Day 3 – A special meal
Bible reading: Luke 9:10–17
Jesus feeds 5,000 men and their families
Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Tell the people that they should sit down on the ground in groups. There should be about 50 people in each group.’
If we are honest, most of us would have been annoyed and would have told them to go away and stay away. Not Jesus. He wasn’t like that. He welcomed them, and he gave the teaching about God that by now they were eager to have a lot more of.
Everyone was very tired and hungry
By evening, in a hot country like that, everyone was very tired and hungry. His friends say, ‘Send them away – let them try to find something to eat in the villages and farms.’
‘But why don’t you give them something to eat?’ Jesus replied.
They must have thought that was a very peculiar thing to ask. Where were they to get food for 5000 men?
Food for 5000?
Altogether, they only had about five loaves of bread and a couple of small fish. And then they had a huge surprise. ‘Tell everyone to sit down in groups of about 50,’ said Jesus.
What was he going to do? Well, we all enjoy a picnic, and Jesus – after praying over the insufficient provisions and asking his heavenly Father to multiply them – produced the most generous of all picnics. Everyone had more than enough to eat at this astonishing feast in the desert. They must have been absolutely delighted.
A superior feast in the desert
You see, it wasn’t just a superior meal when they most needed it and least expected it. The ancient holy books had predicted that when God’s Saviour arrived, he would provide a feast in the desert. So it was not just a wonderful way to solve their need. It was an enormous claim about who Jesus was. No ordinary person could produce all that food from five little loaves and a couple of small fish. This was God’s work in front of their eyes, just as their holy books had told them how God once fed the Israelites in the desert.
This was no ordinary picnic. This was no ordinary carpenter-teacher. Somebody amazing, somebody unique, was among them. And yes, it really happened. It is recorded in all four of the accounts we have of Jesus. Everybody remembered it. It is true history, as solid as a rock. It makes you think, doesn’t it?