Then the disciples came to Jesus with a big problem – we’re in the middle of nowhere, and thousands of people are getting hungry – send them away, so that they can go and buy food. The people needed to eat, but the people didn’t want to leave Jesus – a big problem. What was Jesus’ answer? “YOU give them something to eat.”
Are you kidding me? How can we do that? All we have here are 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. That’s all we have. Do you see what the disciples were missing? Is that all they really had, as they faced this big problem? Nothing except a little basket of bread and fish? That’s not all they had, is it? What else did they have? Besides that little basket of food, they had Jesus, the Son of God, standing right next to them. The same Jesus who was miraculously healing diseases 5 minutes ago – he was with them – the same Jesus they had seen who had cast out demons, the same Jesus they had seen who raised the daughter of Jairus from the dead – this same Jesus was right there, with them. “All we have are 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish” – not true. Jesus was also right there with them, and that changes everything.
Don’t we sometimes forget that, as we face our big problems in life? We forget that Jesus is with us. I am with you always, Jesus says. I will never leave you, never forsake you, Jesus says. We believe, but then a big problem comes into our lives, and then we forget. This problem I have – it’s too big for me to handle. All I have is a high school diploma. All I have is barely enough money to live on. All I have is my family and a few friends. All I have are 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. How can I face my big problems? How can I make a difference in the world? How can I do anything? I don’t have enough!” Have you ever felt that or thought that?
None of it’s true! Yes, as Christians we face big problems in our lives. The world is filled with one big problem after another. The TV will never run out of bad news to share. But we can approach every problem, no matter how big it is, with big faith. Because we have Jesus. The all-loving, all-powerful Son of God, standing right there next to us, looking at the same big problems we are looking at.
Look at what Jesus does here, in Matthew 14. He forgives the disciples for their small-mindedness, their forgetfulness of his power and love, their lack of faith. Bring the basket of food to me, Jesus told them. Then Jesus took charge. He told the people to sit down. The Bible says that he looked up to heaven as he blessed the little amount of food that was there, and then he gave food to the disciples, and they gave food to the people. And notice how much Jesus provided. It wasn’t barely enough to take away the hunger pains. It wasn’t barely enough for the women and children. Everyone had plenty to eat, to the point of feeling full, and there were even leftovers that the disciples went out and picked up. We call this miracle the feeding of the 5000, but that was only the number of men. When you throw in the number of women and children that were there, perhaps there were 10, 15, 20 thousand people that were actually fed.