As I made my way up the hill, the crowd pushed in on me from every side. The mood was frantic. Everyone, it seemed, was talking about what had happened in the past week. John the Baptiser was dead. Murdered. And now we were without a teacher. And so here we were, looking for the one he had spoken about… the one he had baptised well over a year ago.
And then suddenly, as if someone had commanded us to take a seat, we were all sitting in groups on the grass. I took a moment to look around. I was surrounded by a vast sea of people… men, women and children… there must have been about 10,000 of us. Maybe more!
Unfortunately, I didn’t have a very good view of what was happening up at the front, but I could tell that something was going on. And then I heard it. The growing sound of a hushed silence. It washed over us like a wave.
What was was going on? A few people around me were whispering as I strained my neck to see… and then I saw them. Men, carrying baskets, were slowly making their way through the crowd towards us. They were handing out food.
At that moment, I became very aware of my hunger. It had been a long day and an even longer walk, and I thought to myself, “I hope there is some left by the time it gets to me.” I didn’t have to wait long. A rough looking man, Phillip I think his name was, was standing right in front of me. His smile caught my attention. Here was a man overflowing with joy. I looked into the basket. It was full. How was that possible!
It wasn’t fancy food, but it was food none the less, so I tore off a chunk of bread and grabbed a couple of small, dried fish. As I did, I noticed something truly amazing. I was lost for words. We all were.
So we sat there on the grass in silence and satisfied our hunger. And then I heard it. A different sound this time. At first a dull murmur that gradually grew into a lively conversation. People were exclaiming, “Did you see what just happened? I can’t believe my eyes!”
Others were saying things like, “This man must be the Prophet that God said was coming into the world.”
Some even began to talk about a revolution… about making this miracle worker King.
As the sun was setting in the western sky, I made my way down the hill toward the shore of the lake. As I did, I wondered to myself, “Who is this Jesus?” I was hungry to know more.