Today we remember the most famous picnic in religious history. How many people were there? Some say 5,000. Did that include women and children? We know for sure that there was at least one child -- girl or boy, nobody knows for sure -- who was vital to the story.
This event wins the prize as Scripture's No. 1 picnic because the New Testament narrates a version of it six times: twice each in Matthew and Mark, once in Luke and once in John. But like every favorite family story, the details vary. Today, we hear John's rendition.
John presents Jesus as so popular that a huge crowd was following him -- somehow, 5,000 people crossed the lake to be with him. That detail alone suggests that we may be in the realm of stretching the facts to make a point, a well-accepted technique in storytelling through the ages. Writers can exaggerate to tell truths that statistics can't reveal.