Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. - Mark 6:41-42
Jesus looked over the field of ragged followers and was satisfied. He knew that the miracles he performed could be construed as gaudy and theatrical, but what better way for people to accept God’s love? How else could He get through to these people but by sheer astonishment? Satiating their hunger was a nice touch too, He thought. Everyone likes a free meal. For these were the multitudes with hungry souls.
A young woman, prematurely wrinkled and dry from years of toil, presently approached. She tugged at His robe. “Hi, Jesus?”
“Yes, my sister?”
“This is going to sound sort of weird,” she spoke, wincing her sunburned face. “But I’m not really a huge fan of this fish. Do you have anything else back there?”
“Oh,” Jesus said, surprised at the response. “Um...”
“Don’t get me wrong it was really cool that you just created the fish out of thin air and decided to give it to everyone and all, but it’s just not very flavorful.”
Jesus looked at His disciples for guidance and their eyes avoided His. Peter shrugged and scrunched his nose, “Itcould use a little garlic salt, or pepper, or something.”
“Wow…” the King of the Jews was at a loss for words.
“No, no, no. It’s great that you performed that miracle. We’re really grateful,” Peter back-tracked. “But I mean, this cod is really overcooked.”
“Yeah the bread’s a little stale too,” cried an old man from the crowd. “What is this, rye?”
“I don’t know!” Jesus protested. “It’s bread. Bread is bread.”
“That’s kind of oversimplifying it,” yelled another voice. “You wouldn’t eat honey on sourdough bread would you?”
Jesus shook his head. “Uh… I’d eat it if I was stranded in the freaking desert and had nothing else to eat!”
Peter, sensing that Hosanna Emmanuel was becoming upset, rose to his feet and pulled his teacher aside. “Jesus, listen. I’m your friend. I’ve followed you everywhere. I think at this point, I’ve earned the right to be a little candid with you. The fact is, you’re kind of a lousy cook. Good Prophet. But bad cook.”
“I can’t believe what I’m hearing.” The astonishment had switched places. Now it was the Jesus who was incredulous. “The whole reason I did this was so that you would understand that God loves you and will always take care of you if you show love and charity for one another. You’re rejecting God’s everlasting and eternal love because you don’t like the taste? Are you all that fickle? Anyways, I’ve said this before: a man cannot live on bread alone.”
“Definitely not on this nasty bread!” another heckle resounded off the hills. The multitudes suppressed five-thousand chuckles.
“In this instance,” Jesus lowered his voice, calming his temper. “The bread is a symbol. It represents God’s love. I’m trying to get you to see that you need the bread.”
“But wait,” the disciple Mark interjected. “So you’re saying that we don’t need bread to live, but we need God’s love, but God’s love is in the bread?”
“You’ve got to admit rabbi,” Mark daintily commented. “That is a bit convoluted.”
“He makes lousy fish sandwiches and even worse metaphors!” the heckler called again to more laughter.
“Fine,” Jesus shouted in a voice that was strong and loud. “You all took the free stuff I gave you. So you like getting stuff for free, right?” There was a murmuring of approval from the crowd which lifted like dust from behind a plow. “Ok, cool then. If you like free stuff so much, I’ll give you something else for free.” Jesus blinked hard and cast out his hands. He muttered something unintelligible. The dim sky slowly tore open. A chorus of archangels shook the Earth with their lamentations. The men and women ducked for cover. He opened his eyes once more.
“There,” he pronounced, cocking his head to the side. “Now you all have herpes.”