Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Blog # 202 John Chapter 6 -3

Blog # 202 John Chapter 6 -3 Chapter five of John's Gospel gives the story of Jesus curing a sick man on a sabbath. John tells us the reason some of the people were determined to kill Jesus was that "he was not only breaking the sabbath but, worse still, was speaking of God as his own father, thereby making himself God's equal." Then John gives a lengthy account of how Jesus tried to convince those who were arguing with him that He was authentic and worthy of their trust. That is important as an introduction to the content of Chapter 6. Verses 1 to 15 gives the story of a hungry crowd listening to Jesus preach and his miraculous multiplication of fish and bread to feed them. This miracle is given by John not just as one more miracle of Jesus, but as a sign and evidence of His compassion for the hungry people. As one of us Jesus knew and had experienced their human need and hunger for food. Here John wants us to see as well the compassion of God in Jesus. A significant detail of the story is given in John telling us Jesus had His disciples gather up fragments that were left after the people had been fed "so that nothing will go to waste". In response to the multiplication of the bread and fish the people want to make Jesus their king, a great political figure like some of their kings of old, now in their current moment of history to lead them in battle against their Roman conquerors. Jesus, however, did not come nor want to be their king, to rule them and lead them in war. He came and desired to be their God , to give them MORE than a human king could give, to give them Eternal Love. Verses 16 -21 has Jesus fleeing to the mountain to avoid being acclaimed as King. The disciples leave by boat for Capernaum. When they were about three or four miles out on the water Jesus came to them, walking on the water. Jesus assures them it is He, they need not be afraid. And suddenly "they came aground on the shore they were approaching." Here again, John is not relating this action of Jesus as just one more miracle among others, but in the context of his sixth Chapter as a sign and evidence that the power of GOD , even over nature is in Jesus! That is a very important point in John's narration of this episode. The divine power Jesus exercised in walking on the water is the same divine power He exercised and exercises when He said and says over bread at the Last Supper and over the bread we offer in the Eucharist "This is my body..." It takes divine power to make that statement true. In having Jesus walk on the water John is claiming that divine power over nature for Jesus as an introduction to the remainder of the Chapter. The following day the people find Jesus on the opposite shore of the lake. In verses 22 - 59 Jesus talks of BREAD FROM HEAVEN and identifies Himself as this bread. The people argue with Him and He tries to convince them that what He has said is true. He expresses disappointment in knowing they want from Him less than He has to give, less than He was sent to give. They want more bread for the body, gifts that are temporary. He wants to give them more, bread for their souls, "bread that remains unto life eternal".

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