There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many (John 6:9)?
A young boy was tending his father’s sheep on the side of a hill. His father was on the other side of the hill.
He looked out over the Sea of Galilee and saw a boat with 12 men and the Teacher. He then saw a crowd of thousands following the boat along the seashore.
The boat came ashore close to his flock. Leaving his sheep, the boy moved closer.
He had heard the stories of the Teacher who could heal the sick and whose teachings confounded even the leader of the synagogue in his village.
He heard the disciples discussing food.
The Teacher asked, “Where are we going to buy food for all these people?”
A disciple said, “Even if we could find food, it takes almost a year’s wages to buy enough for everyone to eat.”
The boy noticed another disciple looking at his lunch bag. This was the lunch that his mother had prepared for both the boy and his father.
Before he could hide it, the disciple grabbed his lunch, opened the bag, and told the Teacher, “Look, this boy has five loaves of bread and two small fish.”
Consider the reaction of the two disciples – one thinking of the budget and a year’s wages, while another tries humor to diffuse an impossible situation.
What will be our responses to impossibility be in 2022?
Jesus said to them, and to us a couple of thousand years later, “It is enough. Just sit down and watch.”
The Teacher took the food, prayed, and the disciples passed the bag around. It did not empty.
The boy now had a problem.
You see, Dad, Jesus and a crowd appeared. The Teacher took my food, blessed it, and there was enough for 5,000 but not enough left for you.
Jesus knew his thoughts.
Twelve baskets of leftovers were placed before the boy.
Now he had a new problem. Before, the boy thought about whether there would be any left for his dad, what he would tell his father. Now he couldn’t carry it all. The last problem seemed better than the first.
This is the OGV version of the story of the feeding of the five thousand.
Only John talks about the boy. He is not mentioned in the accounts of Matthew, Mark, or Luke.
John, in his gospel, adds storylines of depth and personality. I’ve asked myself, “What did the boy think about his lunch taken by Andrew the disciple? How could the disciples be in the presence of Jesus and still not believe?”
The gospel of John answers these questions – not by a theological explanation or a psychological pep-talk. John tells a story of Jesus doing the impossible. Five loaves and two fish multiplied to feed five thousand.
To add emphasis to the story, John says “two small fish” not “two fish.”
Jesus stands next to you right now!