I didn’t understand why my father brought me with him to hear this man speak, but he did. Early that morning, he gathered up my older brother and me with a few provisions, kissed my pregnant mother goodbye and we headed out.
It took all day to get to our destination. Before crossing over the Sea of Galilee, we stopped and ate the lunch we’d packed. I was relieved once we loaded into the small boat. My father and brother were used to walking great distances, but I only walked to and from the well each day and to Temple on the Sabbath. I didn’t want to complain about the soreness in my feet or the dust that had collected almost up to my knees.
As the boatman launched us into the Sea, my father started telling my brother and I about this man, Jesus. News about him had spread so quickly, rumors of unexplainable healing, people being raised from the dead, and commotion in the Temple. Some claimed already that this man may be the Messiah.
My parents had always taught us to watch faithfully for the Messiah. Mother taught me all about how we were slaves in Egypt for hundreds of years. She reminded us about the plagues and years of traveling in the dessert to the Promised Land. My father shared with my brother what it meant to fear and love the Lord. We talked about the Lord almost every day. It didn’t seem to matter what we were doing, they were always teaching us about the Lord.
Just the way my father talked about the miracles and the prophecies past down from Isaiah, I knew there was something special about this Jesus fellow. The lame walking, the dead rising, and something about living water we heard from a friend in Samaria.
There was already a huge crowd of people by the time we reached the other side of the Galilee. I could hardly believe my eyes. I knew most of these people were probably going to Jerusalem for the Passover, but I didn’t understand why they were here. That’s when I saw him.
Jesus was with about a dozen other men on the top of a little hill. When he looked up at the crowd, he started to teach. What left me dumbfounded was that I could hear and understand every word he spoke! Despite the mass of people surrounding us, everyone seemed to stay quiet and I could hear Jesus’ words clearly. My father tried to explain that it had to do with where Jesus was standing, but neither of us seemed interested in why or how. The three of us were too engrossed in this man’s words.
Every time he looked in my direction, I felt like he looked straight at me. More than that, it was like I was the only one in this crowd, like he and I were having a private conversation. His eyes were piercing, like he could somehow see into the deepest part of my soul.
We stood there for what seemed like only a few minutes when Jesus stopped talking. That is when we realized how late it had become, how the hours passed overhead. We had already eaten the food we’d brought and it would take a couple of hours to return to town for more food. My stomach was not looking forward to the journey back…neither were my feet.
Jesus talked with his disciples for a few moments, the men seemed confused about something he was saying. When they started to approach us, we assumed they were telling everyone to head home. Instead, they were telling us to sit down in groups. Hungry and tired, but longing to hear more from this man, we sat close together in the dust and the grime.
We were pretty far from Jesus, but it seemed like he was lifting something small into the air. It reminded me of Passover, when my father would lift the flat bread and give thanks. Then he started to pass it out to the men with him. Words cannot describe what happened next…
One of the twelve men came around with a basket filled with bread and fish. He told us to take as much as we could eat sitting together. So we did. My father took one extra piece just in case, but the three of us ate until we were full. None of us could eat that extra piece. We were more than simply full, I felt satisfied, like I would never need to eat anything ever again. It was such a strange and wonderful feeling.
I started to look around at the crowd. The look on my face must have told my father and brother that something incredible was going on around us. I explained that there had to be thousands of men, women, and children surrounding us. Just by looking around I could see that everyone was sitting in large groups and that there were hundreds of those groups clustered together. Of course, I was used to counting large groups of people since my mother and I cooked for great banquets.
We marveled at how this Jesus could possibly have fed everyone! We only saw him with a few loaves of bread and a couple of puny fish. The cost to feed such a crowd must have been enormous! How could this be possible? He had to be a King to afford so much!
I looked at my father and noticed something strange. There were tears filling his eyes and streaming down his face. He brought my brother and me in closer. He retold the story of how the Lord brought us out of Egypt and took care of us in the dessert. The manna He provided each morning, the quail in the evening. Here we are again, being fed bread that must be from heaven. Surly this man is the Messiah promised to the People.
We left that place in a stunned silence. How would we share this incredible experience with my mother? What words could possibly convey everything that had happened?
Reading the Living Word of God, sometimes becomes blasé, ritualistic. We forget the power flowing from its pages…until we experience His presence in our lives. Then it becomes real, palpable. The Words no longer lie there dead on the page. They spring to life, turning our hearts of stone into flesh. What about you?
Was there ever a moment when your heart felt alive for the first time? When His Word pierced deep into your core, coursing through your veins, filling you completely? When did His Word become real in your life? I would love for you to share your experience with us below.