With this question on their minds, the group descends the mountain to meet with the crowd of people waiting for Jesus at the base. While Jesus moves among the crowd, teaching, healing, and delivering people as He goes, the apostles speak to people here and there about the need for food for everyone. A boy steps forward and says to Andrew, “Sir, I have a small lunch that my mother packed for me to take. It is not much, but I would give it gladly if it will help.” Andrew smiles at the boy and praises him for his generosity. “What do you have, son?” he asks. “It’s only 2 small dried fish and 5 loaves of barley bread.” Andrew takes the boy’s hand and leads him to Jesus. “Rabbi, this boy has a little bit of lunch he wishes to share, 5 loaves of barley bread and 2 small dried fish. I know it is not much, but nobody else in the crowd has brought food with them.” Andrew can hardly believe the people came out this far with no thought to how they would provide for themselves. Jesus kneels and embraces the boy with a luminous smile. “You show great faith, young man, by your willingness to give what you have to help others.” The boy is bursting with pride at the Rabbi’s praise. “Thank You, Rabbi!” he exclaims in delight. “Will you help Me distribute the food to the people?” Jesus asks the boy. “Oh, it would be a great honor, Rabbi!” the boy replies. “Peter,” Jesus calls, “Will you and the others have the people sit down in groups of about 50-100 each? Tell them that if they are patient everyone will have enough.” Peter looks dubious but follows His Rabbi’s command. The people, looking for all the world like a contingent of Roman legionaries, begin to form groups of 50-100 and sit on the ground expectantly. Just as Peter is considering the appearance of the group, he looks up toward the hills in the distance and sees two Romans on horseback, watching the scene from afar. The sight seems like an omen, though of course he does not believe in such things. Still, he wonders what is in store for him and his fellow apostles…and for their beloved Rabbi.
Matthew 14:14, 17-19a; Mark 6:38-40; Luke 9:11b, 13b-15; John 6:8-10, http://www.soniahalliday.com/images/IS114-3-15.jpg, http://www.arlev.co.uk/galilee.jpg