Updated: Jul 10
Every town around the Sea of Galilee was buzzing with rumors that Messiah had finally come.
“Mama,” I said, “what do you think he is like?”
She took the small barley loaves out of the fire and set them down to cool.
“I heard he is kind and he looks after the poor,” she said with a small smile. She blew on the small loaves once more before counting out five of them and setting them on a cloth. “Fetch me the fish,” she said. I did as I was told, picking out the nicest looking ones from Papa’s catch that morning. Mama wrapped up my lunch and placed it into my carpet bag.
“Stay in town,” she said, slinging the bag over my shoulder.
“Yes, Mama,” I said, wrapping my arms around her waist. I breathed in the smell of barley bread and spices. “I love you!”
“I love you too, Benjamin.”
Hours later I’d woven through the crowds who had all come to see Jesus.
Talk of hunger was spreading throughout the camp, many people had come from afar. I looked down at my carpetbag. Maybe Jesus was hungry, too. I lifted my carpet bag off my shoulder, and reached inside, taking out my lunch. I found him speaking with one of his disciples.
“Hello, child, what’s your name?”
I peered up. Another of Jesus’ disciples was speaking to me. He wore fishing garb, not unlike Papa’s, but as he asked his question, I felt courage leave me.
“B-Benjamin,” I said.
“My name is Andrew,” he responded. “Why have you come?”
I swallowed, no words coming to mind, so instead, I lifted the food, still wrapped in cloth, for him to see. He moved aside the cloth and peered at the small fish and loaves. He chuckled lightly, a pitying look coming over his eyes.
The disciple speaking to Jesus said, “two hundred denarii worth of bread wouldn’t be enough for each of them to have a little.”
Andrew cleared his throat, “There’s a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish- but what are they for so many?”
I felt my cheeks turn red at his words. About to cry, I looked over to Jesus, expecting him to laugh just as Andrew had done, but was instead met with a look of kindness as he walked past the disciples, in my direction. He stooped down until he’d met my eyes. My breath caught.
“What have we got here?” he asked.
“M-my lunch,” I stuttered. “B-but you can have it, Master.”
My stomach grumbled in protest, but this time loud enough for Jesus to hear.
He smiled, “This will do nicely, Benjamin.”
He took the meager offering from my hands and motioned for me to follow. The crowd had become restless but when Jesus appeared before them, they quieted down. He lifted the food to Heaven and gave thanks before turning to his disciples and instructing them to each take up a basket. As each disciple did so, I heard a sound of awe come over them as each basket started to weigh heavily in their hands.
Jesus turned to me with a smile and whispered, “watch.”
Mama’s loaves and Papa’s fish began to be passed from hand to hand among the people, each one of them taking enough to be filled. Fathers, mothers and children all took from the twelve baskets, and did so in abundance and still, the loaves and the fish kept multiplying right before our eyes. I gasped, and looked to Jesus who chuckled at my delight.
That day I traveled home with my belly and my carpet bag full. Mother didn’t believe me at first when I told her about Jesus’ miracle, but when I lifted the heavy bag into her hands, she became speechless.
I’d come home with more than I’d left with.
So much more.