Luke 9:1-17


Faith is such a mystery.

One day it can be so big that when we hear about people who have been healed, tears come to our eyes. We trust that Jesus is at work.

But the next day we try to figure out our budget and we’re just not sure how that can come together. The electric bill is way too high! And faith dwindles.

The disciples were no different.

“When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. He told them: ‘Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt. Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town. If people do not welcome you, leave their town and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.’ So they set out and went from village to village, proclaiming the good news and healing people everywhere. Now Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was going on. And he was perplexed because some were saying that John had been raised from the dead, others that Elijah had appeared, and still others that one of the prophets of long ago had come back to life. But Herod said, ‘I beheaded John. Who, then, is this I hear such things about?’ And he tried to see him. When the apostles returned, they reported to Jesus what they had done. Then he took them with him and they withdrew by themselves to a town called Bethsaida, but the crowds learned about it and followed him. He welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed healing. Late in the afternoon the Twelve came to him and said, ‘Send the crowd away so they can go to the surrounding villages and countryside and find food and lodging, because we are in a remote place here.’ He replied, ‘You give them something to eat.’ They answered, ‘We have only five loaves of bread and two fish—unless we go and buy food for all this crowd.’ (About five thousand men were there.) But he said to his disciples, ‘Have them sit down in groups of about fifty each.’ The disciples did so, and everyone sat down. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke them. Then he gave them to the disciples to distribute to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.” Luke 9:1-17

Jesus sent them out and they proclaimed the Kingdom of God. They saw healings everywhere. They experienced it. Here they were, just ordinary guys with pasts like ours and jobs like ours and families like ours. And yet as Jesus sent them out, they preached and the message went out in stunning ways. They were walking in the miraculous.

They must have come back to Jesus slapping each other on the back so grateful to be a part of a winning team.

But then the crowds came.

The crowds had been hungry to hear the Word. Now they were hungry to eat. It looked like they were staying for dinner. The disciples’ plan was to send them away, after all, they only had five small pieces of bread and a couple of little fish. We know from another account of this story that it was a lunch that belonged to a little boy.

As they looked at that solution their next thought was to have to go to buy food for all of those people. There were five thousand men. They didn’t even bother to figure out the number of the women and children.

The faith that had walked them through miracles now met a stone wall. They ran smack into the impossible.

But Jesus is the God of the impossible. He had everybody sit down. He prayed and the food was taken to the crowd. What didn’t seem to be enough now fed all who were seated on the ground. Everybody ate. They ate until they had enough.

There were even leftovers…twelve baskets. Did each of the disciples carry one home or did they each carry one to the little boy with a thank you and a blessing? He had been willing to share all he had. The disciples had only shared their doubts.

We don’t know who got the leftovers, but we know this: faith is such a mystery.

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