The challenge of Jesus: Give them something to eat!
As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.”
Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”
“We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered.
“Bring them here to me,” he said. And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.
Matthew 14: 15 – 21
Here are Jesus, his disciples and the crowd in a deserted place. After having listened to Jesus for long hours, the disciples suggested him to send the crowd away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves something to eat. These people were undoubtedly hungry. The disciples were worried and suggested their solution, but Jesus' response will amaze us. ‘’They don’t need to go away. It is up to you to feed them!’’ said Jesus.
What a challenge! To feed five thousand men, besides women and children.
Through these words, Jesus is drawing the attention of the disciples, the Church and all Christians on some very important things:
First lesson, we shouldn’t concern ourselves only with the spirit of people, or only with the salvation of their soul, but with the body, the soul and the spirit of those we bring to Him. What do we do with those who have physical needs? How do we react to the physical needs around us? Disease, hunger, unemployment, lack of water, wars and violence etc.
Give them something to eat. We must announce a holistic gospel which takes into account the whole person (body, soul and spirit.) God takes care of the whole person and we also must take care of the whole person.
The second lesson, is that Jesus fed the crowd to show that God is capable, that we must put our trust in Him to meet the physical needs of the people around us: 5 loaves and 2 fishes became utterly sufficient for more than five thousand people.
Third lesson, the disciples have just distributed. God will always provide, and wants us, as Church and as children of God, to help him distribute. We are dispensers of God’s graces for the world.
People will eat and there will remain leftover pieces if we put our trust in the Lord and if we stay available to Him.
Give them something to eat.
May this be our challenge today.
Pastor Frederic DJODJOUHOUIN