And when it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the hour is now late. Send them away to go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.”
The disciples, then, found the only solution available – “everyone for himself”. But Jesus wanted them, personally, to be responsible for the crowd.
And they said to him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give it to them to eat?” And he said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” And when they had found out, they said, “Five, and two fish.”
Were they being sarcastic about buying £10,000 (today’s value) “worth of bread” in this “desolate place”? Responding, Jesus asked them to find out what they really did have to give others. They’d thought that that was theirs.
Then he commanded them all to sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in groups, by hundreds and by fifties. And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the people. And he divided the two fish among them all. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men.
"Green grass"? Green pastures? In this solitary place, places of rest were available for everyone. Broken loaves? Divided fish? “They all ate and were satisfied.” There were "twelve baskets" more, one for each disciple, for others.
Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray. And when evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land.