Jesus went up on the mountain and there he sat down with his disciples. The Jewish feast of Passover was near. When Jesus raised his eyes and saw that a large crowd was coming to him, he said to Philip, “Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?” Philip answered him, “Two hundred days’ wages worth of food would not be enough for each of them to have a little bit. One of his disciples Andrew the brother of Simon Peter said to him, “There is a little boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish: but what good are these for so many?” Jesus said, “Have the people recline.”
Naftili and his father had traveled to the Sea of Galilee to trade some wool with and put some on ships bound for Chorazin and points north. They had stopped in Bethsaida to purchase some food for their journey home. Several Jews spotted them and began to harass them. Naftili was confused. He knew Abba had told him to stay away from Jews and that they were different and that their faith was the true one. But these people did not seem any different from them at least they did not look any different. It did not make any sense. So they found a Samaritan who would sell them some barley loaves and fishes and began their journey back to Sychar and home. While walking they came across a loud large group of people listening to a man speak. Abba wanted to hurry past, but Naftili was walking slowly and listening.
“Naftili, come on If we wish to get out of here before dark you must hurry.”
“But, Abba, is not that the man who was in Sychar last year. Did he not forgive Mary? I want to stay and listen to him. I like hearing what he says.”
“No we cannot stay, besides he is a Jew.”
“Wait father. There is a crowd gathering by the lake Jesus is speaking. Can we go and listen to him for a little while. Mother is not expecting us till dinner.”
“Yes I suppose we can he. Just do not tell Rabbi Jacob.”
Naftili laughed. “What is so funny son?”
Naftili pointed at the crowd. Standing on the very edge was Rabbi Jacob.
Well I guess we need not keep it from him. Let us join him and see what this Jewish teacher has to say.”
They could hear the seagulls squealing on the shore and the wind gently blowing through the palm trees as they approached and found a rock sandy spot to sit and listen.
Rabbi Jacob looked at the pair and raised his eyebrows in surprise. “Welcome Joseph and Naftili. And what are you doing here.”
Joseph and Naftili laughed as they got comfortable on the ground. Father cleared his throat. “We could ask you the same question. It appears as if we all have an interest in hearing this man speak.”
Rabbi Jacob nodded and winked at Naftili. “See I told you it would work out if your obeyed your father.”
Naftili nodded and smiled. Things had worked out and hopefully his father would be as excited by Jesus as he already was.
Jesus voice pulled him in. He could sit and listen to him speak all day. What he said made sense. But he was a Jew and Abba said that the Jews were wrong and to stay away from them. But he felt drawn to this man to the things he said. Could father be wrong, could the rabbis and teachers be wrong? What was so wrong with the Jews anyway? Naftili quieted his mind and listened as Jesus spoke of love and forgiveness. This did not sound wrong.
Before he knew it was early evening. HIs stomach grumbled and the crowd of about five thousand was getting restless. One of Jesus’s followers was trying to figure out a way to feed all these people. Naftili was not sure how they could do that. Jesus would have to send all these people home, but some of them had travel a long way and needed ford before they could travel.
Just then one of the man’s followers approached Naftili.
“Hello, greetings, I am Andrew. I see you have some food and it is getting late in the day. Could you possibly share your meager meal with the master he has been speaking to the crowds all day and is very hungry?”
Naftili looked to his Abba. “Abba, what do you think, can we share with the teacher.”
“Only a few loaves of bread and some fishes. That will not be enough but you can have it.”
“Come with me, so the master can bless your humble offering. Although I agree it will not be enough.”
Abba hesitated and then nodded. “We would not get much further today and can get more food tomorrow.”
Andrew the apostle led them to where the master sat with his other followers. Naftili handed the food to Jesus. But Jesus refused to take it and instead insisted that Philip and Andrew distribute it to the people “Master, this boy has offered to share his food. I am sure it is not enough for the crowd, but at least you may eat.”
Jesus looked at him. then the apostles. “No Andrew! Take the loaves and fishes and distribute them to the people. I will eat when they have all been fed.
“But Master there is not enough.”
“Just do as I asked.”
Andrew nodded and the other eleven stood and began to distribute the food.
Naftili knew the food would not feed this whole crowd and tried to object but the master just winked at him as the disciples passed out the food.
They never seemed to run out and soon all the people seemed to have something to eat and the men collected leftovers.
When they returned they were amazed along with Naftili that there had been more than enough. They carried with them several baskets with leftovers. Now Naftili knew he had to listen to this man Jesus for something miraculous had just happened when all had doubted there had been more than enough.
He and his father sat down with Jesus and the others and listened to Jesus speak. Even though they were the same scriptures the Rabbi read at temple, Jesus made them sound different and interpreted them different, they were so full of love and peace.
Soon it was night and Jesus and his disciples left to pray and make camp. The rest of the people, Naftili estimated at least 5 five thousand settled in small groups and built campfires to keep warm through the night. Abba was not sure what to do. Naftili could tell he had been impressed by Jesus and the things he said, but still did not feel comfortable staying here with so many Jews about. They got as far away as they could without actually leaving the hillside. when Philip came up to them. “The Master knows of your distress and has invited you to rest in our camp for the night. Then you can resume your journey in the morning.”
Abba accepted the invitation and soon Naftili and his father were settled with the twelve and Jesus. All were tired so there was little talking as each settled down to sleep.
Before he could close his eyes and escape to dreamland Jesus came over to the corner of the field where they had chosen to lie down.
He happily welcomed them and sat down for a moment to share about their experience of the day.
Soon Naftili could no longer keep his eyes open and Jesus sensing how tired he was said good night and went to his own sleeping pallet.
Naftili watched as he bypassed the pallet and went off by himself. I wonder what he is doing.
Abba overheard his whispers and answered. “My guess would be that he is praying. Something we should do, before sleeping.”
“Yes Abba.” The two said their night prayers and settled down for a night’s rest.