Have the people sit down.

Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand. Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a large crowd was coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?” He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him, “Two hundred denarii  would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.” One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?”

Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, about five thousand in number. Jesus then 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. And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.” So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves left by those who had eaten.

It is so easy for those of us who have heard this story so many times to gloss over it and not take in the extent of this amazing time in that meadow. I close my eyes and try to imagine the atmosphere in the crowd that day - unlike me these had never heard the story. What would it have been like for the disciples to experience this miracle? It is one thing to read of the miraculous in the scriptures but it is something else entirely to experience it. To taste that fish and bread must have been so surreal. To gather the leftovers would be amazing.

Yet I wonder how many of us read this passage, scratch our heads and discount such happenings in our reality. I wonder what my response would have been when Jesus said "Have the people sit down". Sadly, I have to admit that I do not think faith would arise in me today. Like so many, back then and even now, my experiences in life have hardened me to such miracles - I wish that it was not so. But perhaps one can never be prepared for a miracle? Maybe that is the message - that miracles come when they are not expected.

I will sit down Lord. I will wait on you. I will trust in your provision.

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