tale2tell original Bible Stories series – New Testament

Based on John chapter 6 verses 1 to 15

Feeding the Hungry

‘My name’s Andrew, I’m Simon Peter’s brother and I’ve been following Jesus since He started His work here. It’s been an amazing time. I’ve seen things you couldn’t even imagine. The sick being healed, the demon-possessed being freed and even the dead brought back to life.’

‘But even though Jesus did such amazing things, He was always concerned that the people heard His message. There was an urgency within Him that everyone should know that the Kingdom of God was coming and that they should be ready by turning away from all their sinful and selfish ways and turning back to God.’

‘One day, Jesus called the twelve of us together and spoke to us. As He spoke, He gave us authority to make evil spirits come out of people and to heal every disease! Then He told us, ‘Go into the surrounding towns and villages, heal their sick and tell all the people that the Kingdom of God is about to come. Don’t take anything with you, no bag, no food and no money. And when you enter a village don’t stay in different houses, stay in just one house. And if the people in that village refuse to accept the message you bring them, then as you leave shake the dust off your feet as a witness against them.’’

‘So we did what Jesus asked us to do. With the power He’d given us we healed the sick and we cast out demons, and most important of all, we told the people the message Jesus had given us to pass on. ‘The Kingdom of God is coming.’’ (PAUSE)

‘When we came back we told Him of all the incredible things that’d happened, and Jesus decided it’d be wise for us to get away from the huge crowds that seemed to dog His tracks, and spend some time together alone. There were so many people constantly coming and going that we couldn’t even find time to eat! So we got into a boat and started to travel across the great lake once again.’

‘What we didn’t know, as we set sail and headed for a more peaceful area, was that some of the crowd had seen us go. And can you believe it, they ran round the lake to catch up with us, and as they went through each village, they’d point us out on the lake to the people of the village saying, ‘Look, you see that boat out there? That’s Jesus in there!’ But we didn’t know anything about this as we headed for a nice quiet spot a safe distance from the crowds, or so we thought!’

‘We saw them even before we landed. A huge crowd all wanting to see Jesus. The rest of us couldn’t believe it and to be honest we were – how should I put this – less than impressed. But not Jesus, He saw them for what they were, like sheep without a shepherd – needing to be taught and to hear from Him. So in His compassion He taught the great crowd many things and we all stayed there a long time.’

‘My tummy started to rumble about mid-afternoon. And by late afternoon we began to realise that if we didn’t get this massive crowd shifted soon there could be some real trouble. We’d come to such an isolated place, how were the people going to find food? We needed to send them on their way so that they could reach the villages and towns and farms in time to buy some food for themselves. So we went to Jesus, ‘Jesus,’ we said, ‘this is a pretty remote place and time’s going by. We think you should send the people away now so that they can get to the nearby farms and villages to buy themselves some food.’’

‘It seemed a reasonable enough suggestion to us, but can you imagine our astonishment when Jesus turned to us and said, ‘No, don’t send them away, you feed them!’’

‘‘What?’ we replied, ‘that’s impossible. It would cost a small fortune to feed this massive crowd! Not only that, but where are we going to find that much food in a place like this?’’

‘‘Well, how much food do you have?’ Jesus asked. ‘Go away and find out.’’

‘We didn’t have any food ourselves and to be honest we didn’t really know how to go about finding out how much food there was. As we stood there wondering what to do, a young lad came up to me. ‘Mister,’ he said. ‘I heard you talking to Jesus about needing some food. When my mum heard that Jesus was nearby and that I wanted to come and see Him for myself, she made me a packed lunch. It’s not much, but Jesus can have it if it’ll help.’ I smiled at him and chuckled to myself – his ‘packed lunch’ consisted of five barley bread rolls and a couple of fish!’

‘But even so I took it to Jesus. ‘Jesus,’ I said, ‘there’s this young lad here with five barley bread rolls and a couple of fish. What good that’ll do amongst such a huge crowd as this I don’t know.’’

‘One of those things we’d come to learn about Jesus was that you couldn’t always predict what He’d do. If it had been me, I don’t think I’d have thought twice about the young lad’s packed lunch. But Jesus smiled at the lad and accepted the packed lunch from him. Then he told us to make the people sit down on the grass in groups of fifty or a hundred.’

‘Taking the small packed lunch in His hands, Jesus looked up towards heaven and asked God’s blessing on the food. Then He started to break up the barley bread rolls and hand the pieces to us to pass on to the crowd. He just carried on breaking the bread into pieces. On and on He went, and then He started to break the fish up and pass them on to us to pass out to the crowds. Again and again we handed out all He’d given us and went back to Him to collect more. And still He carried on passing out the bread and fish, in fact, He didn’t stop passing out the bread and fish  until every single person had eaten all they wanted! And when I say every single person, we worked out just how many men there were in that crowd, excluding all the women and children. There were five thousand! Goodness knows how many people there must have been including all the women and children.’

‘When the people had finished eating all they wanted, Jesus sent the twelve of us around to pick up the leftover food. Each of us picked up a complete basket full of left-overs – twelve baskets full of bits and pieces that had come from five small barley loaves and two fish!’

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