Good Friday Witness A Boy and His Lunch by Sara Sosa, pastor at Plymouth Covenant Church in Plymouth, MN
Being young is hard. There is so much that I want to do and see, but I have to wait for permission first. Permission from grown-ups. Permission from my dad. I am waiting for that permission now. He is thinking.
I suppose he is thinking that a boy like me has no place on a hill like Calvary. On most days, I guess I would think he is right. But today is not most days. Today is the day that they have taken Jesus from Nazareth to Calvary to die. I still do not understand why.
The past week has been a blur. Many people are talking about him. About Jesus. I have heard many things said about him...everything from king to blasphemer. This is where being young has had an advantage. My ears have been open...listening to talk, to argument, to rumor. No one has noticed the young boy on the edge of a crowd, of a gathering, of a room filled with adults who have been trying to discern what to believe about Jesus. In this way, I have enjoyed being overlooked. But in their wondering, grappling and fear about Jesus and the claims surrounding him, I wish I had a voice. I could tell them who he is. I know.
My mind goes back to another hill. My father and I had walked a long way to hear Jesus teach. It was dry and dusty...hot. Thousands had gathered with curious minds wanting to decide for themselves if Jesus was the promised Messiah...or just a really good teacher. There were so many people gathered on the hillside...mostly men. But some of them had brought their families, too. Children and women were present in a way they could not have been if Jesus had been teaching in the temple. I noticed many people who were not Jewish. It occurs to me now that perhaps Jesus meant that to happen. Maybe he taught outside on purpose so that everyone could hear. So unlike the Jewish leaders of our synagogue.
I could hear his voice clear and strong...though we were far from him. I noticed some men gathered around him, trying to keep the crowds from pressing in too close, holding back mothers who were bold to draw near with their children. I asked my father about this group of men who seemed to be in service to Jesus. He told me they were his followers...his disciples.
As I listened to Jesus teach, I found I wanted to be his follower. His teaching was simple...a message a boy like me could understand. I listened, mesmerized by this teacher until my thoughts were interrupted by the grumbling of my stomach. I looked at the sun in the sky and realized it was well past the mid-day meal. I reached for the food my mother had given me when we left home that morning. A simple lunch of bread and fish.
As I opened the sack, one of the followers of Jesus came through the crowd looking for food. I stood up and offered my lunch. He walked over to me and looked in the bag, shrugged his shoulders and accepted my offering. “It’s not much,” I said quietly. He smiled and said, “It’s more than nothing.” I watched him walk away, wondering what he would do with my food. Then it occurred to me that he might be bringing it to Jesus. The thought pulled me from my place beside my father and without realizing it, I ran after the man who had claimed my lunch for Jesus.
But it wasn’t a lunch for Jesus. My bread and fish became so much more. In the hands of Jesus, it became lunch for EVERYONE. I watched my lunch multiplied over and over again until everyone on the hillside had fish and bread...thousands of us had fish and bread...and there was still some left over. He fed us physically that day...he fed me spiritually. I know who Jesus is. He revealed himself to me on that hillside.
So I wait for permission to join him on another hillside. Some might say a boy has no place there today. But Jesus doesn’t see me as a boy. He sees me as a follower...one who has seen, recognized and chosen to believe. If anyone asks me, I will tell them who Jesus is. He is the one who gathers all people – young, old, male, female, Jewish, non-Jewish – all people to himself. He is the Messiah.
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