15. And this impromptu healing service went on for so long that it turned into an all-day meeting. So as evening set in, the disciples came to Jesus and said, "This place is desolate, and it is already late. We really need to end this unplanned assembly and let the crowds leave, so they can go to the villages and buy some food."
16. But Jesus replied, "No, don’t make them leave. Why don't you give them all something to eat?"
17. But they said to Him, "Look, the only food that we have here is five small loaves of bread and two fish!"
18. Jesus calmly asked His disciples to bring the little bit of food to him,
19. and then He told the crowd to just sit down on the green grass (Psalms 23:2). Once they were all seated, Jesus took the five loaves and the two fish, looked up toward heaven, and simply blessed what He had to work with. Then He broke the bread and handed it to His disciples, and somehow, within the transition of the bread going from His hands to theirs, there was enough for them to give to all the people!
20. Not only did everyone eat, but they ate all that they wanted…the food wasn’t rationed, and no one was told to eat sparingly. So after everyone had eaten until they were full, Jesus' disciples moved through the enormous crowd and picked up twelve large baskets of leftover food that hadn’t even been touched.
21. So, at the end of the day, all had been healed, and all had been fed. But when the disciples tried to estimate the number of people involved in this miracle, there were so many that they just counted the men, which were about five thousand strong, and didn’t even attempt to count the women and children.