Sunday, 29 July 2012

29th July 2012 John 6:1-21

Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias), and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the signs he had performed by healing the sick. Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. The Jewish Passover Festival was near. When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do. Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”. Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”. Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish. When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten. After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.” Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.

Jesus Walks on the Water
When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, where they got into a boat and set off across the lake for Capernaum. By now it was dark, and Jesus had not yet joined them. A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were frightened. But he said to them, “It is I; don’t be afraid.” Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading.

This part of Jesus' story is known by anyone who's ever attended Sunday school; it's the miraculous feeding of the 5000 people with 5 loaves and 2 fishes. The message is clear; a miracle can meet the needs of everyone.

But you can dig so much deeper and find meaning beyond this first one.

There's the giving of so little and it being more than enough. Have you ever felt as if you have nowhere enough to help in God's plan? Well this reminds us that God takes what we have abs multiplies it for His needs. We can have faith in this.

There's the fact that everyone is fed, everyone. Not just some, not only those that made the grade, not only the holy and perfect. Jesus opened his arms in welcome and fed everyone - that's something we should learn from.

It's more than just meeting the physical needs of people; it's about growing the kingdom with spiritual feeding. We may start with small seeds but we can grow the whole kingdom of God with them.

There's the breaking of the bread to share. It's the Eucharist right there. Jesus is the bread of life; here he broke bread for all. Jesus gave of himself and so he keeps doing.

Jesus thanked God and blessed the bread; he shows us how we should thank God for our food and gifts and share it widely.

And then there's the gathering up of all the leftovers. Jesus does not throw the leftovers away; he gathers them up and keeps them. He is showing us that everything comes back to him and he welcomes it all. The fragments of the kingdom are as important as the rest.

Will you ever see the feeding of the 5000 the same again?

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