This Week's Story

I prefer crowds where there's physical and mental room.

This Week’s Story relives American history and the Bible through brief inspiring stories presented on mp3 audio recordings and text for reading.

Crowds in the News

As I left the concert I couldn’t push through the crowd. There were too many bodies and too little space. I prefer crowds where there’s physical and mental room. I’ve been in ones where a speaker tried to manipulate me. Then I’ve been in crowds that allowed “room.”

I once sat on the ground in the center field of the Kingdome in Seattle. The stands were full; center field was full. It was the biggest crowd of the year at the Kingdome. 74,000 people! Many more were outside the stadium. People had come to hear Billy Graham preach. They were excited, but there was no shoving. As I listened to music and Billy Graham, I felt free to question anything I saw or heard. I was amazed at how Billy spoke words about God that I had heard many times before, but now I was hearing each word with fresh understanding.

Almost two thousand years ago a man rode into Jerusalem on a colt. A crowd cheered for him, “Bless the King who comes in the name of the Lord!” The same week, the same man, in the same city, was a prisoner standing before a Roman governor. He’d done no illegal deed, but a crowd was shouting, “Kill him! Crucify him.”

In November 2015 in the United States, it was the season of Thanksgiving. Conversations like the following were heard. “Rob, come with me tomorrow morning to the Black Friday sales at Walmart.”

“No! I don’t want to get caught in a crowd of people trying to buy cheap.”

“It’s a charge! We can be at the front of the line before the store opens. We’ll buy PS3 games on sale.”

“Nope, not interested. People will grab games and be mad at each other. There may be a fight, which won’t get broken up until the security arrives.”

“Like I said, ‘It’s a charge!’”

Nearly 2,000 years ago another crowd gathered in the hills by the Sea of Galilee. Five thousand men with thousands of women and children came looking for Jesus. Would He perform a miracle for them?

They found Jesus sitting on a grassy hillside with his disciples. Jesus watched the people. “Philip,” Jesus asked, “Where can we buy bread to feed all these people?”

Philip was startled. Why would they feed this crowd? They hadn’t invited them to lunch.

Andrew said, “There is a young boy here who has five loaves of barley bread and two fish. But, I don’t know how that can help?”

“My friends,” Jesus instructed, “tell the people to sit down.”

People wondered. What’s going to happen?

Jesus took the boy’s five loaves of bread. “Father, we thank you for providing food for our bodies.”

The bread was placed into baskets and passed to the people. Then Jesus took the fish and did the same thing. The people ate until they were full. Philip’s brain was tingling. Do these people realize that something very strange is happening? Five loaves of bread and two fish do not feed thousands of hungry people!

Jesus ordered his disciples, “Gather the leftovers, so no food is wasted.”

The disciples gathered the bread remains. People watched curiously. Twelve baskets now were full of bread left from five loaves.

“How is this possible?”

“Jesus must be the deliverer promised in the Scriptures by God. Who else could cause food to multiply?”

Jesus gave no explanation, but a crowd had seen a miracle.

The account of the feeding of the people comes primarily from John 6 in the Bible.

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