of the bag  to see what else was in there. Wrapped in brown wax paper he  discovered two small fish and five barley loaves. He smiled to himself, thankful that his mother had forced him to take the bag after all.

It must have been mid-morning when Jonathan finally arrived. Countless boats were anchored around the shore and thousands of people streamed from nearby towns and villages. It seemed everybody had heard that Jesus was coming. Jonathan quickly maneuvered his way through the thick crowds, climbing up the hill to try and get as close to Jesus as possible. Being young and fit, he easily overtook the multitude, which included men, women  and children of all ages. Standing on his tip-toes he looked towards the top of the hill.

“There!” he gasped, short of breath from the arduous climb.

Just a short distance away was Jesus. Although an ordinary man by appearance, He seemed to glow with a divine atmosphere. His tender brown eyes looked upon the people with compassion. There was something about Jesus that was different.

The hustle and bustle of the moving crowd suddenly grew quiet. Jesus was speaking. His deep voice easily carried down the hills to reach the eager ears of the people. Jonathan stood in awe as he listened to His words. It was unlike anything he had heard before, yet it resonated deep  within him. Time seemed to stand still as Jonathan tried to soak up every word.

Minutes turned into hours as Jesus taught the people. Every now and then people with all manner of sickness and physical maladies were brought to Him. Without hesitation Jesus reached out His hands to touch them, speaking words of forgiveness and healing. Jonathan could hardly believe his eyes as he saw people who couldn’t walk leap to their feet, and blind people suddenly being able to see! The hills resounded with shouts of joy  and ‘hallelujahs’.

All too quickly the sun began to sink towards the horizon. Jonathan hadn’t realised how late it had gotten. His stomach gurgled inside him,  reminding him that he hadn’t eaten all day. So engrossed was he by listening to Jesus he hadn’t even thought about food. He wasn’t the only one. All around him people appeared faint and weary.  The disciples gathered around Jesus and Jonathan crept closer to listen.

“Rabbi, this is a deserted place, and it’s getting late” one said to Jesus.

“Send them away, that they may go into the villages and buy food; for they have nothing to eat” suggested another.

Jesus looked out at the multitude. His eyes were full of pity as he saw their need; despite His own tiredness.

“They don’t need to go away.” He said calmly, “you give them something to eat”.

The disciples stared at Him in amazement. Then they all seemed to speak at once.

“Where could we get that much food?”

“There must be 5000 men here and that’s not counting women and children!”

“It would cost at least two hundred denarii to feed this many people!”

“Find out what we have” Jesus replied. The disciples hesitated, then walked away, asking if anyone had food to share.

Jonathan’s heart pounded in  his chest as he remembered the bag his mother had given him.

“I’m so hungry” he thought, “but after all I’ve learned today it would be wrong of me to keep it all for myself.” Without a moment’s hesitation he ran to one of the disciples.

“Excuse me, sir” he said “I have food you can have”

The man looked down at him, surprised at the boy’s eagerness.

“What do you have lad?”

Jonathan opened his bag and showed him the contents.

“I have five loaves and two small fish” he announced.

“Well, I don’t know what that will do among so many, but I’ll take it to the Rabbi” the disciple patted Jonathon’s shoulder and walked away.

Soon, all of the disciples had returned. And all of them empty handed – except one.

“All we have is five loaves and two small fish” the disciple said.

“Bring them here to Me.” Jesus motioned.

Jonathan watched in anticipation. As Jesus opened the bag , Jonathon felt sure He glanced in his direction and winked.

“Command the multitude to sit down in groups of fifty” Jesus instructed His disciples. “And bring as many baskets as you can find.” People all around began sitting on the grassy hillside. They were unsure what was going on, but more than willing to rest their tired feet. 

Jesus placed Jonathan’s food in an empty basket, and looking up to heaven, said an audible prayer.

“Father in heaven, thank You for this food You have provided. May you bless and multiply it for this people I pray, Amen”

A light seemed to flash across Jesus face, illuminating His dark features .

He then broke the loaves of bread into pieces and distributed them among the baskets. One by one, the disciples picked up a basket of food and handed them to the people.

Jonathan received his portion, and munched hungrily away. It tasted better than ever! He was soon so full he couldn’t finish it all. He looked out  at the people, and began to wonder. Everyone seemed to have enough food, but where did it all come from? He had been watching Jesus the whole time, and yet, the five loaves and two fish never seemed to run out! It’s as though the basket kept refilling no matter how much Jesus took out.

By now the last rays of sun were beginning to fade. As everyone finished their meal, the disciples walked around and collected  the leftovers. Even though everyone had eaten their fill, every disciple returned with a basket of bread and fish – twelve in total!

Jonathan stood to leave, but as he did so he felt a hand on his shoulder.

“Don’t forget this, son” said a warm friendly voice.

Jonathan turned around and looked up into the face of Jesus Himself. Jesus smiled and handed him his bag.

“God can do great things with the little we have eh?” Jesus said, His eyes twinkling. “I’m proud of you Jonathan” Jesus looked at him intently. In that moment, Jonathan felt completely known – and completely loved.

“Wait, how did He know my name?” he thought, but before he could ask,  Jesus was gone. Jonathan stood frozen for a long time, struggling to comprehend all that had happened. “Just wait till I tell mother!” He said to himself as he raced down the hill. 

Picture Credit: Free Bible Images

Paul Stanley / YoPlace.com

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