Chapter 2: Bread and Sardines for the Hungry.
Jesus locked his gaze on Zoe. She could feel the weight of heaven upon her. It was like having a huge vacuum pump sucking out all of her scared bits, replacing them with Heaven’s boldness. She was free to believe anything that Jesus said. Zoe was really surprised by what happened next.
Jesus looked very sad and simply said: “The pastor you saw was created to be a champion and lead many, many people into my Kingdom. He was being taught and trained to set others free by my power and grace. He started out well but got tangled up. He began to care more about what people thought about him than what I said to do. He was just reaching the place where he realized that he needed to give his life to me to have everlasting life. He confused knowing me with projects and programs. In people’s eyes he was very important and highly respected, but he never really knew me. The enemy fed his pride and offered him the power and success that he was called to walk in later…”
“Why didn’t you stop him and tell him?” blurted out Zoe, surprised at her own outburst.
“I tried but he wouldn’t listen,” replied Jesus. “He confused me with the evil one, and thought that I was trying to stop his projects. The more I tried to love and correct him, the more he thought that I was the enemy trying to stop his project. If I had not intervened, he would have blocked the very people he was chosen to lead to salvation and mentor.”
“But you’ve said that love is the most powerful thing in the whole universe. How come your love wasn’t big enough to overcome the enemy’s lies?”
“Love never fails,” replied Jesus, “but he didn’t want to believe me. The pastor knew the truth but he chose to ignore it. He was scared that if he chose me, he would lose his popularity with people.”
Zoe went very quiet.
“I showed you this man’s judgment for a reason, precious one,” said Jesus softly. “You too have begun to wonder if you should be doing more ‘Christian’ activities. It’s not about activities. I AM the activity! Out of loving and walking with me every day, you too will do more and more wonderful things… To do things for me is good, but I want you more than I want your busyness. I want your heart.
“You too have drifted and begun to wonder what people think about you. I am your very life and essence. I must remain the central purpose and focus of your life, otherwise everything else will get out of balance. If you come to me daily with the heart and excitement of a child, I will fill you with so much love and joy. Then you will find your true purpose and identity. I have so many wild adventures and things for you to discover. You can’t be entrusted with these adventures if you’re trying to please other people more than me. With me, you will never be bored. As you learn to trust me more, you will offend some people. Some will even hate you because of me. They will try their best to lead you off on paths that are not right for you to take. Loving me, above all else, will always keep you safe in the perfect center of my will. Come, there is something I want to show you.”
Jesus reached out his hand and waited for Zoe to take hold of it. It was warm like a snuggly bed on a winter’s night, and as strong as a mountain. She closed her eyes and sighed. She thought that simply to walk with Jesus hand-in-hand was enough, and that there was nothing else she could think of that she wanted more, in the whole world.
When Zoe opened her eyes again, she was standing on a seashore. Jesus was still holding fast to her hand, standing next to her. She could hear the waves behind her as they broke on the sand. With his free left hand, Jesus pointed at the people in front of him. There were multitudes as far as the eye could see. The people were in agony, clutching their stomachs and scrabbling around in the sand and digging. Some of them were throwing the sand into the air, as if they were frantically trying to find something that was buried. Some people were even trying to eat it!
Zoe looked up at Jesus. She could see the sadness in his eyes as he watched the people desperately trying to feed themselves. Zoe looked back at the people, and noticed that they were all shapes and sizes, from every race. Some wore very fine clothes with lots of expensive jewelry. Others were dressed just in rags. What they all had in common was their desperation and hunger.
Jesus spoke again. “Many of these people have great worldly wealth, important jobs and are leaders. Others have nothing apart from the rags on their backs. What they all share is their poverty. You are seeing these people through Heaven’s eyes, my eyes, as they really are. Poverty is not about lacking earthly riches. Poverty is lacking Heaven’s treasure! I am the treasure of Heaven. I reward and look after my ones with my treasures, in this age and the age to come. These people are my lost family, my brothers and sisters who haven’t yet found our Father or me. These are Heaven’s lost children.”
Jesus paused waiting for Zoe to speak.
“Why are they so hungry?” Zoe finally asked, puzzled.
“They are hungry for my Word. No matter what they have, great or small, they will always feel empty unless they feast on my Word. For only my Word can satisfy and bring everlasting life. I am the Word.”
Zoe just looked at the people horror stricken. How could so many people be fed? Some of them were so thin they just looked like skin and bones. It would take mountains of food to feed them all.
