The apostles then rendezvoused with Jesus and reported on all that they had done and taught.
Jesus said, "Come off by yourselves; let's take a break and get a little rest." For there was constant coming and going. They didn't even have time to eat.
So they got in the boat and went off to a remote place by themselves.
Someone saw them going and the word got around. From the surrounding towns people went out on foot, running, and got there ahead of them.
When Jesus arrived, he saw this huge crowd. At the sight of them, his heart broke - like sheep with no shepherd they were. He went right to work teaching them.
When his disciples thought this had gone on long enough - it was now quite late in the day - they interrupted: "We are a long way out in the country, and it's very late.
Pronounce a benediction and send these folks off so they can get some supper."
Jesus said, "You do it. Fix supper for them." They replied, "Are you serious? You want us to go spend a fortune on food for their supper?"
But he was quite serious. "How many loaves of bread do you have? Take an inventory." That didn't take long. "Five," they said, "plus two fish."
Jesus got them all to sit down in groups of fifty or a hundred - they looked like a patchwork quilt of wildflowers spread out on the green grass!
He took the five loaves and two fish, lifted his face to heaven in prayer, blessed, broke, and gave the bread to the disciples, and the disciples in turn gave it to the people. He did the same with the fish.
They all ate their fill.
The disciples gathered twelve baskets of leftovers.
More than five thousand were at the supper.
As soon as the meal was finished, Jesus insisted that the disciples get in the boat and go on ahead across to Bethsaida while he dismissed the congregation.
After sending them off, he climbed a mountain to pray.
Late at night, the boat was far out at sea; Jesus was still by himself on land.
He could see his men struggling with the oars, the wind having come up against them. At about four o'clock in the morning, Jesus came toward them, walking on the sea. He intended to go right by them.
But when they saw him walking on the sea, they thought it was a ghost and screamed, scared out of their wits.
Jesus was quick to comfort them: "Courage! It's me. Don't be afraid."
As soon as he climbed into the boat, the wind died down. They were stunned, shaking their heads, wondering what was going on.
They didn't understand what he had done at the supper. None of this had yet penetrated their hearts.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)