35. And this spontaneous teaching evolved into an all-day seminar, lasting until very late in the afternoon. So as dusk began to set in, His disciples came to Him and said, "This place is desolate and isolated, and the day is almost over.
36. We need to send the crowds away so that they can go into the nearby country and villages to buy themselves something to eat."
37. But He replied to them, "No...let's not do that...why don't you just give them all something to eat right here?" And they said to Him, "Are you suggesting that we take money and go ourselves to buy them enough bread to eat, and then get back here before dark to serve it to them?
38. But He said to them, "No...how many loaves do you have here right now? Go and see." And when they looked around at what was on hand and available, they came back to Him and said, "It looks like we have five loaves of bread and two fish."
39. When he heard this, He instructed the people to sit down on the green grass, organizing them by companies.
40. So they cooperatively separated themselves into ranks of hundreds and fifties, spreading out all over the hillside.
41. Then, taking the five loaves and two fish, He looked skyward, gave thanks, blessed the bread, and started breaking it. And He kept on breaking loaves and breaking them again and again, handing them to the disciples to give to the people. He also miraculously divided the two fish among them all.
42. And everyone ate, and everyone was completely satisfied.
43. After they all were full, reclining on the ground, the disciples filled up twelve whole baskets of broken pieces from the loaves and of the fish.
44. And when they counted the people by companies, they discovered that those who ate the loaves were 5,000 men, accompanied by women and children.
45. Immediately following this, He insisted that the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of Him to the other side to Bethsaida, while He personally finished dismissing the crowds.
46. After the last of them had moved on, He went off by Himself into the hills to pray.
47. By late evening, the boat was out in the middle of the lake, and Jesus was alone on the hillside.
48. From where He was standing, He could see that His men were experiencing great difficulty with the rowing, because the wind was strong and against them. So, sometime after midnight, in the very early hours of the morning, He came out to them, walking directly on the surface of the water. Initially, He just casually walked by them, as though taking a leisurely stroll on the lake in the middle of the night...in fact, He would have just passed by them and walked on if they hadn't noticed Him.
49. But they did, in fact, notice Him walking by, only they thought He was a ghost, and began to scream and cry like scared little children.
50. But He said to them, "All right, boys, calm down...it's Me! There's no reason for you to be afraid!"
51. And He climbed into the boat with them, and the wind settled right down. And, even though they had just seen the miracle of the loaves and fish...and even though they had been performing miracles, themselves...they were still apparently astonished beyond measure by the miraculous.
52. It was as if the feeding miracle that had occurred only a few hours earlier had never even happened. Observing supernatural manifestations had not enlarged their capacity for understanding spiritual things, nor had it increased their tolerance level for the suspension of natural law. They were still glaringly underdeveloped in these areas, and so they were still quick to panic and become overwhelmed by fear when faced by natural challenges.
53. But there was no more discussion about it this time, and when they had crossed over, they reached the land of Gennesaret, and came to anchor at the shore.
54. And it didn't take long for the action to begin again. In fact, as soon as they got out of the boat, the people recognized Jesus,
55. And they started running from everywhere, carrying around sick people on their sleeping pads to any place where they heard or thought that He might be.
56. And, for that window of time, wherever and whenever He came into villages or cities, they would lay the sick in the marketplaces and beg Him to walk by so that the people could touch the fringe of His outer garment. And, sure enough, as many as touched Him were completely restored to health.