By John Brentlinger
When Jesus lifted up his eyes, and saw a great multitude come to him, he said to Philip, where
shall we buy bread, that these may eat? And this he said to prove him: for he knew what he
was going to do. Philip answered him, two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient
for them, that everyone may take a little. So, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother said unto him,
there is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among
so many? And Jesus said, make the people sit down. John 6:5-10
Well, well, well, so there is such a thing as a free lunch. Interesting day, back about two
thousand years or so. No Panera Bread close by, or anywhere, for that matter. Nearest
panaderia was across the Sea of Gailiee. So, large crowd, lunchtime, nothing to eat, some
disciples without much faith, a little lad, and the Master.
Lets talk about the crowd first. They were a bit like you and me. They saw the miracles
Jesus had done, you know, the blind see, the lame walk, the sick are made whole, and guess
what -- they might get a free lunch. So they were only following Jesus for what they could
get. Free stuff. What is in it for me? That is one reason to follow Jesus; not a good one, but one reason. Today we call it the prosperity gospel, back then it was just called spiritual darkness.
How about those disciples? We may be sort of like them too. By then they had seen the water
turned to wine; sick children healed; a paralyzed man stand and walk; lepers cleansed; the blind received sight -- yet they were of so little faith-- perhaps like us-- they had no idea how Jesus would feed the people. They were so into being an adult, so into "I have to see it to believe it;" they had not yet learned to trust the power of Jesus. Sort of like you and me?
So Jesus turns to Philip and says, "Phil, whatsup; how are we going to feed these people?" Test time for Philip, and of course he fails miserably. "Duh, I dunno, we don't have enough money." Verse 6 says, "This he said to prove (test) him, for he knew what he was going to do." There is a lesson here for all of us adults who think we are so dang smart remember Jesus said, "Except you become as little children, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven." Its a good thing he did not say "except you become as adults;" can you imagine if heaven was only full of a bunch of grouchy, mean, weak-in-faith adults? So, Phil flunks a real simple test. He should have
said, "Master, I have seen the blind see, and the lame walk, I'm sure you'll think of something." But, that would require faith, which is usually lacking in adults. In most trials, with our religious sophistication, we are so smart, we always act dumb, we fail the test,
only to see it again a few weeks later.
The small lad is an interesting subject. Here is a kid following the crowd, hoping to see this Jesus, and he had the brains to bring something for lunch. Or, I should say, he had a mother who loved him and made sure he would not go hungry that day. And since there were five bread loaves, she probably said to him, "Okay son, I am sending extra in case someone else didn't
bring any lunch. Make sure you share." Hah -- can you see the lad at the supper table that night? His mother probably said, "so, did you share your lunch?" And the story this little lad got to tell the family. You just can't make that stuff up. Loving, faithful mothers, where
would we be without them?
And then of course, there is the miracle of turning the two small fish and five loaves into enough to feed five thousand people. No trouble in the doing of it. He is Jesus, the one who there in the beginning; the one who spoke the world into existence; the one who made all
things and by whom all things consist. Feed five thousand with one happy meal? Piece of cake. Only question is -- can we stop being adults long enough to have the faith of a child and believe Jesus for who he is?