42 – Feeds the Jews

When: Spring, 29 AD
Where: Lonely place, Galilee
Mark, Matthew, Luke, John,

Other, Thoughts,

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It was in the spring when Jesus and all twelve apostles were once again together in Capernaum. They reported to Jesus all that had happened to them. It was also at this time that the disciples of John found Jesus, and told him of the death of the Baptist.

When Jesus saw the effect it had on his disciples he decided that they needed to get away from the pressures, for a while, in order to be better prepared for what was to come (Passover was only a few weeks away). So he decided to go to a secluded place, yet near to the evil that had killed the Baptist.

So Jesus got into a boat and sailed south across the lake to Magdala [todays], a town of about 1000 people, where he then intended to walk west, up a valley, to a secluded place.

In the morning, as the boat went south, people knew Jesus was on the move again and they were so excited that some stopped what they were doing and hurried off south, figuring that he would not go further than Magdala, and certainly not to Tiberias. So by the time that the boat carrying Jesus and the disciples arrived at Magdala, there were many people already gathered and more were on the way.

Jesus felt their needs deeply. Domestic sheep without a shepherd were helpless targets for any predator. They needed the guidance of a good shepherd. So he led them all up the valley to a distant place, healed some, and taught them more about the coming kingdom.

But now the sun was close to setting. The people had been fed spiritual food and were “full”, but they needed to have food for their bodies. So Jesus asked Philip to feed them. Philip, and the other disciples, could not imagine where they could get enough food for the 5000 men (plus women and children) or the six months of wages it would take to buy enough food in Tiberias (the only place that would have enough made and in stores).

Jesus’ response was to ask what resources they did have. Andrew answered, a bit sarcastically, that a boy had five barley buns and two smoked fish.

Because it was springtime, there was green grass for the people to sit on, so Jesus had them separate into groups of fifty. He took the bread and fish, gave thanks to God, and gave some to each apostle, who then took what Jesus had given him and went off to share with the people (just as they had shared spiritual food with people when they had gone out in pairs).

When all were fed, the disciples collected twelve baskets (the number of tribes of Israel) of leftovers, and more food then they had begun with.

Here the disciples saw a foretaste of the messianic banquet. And in the shadow of their oppressors, their faith in God was restored. Regardless of the opposition, God would supply their needs and reward them abundantly if they would have faith.

But many in the crowd thought, ‘just like Elisha, only greater.’ And some said that with Jesus as king no one would ever go hungry again. That was NOT Jesus’ ministry. So he sent the crowd home, the disciples to the boat (with instructions to cross to the other side of the lake), and Jesus went off to be alone.

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