It is just a guess, but i’d bet I’ve read John’s story of Jesus feeding 5000 more than two dozen times. I’ve probably heard it read another 10. I’m pretty familiar with the narrative, perhaps too familiar, as today I noticed a detail for the very first time.
After Jesus enables his disciples to feed the massive crowd, after the 12 baskets have been filled with leftovers, after the now satisfied group has tried to crown Jesus as king… after all of the craziness that an hour with Jesus can bring, the Disciples get into the boat and shove off for Capernaum on the other side of the sea.
What is odd is that they leave without Jesus.
Jesus is still up the hill, in the deserted place, seeking rest, renewal and counsel from his Father. And yet, the disciples are on the move. Where do they think they are going? What is their attitude in leaving? Why don’t they wait for Jesus?
The title of this post is “where are the going,” a question for which John gives us an answer, but he leaves a lot out there for us to ponder. Have the disciples given up? When Jesus refused the crown, when he disappeared into the hills rather than fulfill the Messiah-ship that they envisioned, did they decide to just head home? There have been times that I’ve tried to leave Jesus in the dust. Times when the going got just a little too tough, when the path became treacherous, when sink or swim were the only two options. You’ve probably felt the same way a time or two.
Have you ever tried to leave Jesus only to have him walk up right beside you and say, “have no fear”?