Impacting Cities & Communities thru Prayer
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After the conflicts we had with the other Jews, Jesus took a group of us across the sea. He led us up a mountain, and sat down with us for a special time of teaching. The Passover was near, and we could not help thinking of Moses taking the elders up the mountain where God gave the law.
Shortly after he had begun Jesus lifted his eyes and saw a huge multitude that had followed him around the sea. I stepped near the edge of the place where he was teaching and saw more people than I could believe.
Jesus stepped up behind me. Putting his hand on my shoulder he said, “Philip where will we buy bread to feed all these people?” He was testing me, preparing to teach me a powerful lesson about depending on him to care for the needs of people. I was not one of the leaders in the group. I never had the insight of John or the courage to speak like Peter. But the least of us knew he loved us and that he had a purpose for each of us. I was no exception.
I was still shaking my head at the size of the multitude. “200 denarii worth of bread would not be enough to feed all these people.” We couldn't guess how many there were. I could have said three or four hundred denarii worth of bread would not feed them all. But Andrew, bless his heart, came up with his hand on the head of a little boy. Even though Andrew was Simon Peter’s brother and half owner of the boat we came in, he was not one of the leaders either.
He said, “This boy has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many.” I now suspect that the faith of Andrew was serious, but at the time what he said seemed funny to most of us. Judas laughed out loud. Jesus did not pay us any mind.
He simply said, “Have the people sit down to eat.” The wet season was at its end, and there was a lot of grass along the sea. We started having the men sit down in groups of about 50, each man with his family. There were about a hundred groups of fifty or so men and their families. Who knows how many people there were altogether. Jesus stood where everyone could see and looking up to heaven blessed the bread and fish. Then he began to distribute food to the people. We went from group to group helping pass out bread and as much fish as anyone wanted. Time seemed to stand still as he fed the multitude.
When we finished and had eaten a bite or two ourselves he told us to start gathering up the leftover pieces of bread so nothing would be lost. I didn't understand much of what was happening at the time, but I have never forgotten that a miracle of Jesus is precious. It is crucial that we not waste the fruit of the signs he continues to perform in our lives. We actually gathered twelve large baskets of bread from the five barley loaves Jesus had broken to multiply. We were not the only ones to recognize this magnificent sign of his majesty.
Jesus pointed to a group of men whispering together. “They are getting ready to come and take me by force to make me king. I am going to slip away. I want you to stay a while with the people and then start back across the sea. I will catch up with you later.” We watched him start up the mountain alone. Then we walked among the people, talking about what they had seen, praying with many. As evening came we went back down to the sea to return to Capernaum with a great deal to think about.
This story was drawn from John 6:1-15.
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