10 When the apostles returned, they described for Jesus what they had done. Taking them with him, Jesus withdrew privately to a city called Bethsaida. 11 When the crowds figured it out, they followed him. He welcomed them, spoke to them about God’s kingdom, and healed those who were sick.
12 When the day was almost over, the Twelve came to him and said, “Send the crowd away so that they can go to the nearby villages and countryside and find lodging and food, because we are in a deserted place.”
13 He replied, “You give them something to eat.”
But they said, “We have no more than five loaves of bread and two fish—unless we go and buy food for all these people.” 14 (They said this because about five thousand men were present.)
Jesus said to his disciples, “Seat them in groups of about fifty.” 15 They did so, and everyone was seated. 16 He took the five loaves and the two fish, looked up to heaven, blessed them, and broke them and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. 17 Everyone ate until they were full, and the disciples filled twelve baskets with the leftovers.
What do you believe about miracles? Depending on the source, Jesus is said to have performed over forty-seven miracles. Some say the need for miracles ended when Jesus ascended into heaven and sent us the Holy Spirit. Others argue miracles are still happening everyday, but we miss them, because we are too busy or we don’t have faith to see them. Others believe absolutely the miracles of Jesus happened, while others doubt the original eye witness accounts.
Miracles take the focus off what humans can do and put the focus on God’s love and God’s power to transform lives. I think that regardless of what you believe about miracles, the real miracle is God’s faithful love for us and God’s redemptive grace. All the miracles of Jesus point to God’s loving faithfulness and compassion for us. Miracles are God’s love in action among us, and each of us is a miracle set in motion by God’s love for the transformation of the world.
This miracle, the feeding of the multitude, is the only miracle, besides the resurrection that appears in all four gospels. It’s a miracle that shows that God loves and cares for all God’s children, and it invites us to not be passive, but to participate in God’s Kin-dom.
Jesus has heard that John the Baptist has been killed, in grief he seeks to get away, but the crowds follow him. After teaching them all day, the disciples see a huge problem, there’s no way they can house or feed a crowd of this size, so they tell Jesus to send them away. But Jesus tells them, “You give them something to eat.” How many times do we as people of faith, shrink from what seems to be an insurmountable problem, only to hear Jesus say to us, “You do it!” Jesus’ miracle is an invitation to us to participate in God’s Kin-dom. It’s an invitation to stretch our faith beyond a scarcity mentality to one of abundance that God’s Kin-dom supplies. Jesus then has the disciples gather the meager food of five loaves and two fishes and prays to God, blessing the few morsels of food. Jesus shows us that when we work together, even with few resources, prayerfully asking God to bless our efforts, then miracles will happen. When we let go of trying to control problems on our own, and put the problems into God’s loving hands, not only will we see God’s power at work in us as a community of faith through the Spirit, we will be fed, satisfied and have leftovers to share with the world.
by Jeneene Reduker
For Pondering & Prayer
God is always present with us and inviting us to participate in the miracle of serving and sharing God’s love to transform the world. What are the insurmountable problems in your life you need to surrender to God’s loving care? Where do you hear Jesus inviting you to step forward to be part of the miracles of transformation for the Kin-dom?
Prayer: Holy Loving God, the resurrection of Jesus shows us that each of us by faith is invited by your grace to be a miracle set in motion by your love. Remove our scarcity mentality and replace it with the abundance of your Kin-dom, for the transformation of the world. Amen.