“If I could only have been there…” Did you ever wish you could have been among those who actually encountered Jesus in person; mingled with those throngs beside the lake; feasted among the five thousand in a Galilean meadow; crowded along the village street as the carpenter from Nazareth passed by?
The Gospels remind us that as Jesus walked the road toward Jerusalem, crowds gathered along the way. Those crowds consisted of individuals, each one of them seeking, in his or her own way, to form a relationship with Jesus. Some of them—most unnamed—have been immortalized by the gospel writers; yet, unique as each one was, they shared with the rest of those clamoring crowds the same basic human impulses and inhibitions, dreams and terrors that we know today.
In this week’s installment of Faces at the Wayside, we will meet The Boy who Shared (John 6:1-14).
John 6:1-14, NRSV
1After this Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, also called the Sea of Tiberias. 2A large crowd kept following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing for the sick. 3Jesus went up the mountain and sat down there with his disciples. 4Now the Passover, the festival of the Jews, was near. 5When he looked up and saw a large crowd coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?” 6He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he was going to do. 7Philip answered him, “Six months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.” 8One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, 9“There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But what are they among so many people?” 10Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” Now there was a great deal of grass in the place; so they sat down, about five thousand in all. 11Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted. 12When they were satisfied, he told his disciples, “Gather up the fragments left over, so that nothing may be lost.” 13So they gathered them up, and from the fragments of the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten, they filled twelve baskets. 14When the people saw the sign that he had done, they began to say, “This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world.”