Jesus Journey: 40 Days in the Footsteps of Christ

Day 25

Give Him Your Lunch

Read John 6:1–21

As I amble down the pilgrim path toward an ancient church about two miles west of Capernaum, I notice the vegetation becoming increasingly lush.

In California I’d suspect sprinklers. Here there’s a natural cause.

Several springs water the landscape, creating an oasis of trees and flowers on the lakeshore. This small hollow set between linen-colored hills stands out like a bright green emerald when viewed from a boat on the lake.

I’m walking toward Tabgha. Its ancient Greek name was Heptapegon, or “seven springs.” These days there are only six springs — the seventh was apparently closed by earthquake activity at some point in the past two thousand years.

The springs do more than refresh the plants; they produce water warmer than the Sea of Galilee. The water flows into the lake, and algae grows abundantly in the higher temperature just offshore. The algae attracts fish.

And the fish attract fishermen.

That’s why this has been a local favorite fishing spot for thousands of years.

Recently, two ancient curved breakwaters that created a first-century harbor were discovered along the shore here. That, plus the fact that it’s so close to Capernaum, makes it likely that the disciples of Jesus did a lot of their fishing right in this spot. People have been coming here to relive the calling of the first disciples for as long as anyone can remember.

It’s also the place where Christians have celebrated the miracle of the loaves and fishes since the fourth century AD. In the church here you can find a famous ancient mosaic commemorating it.

That miracle actually happened in a more remote spot the Bible calls Bethsaida. After all, between the fish and the water and the nearby towns, there would have been more than ample food for the crowds in this location. But this is a good place to consider the meaning of the miracle.

This was apparently the most famous miracle Jesus did in his lifetime — it’s the only one recorded in all four gospels. We call it “The Feeding of the Five Thousand,” but there were many more people than that; the Bible says there were five thousand men, so there were likely thousands of women and children here too. And there was no food to feed them.

So Jesus feeds them all. With one lunch.

I love the set-up for this in the Gospel of John.


Jesus asks Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” (John 6:5).

The Bible says he already knew what he was going to do, so why seek advice from Philip? He asked this to test Philip. Jesus is teaching his disciples something here, in this open-air lab class.

Philip’s reply? “Eight months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” (John 6:7)

Do you see what happened there? Jesus asked one question, and Philip answered another. Jesus asked, “Where…” and Philip answered “How…”

“Where can we get the food?” became “How will we pay for the food?”

Important switch. Philip could have answered, “I saw what you did at the wedding, Jesus. You already catered the beverage table. Now it’s time for lunch counter. Where? Well, with you, that’s where.”

But instead of starting with the where, Philip starts with the how and immediately anxiety kicks in.

I often find myself doing the same thing when I see a need. I don’t go first to Jesus. I go right to the how. And then I get so thoroughly discouraged that I never even try.

Ask yourself: Am I stalled out at “how”? Maybe you need to overcome an addiction. Or change a habit. Or make a life change. Or get through grief. The first question to ask is not, “How will I do it?” It’s, “Where will I go for strength?” Go to Jesus.


Then Andrew shows up. And his problem is, he goes on for one sentence too long. He says, “Here’s a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish.” (Just stop right there, Andrew!) “But (imagine an Eeyore voice here) how far will they go among so many?”

Like I do a lot of times, Andrew gives Jesus an excuse. “Hey, what about — dumb idea. Never mind.”

I find that usually I’m either Philip or Andrew.

Like Philip, I can be overwhelmed: “The problem’s too big!” Looking at the crowd instead of Christ.

Like Andrew, I can be discouraged: “Our resources are too small!” Looking at the loaves instead of the Lord.

Then Jesus shows them how it’s done. He says, “Have the people sit down.” The word he uses here means to recline, and that’s important, because that was the dining posture in those days. Their dining tables were low to the ground, and they reclined on their left side when they ate. What he’s saying is, Get them ready to eat. Hand out napkins. Set the table. He is ringing Pavlov’s bell. So now you’ve got five thousand hungry, salivating men. They’re looking around for the hummus appetizer. There is no going back.

Jesus prays, he distributes the loaves and fishes… and the disciples are amazed that there is more than enough. In fact, Jesus tells his disciples to clean up the food so that nothing is wasted — and there are twelve basketfuls left over. One for each disciple!

So where in your life have you been thinking that there’s just too little for God to work with?


The lesson of this story is not that you have enough resources, or that the need is not great. In fact, often you do not have enough resources. And sometimes the needs really are too big for you to handle. But through Christ, the work gets done. Because he is the one who miraculously multiplies.

We experienced one small example of this at our church last fall. I call it the Feeding of the One Million.

It all started when one small six-year-old boy named Travis told me he was going door-to-door selling paper kites he made to raise money for the food bank. The next weekend, I interviewed Travis in front of the church.

And we all got motivated to do something we never thought we could do before. Something that, to my knowledge, no church has ever done before: We raised over 1.2 million pounds of food for a food bank in a single food drive.

Was it a miracle? You might be thinking that our food and funds were not miraculously multiplied, but our resources, which most of us had assumed were too meager to make a difference, were gathered and used by God in a mighty way.

If you are overwhelmed by the need, you may be looking at the crowd instead of Christ. Like Philip.

If you are discouraged by the resources, you may be looking at the loaves instead of the Lord. Like Andrew.

Instead, just give Jesus your lunch. And watch him cater a banquet.

When I start to worry, I go to the mirror and say to myself, “This tremendous thing which is worrying me is beyond a solution. It is especially too hard for Jesus Christ to handle.” After I have said that, I smile… —Corrie Ten Boom 32


Where in your life do you feel like you have too little for God to work with? How can you “give God your lunch” today?