“You feed them.” That’s what caught my attention. Those are actually some hard words. Here are 12 disciples and Jesus is saying, “you feed them.” Jesus has the power to do so, but he calls them to. I feel like Luke has taken a turn. Jesus has been doing all this amazing work, but here in chapter nine it all shifts from him doing the work to him calling others to do it. Imagine how the 12 felt here: There are 5,000 men out there needing to eat. The text says 5,000 men. That means there were women and children on top of that. So let’s say there’s one woman and one child per man. That means 15,000 people. There are 12 disciples. That’s 1,250 people per disciple that they are to feed. But nevertheless, Jesus says, “you feed them”.
There are a lot of hungry people out there. The are, first and foremost, a lot of physically hungry people. And there are a lot of spiritually and emotionally hungry people as well. We, as the church, have something to give. We have resources. We have physical resources to give to feed those who are in need, and we have spiritual resources to give to those who are in need of something less tangible. We just, maybe, don’t know it, just like the 12 didn’t know it. When Jesus says, “you feed them”, Jesus is saying, you have the resources to do this. We too have the resources. We simply have to trust that we do. We have to take risks, as we look out at the crowd in our community. Instead of saying, “send the crowd away”, we need to listen to Jesus’ words, let them in, and heed them: “You feed them”.