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What Has Come Before:
WHEN the twelve disciples came back to Jesus, after preaching in his name among
the villages of Galilee, they told him of all that they had done, and of what
they had said to the people. The multitudes seeking after Jesus were now greater
than ever before, for it was again near the time of the Passover, and very many
on their way to Jerusalem turned aside to see and to hear the great Teacher. So
many people were coming and going that they could scarcely rind time even to
eat. Jesus said to the twelve:
"Come with me apart into a quiet place, away from the crowds, and let us rest
for a time."
They went into the boat and rowed across the lake to an open place, where no one
lived, not far from the city of Bethsaida. But they could not be alone, for the
people saw them going, and watched them from the shore, and went on foot around
the northern end of the lake, and found them. When Jesus saw how eager the
crowds were to hear him, he took pity on them and taught them, and healed such
among them as were sick.
The Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes
Les Tres Riches Heures du Duc de Berry, c. 1413
"We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish," they answered.
"Bring them here to me," he said.
Matthew 14:13-21 ; Mark 6:30-44 ;
Luke 9:10-17 ; John 6:1-14
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As it began to grow toward evening, the disciples said to Jesus, "This is a
lonely place, and there is nothing here for such a crowd of people to eat. Send
them away before it is too late, and tell them to go to the towns and get food."
But Jesus said to them, "They need not go away. You can give them food to eat."
They said to him, "Shall we go into the town and buy two hundred shillings'
worth of bread, so that each one of them may have a little?"
Jesus turned to Philip, one of his disciples, and said to him, "Philip, where
shall we find bread, that all these may eat?" Jesus said this to try Philip's
faith, for he himself knew what he would do. Philip looked at the great crowd,
full five thousand men, besides women and children, and he said, "Two hundred
shillings' worth of bread would not be enough to give to every one even a little
Just then another of the disciples, Andrew, the brother of Peter, said to Jesus,
"There is a boy here who has five loaves of barley bread and two little fishes;
but what use would they be among so many people?" Jesus said to the disciples,
"Go out among the people, and divide them into companies of fifty and a hundred,
and tell them to sit down in order."
So the people all sat down; and upon the green grass, arranged in rows and
squares in their garments of different colors, they looked like beds of flowers.
Then Jesus took into his hands the five loaves and the two fishes which the boy
had brought. He looked up to heaven, and blessed the food; and broke the loaves
and the dried fishes, and gave the pieces to the disciples. They went among the
companies of people, and gave to everyone bread and fish, as much as each
needed. So they all ate, and had enough.
Then Jesus said, "Gather up the pieces of food that are left, so that nothing
may be lost.''
Each of the disciples carried a basket among the people, and when they came to
Jesus all the twelve baskets were filled with the pieces that were left over of
the five loaves and the two fishes.
When the people saw that here was one who could give them food, they were ready
at once to make Jesus their king, and to break away from the rule of the Romans.
Jesus was a King, but he would not be such a king as they wished. His kingdom
was to be in the hearts of men who loved him, not a kingdom set up by the swords
of soldiers. He found that his disciples were ready to help the people to make
him a king, even against his own will.
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