Chapter 9 - Who Is This Man
Helen Dowd

What? Who did this Man think He was? He claims He can even heal. And what right had He to tell anyone that his sins are forgiven? Does He think He is God?

"Now Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was done by Him (Jesus); and he was perplexed, because it was said by some that John had risen from the dead…Herod said, 'John I have beheaded, but who is this of whom I hear such things?' So he sought to see Him."
Luke 9:6-9

About six months had passed since John the Baptist had been beheaded. Every time Herod closed his eyes to try to sleep, he could still see those eyes stabbing into his soul. He had allowed John's followers to take his body and bury it. But still he could see those piercing eyes. Would he never be rid of the picture? But now, to make matters worse, he was hearing reports from all sources that there was some "Miracle Man" roaming the country side, causing uproar among the people. He heard reports about blind men seeing, lame men leaping, deaf men shouting the praises of this Prophet and miracle worker. WHO IS HE? Could it be John the Baptist come to life? Come to torment him? Then, to add to his nightmare, he learned that the followers of this "Usurper of authority" had sent out His disciples to all parts of the land, and they too were performing miracles. He would seek this maniac out and get rid of him, once and for all!

Historical setting:
About 28 A.D.
Place: Over the Sea of Galilee, into the mountains
Persons: Jesus, the twelve apostles, a lad, and a crowd of people
Scripture: John 6:1-14; Luke 9:10-17; Mark 6: 30-44; Matthew 14:13-21

"Some wondered who Jesus was. But others followed Him. Many flocked to Him to be healed." (NKJV Introduction to Mark.)

Multitudes followed this Man who was sought by the Pharisees and leaders of the religious sector, and who was feared by Herod. They had witnessed the miracle of the man at the pool (the man at the pool - John 5:1-15) and had heard Him give assurance to the Nobleman of Herod's house that his daughter would be healed. (The Nobleman - John 4:46-5:15) They thronged around Him, desiring healing, and hanging on His every word. But who was He? Maybe if they followed long enough they would find out.

The disciples had just returned to Jesus after their experience of going from place to place on their own and performing miracles and telling people about this great Prophet who had come to seek and to save them from their sins. They were enthused about their adventure, but a few of them brought back to Jesus a very disturbing report: King Herod was searching for Jesus. He said he wanted to "meet" Jesus, but the disciples had heard differently from many of the people they had met. Herod was seeking Jesus to kill Him.

Jesus sensed the disciples' fear for His life. He knew too, that they were tired from their journeying from place to place. He was also still saddened by the news of John the Baptist's death. It was time to get away for awhile. He knew the perfect place, a deserted spot, just out of Bethsaida.

After their long climb up to the top of the mountain, Jesus and His disciples sat down. The disciples breathed a sigh of relief. Oh, it was so good to get away from the crowds of people for a bit. Now they had Jesus all to themselves. They were eager to tell Him more about their adventures in the villages they had been to. Flopping on the moss, and taking off their sandals, they rubbed their tired feet. At last they could close their eyes for a much deserved rest.

Rubbing His eyes, Jesus looked into the distance. Crowds of people were struggling up the hill. Many who had gathered around Jesus saw Him and His disciples climbing into a boat and crossing over to the other side. Like sheep, they had followed Him. Jesus stood up, alerting His disciples. Now was no time to rest. His heart was moved in tenderness. Motioning the people closer, He began to teach them. He saw the hurt and pain on the upturned faces of the people before Him. He held out His hand to them, touching any who came to Him, healing the blind, the lame and the maimed. He called the little children to Him, lifting them into His arms and comforting them. Mothers crowded around, pushing their way past the disciples, yearning for Jesus to touch their little ones. The disciples tried pushing them away, but Jesus rebuked them. “Let the little children come to me,” He said, “for of such is the kingdom of Heaven.” After all, it was about the Kingdom of Heaven that Jesus had just been speaking.

Evening came. Dew began to settle upon the grass. Jesus looked again with compassion at these hungry, thirsty people. It was for Heavenly manna and everlasting water that they had climbed the mountain to get to Jesus. However, Jesus knew too that their physical bodies must be fed before they left for home, or they would faint on the way. The disciples, wanting to get His attention, were tugging at His garments. “What is it that you want?” He said; although He knew what it was they wanted to say to Him.

“It is getting late and the people must be hungry," a disciple whispered.

Turning to Phillip He said, “Where shall we buy bread that these may eat?” But of course, Jesus knew what He would do.

Philip looked at Jesus in astonishment. “We can’t feed them! Even two hundred denarii’s worth of bread wouldn’t feed this crowd. And who would have that much money? That is like two-thirds of a year’s wage! No, we have to send the crowds home. We cannot feed them.” What was Jesus thinking? Philip shook his head and turned away.

Hearing the conversation between Jesus and Phillip, Andrew, Peter’s brother, elbowed his way closer, touching Jesus on His shoulder. Timidly, and without much conviction, he said, “There is a little boy here who has brought a lunch from home, but it isn’t much. It is only five barley loaves and two small fishes. But what good would that be, with so many to feed?”

Jesus smiled at Andrew. “Bring the lad to me,” He said, and turning to His disciples, He instructed, “Make the people sit down in groups of fifty.”

After the disciples had the people gathered together, they had them sit on the grass round about. “There must be at least 5000 men, not counting the women and children,” they reported to Jesus.

Taking the little boy by the hand, Andrew led him to Jesus. The little lad smiled and handed over his lunch.

Jesus lifted His eyes to heaven, blessing the small offering. Then He told His disciples to pass the lunch around. The people looked in amazement at the baskets of food being passed around amongst them. Each one ate to his heart’s content.

“Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost.” Jesus said.

The crowds couldn’t believe their eyes when they saw twelve baskets filled with loaves and fish. In amazement, some of the boldest of the crowd said, “This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.” Their stomachs full, some of the boldest put their heads together, plotting how they could capture Jesus and make Him their King. At last, they would be free of the Roman domination and be out from under the puppet King Herod.

The Lad With The Lunch

The lad woke at dawn, all excited.
Today was his birthday, you see.
He lived near a town called Bethsaida.
Very close to the sea, Galilee.

His mum had prepared him a picnic.
She told him, “Be home before dark.
He meandered his way through the village,
Then walked to the wilderness park.

He saw there a great crowd of people.
They were listening to a Man dressed in white.
The boy nudged his way close to see Him.
He witnessed the blind receive sight.

The lad watched the man bless some children.
He saw Him make lame men to walk.
For hours and hours he listened,
Mesmerized by the Man’s wondrous talk.

All at once he heard a commotion:
The Man’s helpers were running around.
“It is late, and these people are hungry.
Master, never can enough food be found.”

"Send them home,”
said another disciple.
“We haven’t the cash to buy bread.
There are thousands of men, women, children.
How ever can this crowd be fed?”

It was then the lad went to Andrew.
He had seen this disciple before.
He said, “Here are five loaves and two fishes.
It’s not much. I wish it were more.”

Jesus blessed the wee lad and his offering.
The food fed five thousand that day.
The crowds all went home, in great wonder:
“Who’s this Man, who such wonders display?

“We must capture Him and make Him our Leader.
We have witnessed such wonderful things.
We would be free from our burdensome bondage!
Let us crown Him and make Him our King!”

But once again, Jesus slipped away, passing through the crowds, and to the mountain to pray by Himself.


© Helen Dowd

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