Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a deserted place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them and cured their sick. When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is now late; send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” Jesus said to them, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” They replied, “We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish.” And he said, “Bring them here to me.” Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And all ate and were filled; and they took up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.
What always amazes me about the feeding of the 5,000 (Which was really more, because nobody bothered to count the women and children. Typical.) is that Jesus didn’t give just enough for everyone to have just enough not to starve. No. Everyone ate until they were full, and there were STILL leftovers! This miracle is so stinking cool. Also, I learned recently that the twelve leftover baskets represent the twelve tribes of Israel. Jesus did everything on purpose and with a point.
On some level, though, my practical minded self thinks the people were rather foolish to follow Jesus to a deserted place with no food. What did they expect? For food to magically appear for them to eat? … wait …
These people had WAY more faith than me! They trusted that if they left their homes and food to follow Jesus, just to be close to Him since He wasn’t even speaking at the time, that God would provide for them. They had absolute faith. And rightfully so! Clearly God did take care of them! And no doubt Jesus was able to perform this miracle because of their great faith. Lesson: When we’re doing God’s will and following Jesus, He will always take care of us.
I also love the insight this story gives us to Jesus’s feelings. He had just found out that John the Baptist died, and He was so sad that He just wanted to go to a deserted place to be alone. But when the people followed Him, He didn’t get upset. Instead he felt compassion for them, and cured them and fed them. (Plus, I think all those people probably brought Him some comfort in His grief.) And like Jesus we shouldn’t let our grief drive us to depression, we should let it drive us to make the world a better place. That’s the best way to honor the dead. And that’s what John the Baptist would have wanted, I think.