John 6:1-21 (NRSV)
Chapter 6After this Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, also called the Sea of Tiberias. Verse 2A large crowd kept following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing for the sick. Verse 3Jesus went up the mountain and sat down there with his disciples. Verse 4Now the Passover, the festival of the Jews, was near. Verse 5When he looked up and saw a large crowd coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, "Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?" Verse 6He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he was going to do. Verse 7Philip answered him, "Six months' wages would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little." Verse 8One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to him, Verse 9"There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But what are they among so many people?" Verse 10Jesus said, "Make the people sit down." Now there was a great deal of grass in the place; so they sat down, about five thousand in all. Verse 11Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted. Verse 12When they were satisfied, he told his disciples, "Gather up the fragments left over, so that nothing may be lost." Verse 13So they gathered them up, and from the fragments of the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten, they filled twelve baskets. Verse 14When the people saw the sign that he had done, they began to say, "This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world."
Verse 15When Jesus realized that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain by himself. Verse 16When evening came, his disciples went down to the sea, Verse 17got into a boat, and started across the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. Verse 18The sea became rough because a strong wind was blowing. Verse 19When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they were terrified. Verse 20But he said to them, "It is I; do not be afraid." Verse 21Then they wanted to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the land toward which they were going.
John’s story of The Feeding of the 5000 is unique in this little boy who offers to share his lunch.
I recall a Sunday sermon on this text in which I opined that perhaps it was the generosity of that little lad that moved the crowd to reach into their satchels and share the meager contents—a piece of cheese here, a flask of wine there, a few crackers. After worship, Ann confronted me. “Pastor Steve, you disappointed me today. Do you not trust that Jesus has the power to multiply that little boy’s meal?” I was not prepared for a dressing down from this delightful church lady, and this unplanned reply just came out of my mouth. “Ann, what do you think is the greater miracle? That Jesus would multiply the loaves and fish into a feast for thousands? Or that God would use the selfless act of a child to melt the hearts of those in the crowd?”
Jesus, open our eyes to see your miracles unfold; not just the great supernatural events, but the humble acts that fill us with wonder. Amen.