A young boy came home from church and announced with great excitement that the lesson had been about a boy who “loafed and fished all day.” He, of course, was thinking of the little boy who offered his loaves and fish to Jesus.
Jesus had been teaching the crowds all day, and the disciples suggested He send them into the village to buy bread. Jesus replied, “You give them something to eat” (Matthew 14:16). The disciples were perplexed for there were more than 5,000 to be fed!
You may know the rest of the story: a boy gave his lunch—five small loaves of bread and two fish—and with it Jesus fed the crowd (vv. 13–21). One school of thought contends that the boy’s generosity simply moved others in the crowd to share their lunches, but Matthew clearly intends us to understand that this was a miracle, and the story appears in all four gospels.
What can we learn? Family, neighbors, friends, colleagues, and others stand around us in varying degrees of need. Should we send them away to those who are more capable than we are? Certainly, some people’s needs exceed our ability to help them, but not always. Whatever you have—a hug, a kind word, a listening ear, a brief prayer, some wisdom you’ve gathered—give it to Jesus and see what He can do.
Christ’s feeding of a multitude with the loaves and fishes is a miracle in which the Creator works beyond His creation. It’s the only miracle of Jesus (aside from His resurrection) that’s recorded in all four gospels (Matthew 14:13–21; Mark 6:33–44; Luke 9:12–17; John 6:1–14). While each gospel writer includes distinct details, John’s account focuses on two disciples—Andrew and Philip—that rarely appear in Matthew, Mark, and Luke (apart from the listing of disciples’ names). In John’s version, Jesus actually tests Philip by asking him how to provide food for the multitude (v. 5). Andrew is singled out as the one who offers a solution—albeit a radically insufficient one—by bringing to Jesus a boy with his lunch (vv. 8–9). What all four gospels are presenting, however, is that the small amount available was more than enough when placed in Christ’s hands.