Miracle Number One—Thousands Fed With A Few Loaves and Fishes
Matthew 15:34-36. And Jesus saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven, and a few little fishes. And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground. And he took the seven loaves and the fishes, and gave thanks, and brake them, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples—
Just then two older, white-haired men stepped forward and intervened. Let’s call them Newt and Judas Lieberman.
“Hold on a moment, everybody,” Newt said. “There seems to be enough to go around, but before you eat we have to get a few things straight.” He turned to a couple of lads that were standing nearby and said: “You boys, run and get some plastic bags and a scale, and you’ll eat for a discount. Hurry!”
“Why hurry?” one of the boys answered. “Because the people are starving?”
“No,” Newt replied. “If the fish spoil in the sun they’ll be worthless. Now go!” He turned and addressed the crowd: “Before anyone gets any ideas, you should know that a hundred Roman soldiers are about five minutes away and marching toward us.”
“We are non-violent people gathered in peace,” one of the disciples explained.
“Good, that simplifies the matter of crowd control,” Newt replied.
"Excuse me," the disciple meekly said; "but this is our food."
"Is it now?" Newt replied. "Do you have soldiers backing you up? I think not. My food."
"Uh, Newt," Judas Lieberman quietly said. "Wouldn't it be more expeditious to just sell sandwiches rather than weighing and bagging everything?"
“Good idea! What’s the going price of a fish sandwich in Galilee these days?” he asked the disciple.
The disciple was utterly bewildered, and mumbled: “I don’t know, half a shekel?”
Newt rubbed his chin and contemplated for a few moments, then said: “Very well, taking into consideration the circumstances, the rule of supply and demand, and the clear lack of competition, I think we can fairly expect to get a shekel a sandwich. The line forms in front me.” Then he lowered his voice and said to Judas Lieberman: “You fill the bread, I’ll collect it.”
“You always make me get my hands dirty,” Judas Lieberman complained.
“They are your people,” Newt answered. “And knowing how finicky they are about their food, they’ll be more apt to buy knowing that it was handled by a fellow Jew.”
“Uh, these people don’t have any money,” the disciple explained. “They are the poor children of God. We've been nurturing their souls, and were about to nourish their bodies.”
Newt’s face scrunched into a twisted visage of contempt. “Do they think free market means free eats and free rides for freeloaders? Whose sardines are these anyway?”
“Our Lord and master provided them,” the disciple revealed, pointing Jesus out.
“Newtie Patootie,” Judas Lieberman whispered in his ear, “that’s the famous Nazarene who’s been working wonders and miraculously healing the sick about Israel of late. I'm not a believer myself, but I have heard the tales.”
“Is he now?” Newt said. He approached Jesus and looked him up and down. “Do you have your fishing license?” he asked. Jesus stared back in silence. Newt continued. “Because if you don’t, that’s a violation of the law, and you’ve been cheating the government of tax revenue. Answer me.” Jesus continued to stare back in silence. The Roman soldiers appeared, and several gathered behind Newt and Judas Lieberman.
“Very well,” Newt said to Jesus. “Even if you do have your license, you’ve obviously exceeded the legal catch limit, so one way or another you’ve broken the law. Boys, arrest and take him to jail. We’ll let a judge sort out the charges.” Two apprehended Christ, and Newt instructed the other soldiers to disperse the crowd, eat their fill of fish and bread, and throw the leftovers to the dogs. Then he turned to the people and shouted: “And the rest of you, get out of here! Go get jobs and feed yourselves! You hang around with your hands stretched out--you claim in prayer, but I see the truth through your lie. You’re waiting for someone to hand you something for nothing. You lazy slobs make me sick! Go on, before I command a slaughter!”