THE SIGN – Wilderness East of the Lake of Galilee
It was mid-afternoon when Jesus tiredly returned to the encampment. He walked up to the ridge and sat down gazing down upon the multitudes. Cornelius and his disciples sat down around him.
Peter, who was coaxed by the others, came to stand by him and said, “Master, this place is desolate, and the time is already past; so you must send the multitudes away that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.”
As Jesus looked on upon the milling people below, he quietly said, “They need not leave this place.” Then he turned and faced the disciples with a knowing smile. “You give them something to eat.”
“Master?” Peter asked as he slowly sat down not sure what he heard him say.
Then Jesus asked Philip who was right next to Cornelius, “Philip, where are we to buy bread, that these may eat?”
Philip looked doubtfully out upon the people and said, “Master… two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, even to receive a little.”
The disciples started to talk among themselves. Judas Iscariot, who was the group’s treasurer, said that the purse was practically empty. John enthusiastically declared that they can go out and fish. His confidence was based on Jesus miraculously showing them where the fish was. Back and forth they discussed and debated among themselves as Jesus amusingly looked on. Then Cornelius remembered that he had the money from the Lady Procula which was probably twenty times worth more than two hundred denarii. He was about to make his offer when he noticed that a smiling Jesus looking at him ever so slightly shaking his head; signaling him not to intercede. Cornelius quickly understood that this was a test for his closest disciples.
Finally, it was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, out of exasperation brought a boy before Jesus. He pried open the basket to show its content. “Master! This lad here has only five barley loaves and two fish, but what are these for so many people?”
Jesus stood up with gleam in his eyes. “I will show you. Bring the lad.”
Jesus came down the ridge, his weariness forgotten. He instructed his disciples to go among the multitudes and organize the people to sit on the grass in groups of fifty men with their respective families. Then from each group ten were chosen to bring empty baskets to Jesus’ encampment. Within the hour, there was a long line of men and women with their empty basket waiting. Jesus then gathered only his chosen twelve and they circled around him. He called over the boy with the bread and fish.
The story continues on in my next post.
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