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Luke 9:13 “You give them something to eat.”

October 15th, 2014 Leave a comment Go to comments

Imagine how it must have felt to be one of Jesus’ disciples who, thinking they were acting quite sensibly, suggested to Jesus that he ought to send the crowds away so that they could get something to eat. “You give them something to eat,” he told them.

The disciples were aware of their poverty. Among the twelve apostles and whoever else might have been following Jesus at the time they could only scrounge up five loaves and two fishes. It was probably a meager ration even for them, let along the utterly ridiculous proposition of feeding five thousand.

What choice did they have but to follow Jesus’ instructions? But they must have felt pretty silly, secretly believing that the provision would run out while serving the first group of fifty, wondering what kind of trick Jesus was going to pull. I’m guessing they didn’t really believe he was going to feed the people, that this was going to be some kind of an object lesson that in the end they would be able to reasonably understand.

But it was not so. Jesus blessed the bread and fish and allowed the disciples to distribute it to the people, and when all was said and done, after everyone was fed and satisfied, there was more left over than there had been to begin with. The disciples had little to give, but Jesus had in abundance. And there was no rational explanation, only awe.

There are many lessons we could draw from this episode but the thing that strikes me today is that we, like the disciples, are poor, and we are aware of our poverty. Jesus tells us to go and make disciples, to love as he loves, and we go to him with our pockets hanging out and reason with him: “You can’t seriously expect me to show the love of God to my fellows. I don’t have it. See? I am empty.”

And so we are. But Jesus has love in abundance, and when we surrender to his crazy will, when we are in Christ, we are able to share that love with others. Jesus takes what little we have, and makes it a blessing for the world.

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