“Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, and blessed them. Then, breaking the loaves into pieces, he kept giving the bread to the disciples so they could distribute it to the people. He also divided the fish for everyone to share” (Mark 6:41, NLT).
Hunger is a powerful drive. It lets us know when our bodies need fuel. Extreme hunger makes our survival instincts kick into high gear. I’ll never forget the first time I read about the Donner party which crossed the mountains in 1847. They were stuck in the snow in the Sierra Nevada for several months. A few made it, but only after resorting to cannibalism. Up until that time I had no idea hunger could lead to such drastic measures.
Jesus knew about hunger too. He experienced extreme hunger during his time in the desert. His compassion led him to feed the crowd on the hillside with a few loaves of bread and some fish. He also knew about another kind of hunger, one that affects the whole world. In extreme cases, this hunger can lead to murder, war, broken relationships, loneliness and heartache. The deep hungers of the human soul for love, recognition, respect and acceptance are ones Jesus is willing and able to fill, not with loaves and fish, but with his grace, mercy and love.