In the story of Jesus feeding the 5000, actually closer to 20,000, in Matthew 14 of the disciples saying, ‘We have only five loaves of bread and two fish… and Jesus responding, ‘Bring them here to me.’” I am fascinated that only one person had any food, a little boy. I am also amazed that the parable is about the miracle of feeding all the people and even having bounty of 12 bushels left over. As I read it again, I marvel at Jesus’s ministry to thousands, and yet He did not call the boy forward to receive a blessing or thanks. Actually the Gospel of John is the only rendition of the story where Andrew, brother of Peter even mentions the boy saying, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish.” The parable is about Jesus meeting human needs and points towards Himself as the Bread of Life.
Why doesn’t Jesus even recognize the boy and the lunch He took from him? Perhaps He does by indicating that the boy’s lunch was given and provided for a massive lesson for all. Was it important that it was a child? I think it adds to the lesson’s power, since they were nothing in that culture. Even the “Little ones” are important to the kingdom. Jesus certainly makes that point in Matthew 19 on how important it is for the children to not be hindered in coming to Him, “For the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” Yes, children are important. But why not identify the child in the bread parable? The child’s lunch was taken, but returned and more when all were fed. In other words, Jesus provided much more than the little one’s lunch. He wanted all to benefit. That does not say that the kid was selfish, it says that Jesus is bountiful. The kingdom of God is for all who will come and so they did that day. Not all heard and believed, but all were provided sustenance. The child was available and that’s what He asks of us.
That’s the way today. God provides us all with lunch and life and everything else. But few recognize the “indescribable gift” and believe.
As I think about the parable, I would have picked up the kid and hugged him, saying how important he and his lunch were to the kingdom. Instead it is written in Scripture for all posterity to read and understand more of the Only One with God’s power to provide out of a small lunch or even out of nothing that the whole world may know.