She turned to Jesus, her eyes opening wide, as tears began to form. “Please feed them,” she pleaded.
Jesus looked at her and smiled. Zoe could see the tears in his eyes as well.
“That’s why I have brought you here, so you can feed them,” he replied reassuringly.
“But you said only your Word can feed them and I know that you are the Word… How can I do it?”
Jesus bent down and let go of Zoe’s hand. He tenderly put both of his hands on her head and kissed her on the forehead.
“I want to tell you a wonderful mystery that many so-called clever people throughout the ages have never understood. It takes a child’s heart to understand what I am about to say because it is so simple and so true. Every person who ever asks me to make my home inside them, to be their God, gets just that—I move in! When I move in, so does heaven. When something needs to be done on earth I do it through the ones whom I live inside. It’s not always this way, but usually. But not everyone knows our heavenly Father. He is constantly calling and beckoning his lost family to come home to his heavenly house—the Father’s house. He does this through the rest of his family, his children, who already know him because they have asked me into their life.”
Zoe felt the words of Jesus wash over her like warm rain refreshing her bruised soul. She felt revived and refreshed again as Jesus’ words brought hope and faith alive again.
“I have nothing… well nothing, apart from you here, to give them to eat,” she replied.
Jesus smiled and reached into the folds of his robe and pulled out an old rope. He handed the matted ball to Zoe and told her to throw it out into the water. Obediently, she threw it with all her might. The useless looking ball of rope unwound as it arched out over the water then sank beneath the waves. She held on tightly to one of the ends. Zoe noticed that it was dyed red. She was puzzled. Had she cut herself? Jesus stretched out his hand toward the water.
Zoe noticed holes in Jesus’ wrists where he had been nailed to the cross. The scarred holes were the same red color as the rope. The end of the rope sank into the water. She knew she should pull the rope back to the shore again. Together with Jesus, Zoe tugged on the rope, expecting it to be very difficult to pull. Instead it almost flew out of the water with ease. Miraculously, in place of the rope, there now was a huge net full of fish on the beach. Zoe bent and examined the fish. They were real! She was meant to give the fish to the hungry people. There will never be enough, she thought. The net of fish was huge, but still not enough to feed the thousands of hungry people. Desperately Zoe looked back at Jesus. She knew that if he had enabled her to catch these fish, there must be a way to feed everyone.
Just then a boy, who looked to be about four years old, noticed Zoe for the first time. He walked over to her hesitantly.
“’ungry,” was all he said and held out his quivering hand.
Instinctively, Zoe reached into the net and pulled out a tiny sardine. The boy held it up and then clutched it to his chest, as though it was the most beautiful precious thing in the whole world. He ran around in circles, jumping and shouting at the top of his voice. The other people, startled by the boy’s outburst, stopped their grubbing around in the sand. One by one, they approached Zoe holding up their empty hands, begging her for food. Zoe looked up at Jesus who just nodded, as he laid a reassuring hand on her shoulder. She took out another sardine from the net and handed it to the next person. Again she pulled out a sardine and gave it to another hungry person. Every time she put her hand into the net, she always pulled out a fish. This was impossible! Surely there weren’t enough sardines to feed so many people? And yet there were.
Jesus handed Zoe an old rumply paper bag. It was brown, like the color of his robe. Zoe was puzzled. She carefully opened the bag and peeked inside. What she saw was a broken loaf of bread with a hole in it. Zoe reached into the bag and pulled out a piece of the bread. She handed it to another boy. Instantly, as the boy ate the bread, he put on weight. His protruding bones and bloated tummy disappeared under healthy skin. The most amazing transformation though, was in the boy’s eyes. The deadness and hopelessness that had covered them like a grey fog disappeared. His eyes began to glow and he looked like a brand new person.
“Now I know,” he shouted, “now I understand!”
The boy plunged his hand into the open paper bag and ripped off a chunk of bread. He ran over to what must have been his family, and started cramming it in to their mouths.
“Jesus IS the bread of life,” he yelled. “He sets the captives free!”
The bread had the same effect on the boy’s family. They too were instantly transformed as if giant chains had fallen from their bodies and minds. One of the boy’s sisters had had a twisted leg from birth. The moment she ate the bread, the leg uncurled like a new leaf. The girl ran around jumping and screaming. Then she too reached for the bag and fed others.
By now Zoe knew that there would be enough bread for everyone who wanted it. Jesus took her hand again, indicating that she too should take some bread from the bag and eat….
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