Okay, now we have something to work with to feed 5000+ people—five barley loaves of bread and two fish. (See Feeding the 5000 – Time to Eat) Not a lot to go on, but then it wouldn’t be a miracle if the food was already plentiful, now would it?
Being an organized person, I love the next scene in this power-packed day. Jesus saw the need for getting things organized and he asked the disciples to help Him. We have hind sight. We know what’s going to take place, but they didn’t.
Jesus gives two instructions. Pretty simple.
Jesus replied, “Tell them to sit down in groups of about fifty each.” Luke 9:15
Sit on the grass (the” grassy slopes” John says)—in groups of 50. Easy breezy, you say? But look at the crowd! We discover they are 5000 strong.
I’m going to give you a little sneak preview of how I plan to construct this scene in my next book about Matthew.
Peter stood straight up, hands on hips. “He wants us to do what?”
Matthew turned to Peter, “He wants the people to sit in groups of 50 or so.”
Gesturing to the crowd of thousands, Peter complains, “You mean we have to count off to 50 that many times?”
“Peter, can you usually get about ten men in a boat?”
“A big boat.”
“Just think five boatloads in each group.”
“Oh, I see.” So Peter shouts over to some of the other fishermen disciples and repeats the plan.
Matthew smiles and quickly sums up a group of ten men. “The master wants you to sit on the grass,” he tells them. As they sit, he motions another group of ten to join them. Then another ten, “Will you join this group, please?” And so forth for five tens—fifty!
Then he turns to another group of ten. “Please form a new group by sitting here.” To another ten, “Please join this new group.” And on and on.
Keep in mind that they’re going to need 100 groups of 50. That means each disciple must organize about eight groups of 50. As you can see, it’s a mammoth task, but with each disciple helping, it is do-able. It will take time, however.
No doubt some in the back begin sitting when they see others sit. Then you have the problem of asking some to get up and move to form separate groups. Nothing is easy when you’re dealing with massive groups of people.
I imagine the disciples have been so busy with the “project” that they haven’t considered what’s coming next. They will eventually realize that all this preparation will serve them well. They will be able to move around the people and know who has been served and who hasn’t. Much more orderly! A great lesson for us in the value of planning ahead.
Next week is the big climax. How amazed the disciples and the people will be when Jesus feeds them all with just five loads of bread and two fish.
~ Joyce ~