Bread-Maker and Bread-givers
Today's story from the Bible is about food (good food, and the best food). (Luke's Gospel, chapter 9, verses 10 to 17)
(Here is the background to my sketch)
Jesus' followers had been so very busy. He had given them power to cure sick people, just as He could, and had sent them into the towns and villages to heal, and to tell people the good news that God's promised Person, who was to fix up this dark, difficult and dangerous world, had come (Jesus Himself - but not many people believed them).
They all returned, happy but exhausted! They were just worn out. Jesus cares for His followers, and takes them to a quiet place out in the bush, where they can rest.
Jesus still wants His followers to find a quiet place, to learn from Him and talk to Him. It doesn't have to be in a desert - anywhere quiet will do, where you can read the Bible and pray to Him. Anyone who is old enough to read for themselves can read the Bible (Luke's Gospel is a good place to start - "Gospel" means "good news". The book of Genesis, the first in the Bible, is a good 2nd book to read)
But their quiet rest did not last long! A great CROWD of people followed them - about 5000. Soon there were people everywhere around them, and Jesus allowed it. Here was a bigger need than rest for Jesus's disciples (another word for "follower"). There were many sick people, and everyone needed to hear His good news.
We might have been cranky or angry, but Jesus welcomed them all, cured all the sick people, and told them the good news that the day for God's promise had finally come.
It's getting late, and they have a crowd of 5000 people. They can't stay here in the bush, with no shelter and no food. The disciples have a big PROBLEM and are worried - "what shall we do?". They say to Jesus "send them away to find somewhere to sleep and to buy food, in the villages within walking distance".
Jesus' answer stuns them - "You give them something to eat!". "But we've only got a bag of bread-rolls and a tin of sardines - they won't even get a crumb each." (of course they did not have tins then - it was in fact 5 small loaves of bread and 2 small dried fish).
It was too hard for the disciples - they couldn't feed 5000 people with next to nothing. Jesus knew that, but wanted them to see that they must trust Him.
Jesus knows they are tired and worried, and He now gives them a job they can do."Get the people to sit down, in groups of 50." Getting 5000 people settled is not easy, but they CAN do it. "DO WHATEVER HE TELLS YOU"
You may be thinking, "There is not much I can do for Jesus". But if you decide to follow Jesus, He will give you a job you CAN do. What about that kid at school who has no friends, who doesn't seem to fit in? Can you be their friend, and stick up for them? I can't do that job, but maybe you can. "DO WHATEVER HE TELLS YOU"
When they were all settled, and a hush had come over the crowd, Jesus lifted up the little basket with the 5 loaves and 2 fish. He looked up to heaven, thanked God for the food, and blessed it to the people. Were they thinking "What is He thinking!"?
Jesus began to break the loaves in pieces, and put them into the baskets the disciples had collected. Jesus also took the fish, and put them into the baskets. No matter how many baskets they brought to Him, they were all filled!
"Take this food to the people" He said to the disciples. This also is a job they CAN do. They couldn't make the food, but they could give it out.
All 5000 people got something to eat. In fact, they ate until they were full, and had to say "no more, please". Amazing! What POWER! Who is this Jesus, that He can feed such a big crowd with next to nothing? Who is He, that can make nothing into something? (the answer is in Genesis chapter 1, where we read how God made everything that there is, including us, out of nothing)
Jesus then said "Gather up the left-over food, don't waste anything." When the disciples had done that, they had 12 baskets full. One for each of them! Jesus cares for His followers.
The same story is in John's Gospel (and in Matthew and Mark too). John tells us that the next day the crowd found Jesus again, wanting more bread.
Jesus said something very special to them. He said "Don't worry so much about bread for your stomach, but search for the food that never fails, that gives you eternal life. The Son of Man will give it to you." (Son of Man was His favourite name for Himself, to remind us that He is a real man, as well as really God)
Jesus did not mean we have to actually eat Him! But bread is the commonest of foods, and we all need food to keep our bodies alive. Just so, we need food for our souls (our "inner man" that goes on forever). Jesus Himself, the great Son of God, is the only one who can make our souls live forever in happiness with Him, and one day give us new bodies, when the old ones have worn out and gone. He is the only one who can lead us back to our true home with Him. See the story from Day 1
Jesus invites everyone of us to come to Him, to trust ourselves to Him (to be sorry for our own bad things, to trust that He can and will forgive us, and give us His power to follow Him). Jesus invites us to become His followers, to eat the "BREAD OF LIFE" ourselves, and then to take it to others.
|DO WHATEVER HE TELLS YOU|
The Bible was not written in English - in fact, the English language did not yet exist. The Bible was mainly written in Hebrew and Greek. What we have are translations into our English, since we can't read Hebrew and Greek. There are many good English translations, and they say the same things, but often in slightly different words. That's OK.
This page http://tardus.net/championsDay3.html Last published: 5 July 2015