Roger's Postings

Saturday, July 28, 2012

John 6:1-15.                            Jesus - miraculous gift!!                      29/7/12

 (1)  Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias), {2} and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the miraculous signs he had performed on the sick. {3} Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. {4} The Jewish Passover Feast was near. {5} 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?" {6} He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do. {7} Philip answered him, "Eight months' wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!" {8} Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, spoke up, {9} "Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?" {10} Jesus said, "Have the people sit down." There was plenty of grass in that place, and the men sat down, about five thousand of them. {11} 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. {12} When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, "Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted." {13} So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten. {14} After the people saw the miraculous sign that Jesus did, they began to say, "Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world." {15} Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.

How many of us here today would like to see a great miracle. For some it may be that they would like to see some sickness or other problem removed. I am sure that there are many others who would like to have lots of money and material possessions, and plenty to eat without having to work to hard to get it. Others again would like the world’s trouble spots to be miraculously fixed. Yes we look for miracles in many and various situations of our lives.

 In some instants that is good and right: and for many of us I am sure; and hopefully all us, have looked to God and prayed for him to help us out in our dire situations and in the not so serious as well. And this is good is it not? Maybe - maybe not.

 Here in this reading we have a pretty amazing event. Masses of people in great need and looking to Jesus for help in many and various forms. Here he provides them with food - more than enough in fact. He provides it without the money and hard work that we associate with obtaining such a great amount. He knows the need and he fulfils it. Now it all sounds really good – this is a top event – a real miracle - an inspiration. Wrong!! Listen again to the final verse: 'Jesus knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force withdrew again by himself.'

 Think about it: masses of people wanting him to be their king and he turns his back on them: he turns his back on them and walks away. How shocking! That really rocks us in our boots. He gives them what they need and then because they get the wrong idea he has to leave them and go off elsewhere. The bottom line here is a very sobering thought. Perhaps we need to listen again to this reading and ask a few serious questions. Perhaps when we look to God to help us out we, need to think a little more deeply.

 Why was it that Jesus turned his back on the people and walked away from them? Yes they were looking for miracles for sure: and they were over the moon when he provided all that food miraculously; and yes they even wanted him to be their king. But: But it was only for their own benefit: so that they could have an easy way through life, and so that their physical needs: the here and now could be taken care of. A few verses on from here he says: "I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval." Yes, they didn't really want to know Jesus personally. They didn't want to take him too seriously. They just wanted what he could give them. So they wanted him as their king for all the wrong reasons.

 Here was a sign that God himself was present in their midst, and they wanted to use him for their own ends. They did not bend themselves with humble and contrite hearts, knowing that the very presence of God was there amongst them and they were sinful human beings. They were not prepared to lay themselves before him and look to what he had in mind for them. They were not prepared to believe in Jesus and the truth that he was speaking. They were not prepared to accept that his body and blood shed for the forgiveness of sins was the real food that they needed for their lives. What did he say in this regard, "I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. As a result what did many of them do? They turned their backs on him and walked away. This was not the king they wanted.

 In light of that, we then need to ask ourselves the same questions. Are we just looking for miracles: looking for God's earthly blessings: thinking only of the here and now, without taking into account that which is of lasting value. Not really wanting to know Jesus personally, or to live in a relationship with him: not wanting to set regular and frequent time aside for him and his service to us in worship: not wanting to really know about what he has said and done for our lasting benefit. Not wanting to live in accord with how he would have us live and act. If we are honest with ourselves, I think we have say that too often this is the way that we think and operate.

 And if that is as far as we are prepared take Jesus and think of him: merely looking to him for our earthly gain, then we too are in danger of having Jesus turn his back on us and withdraw his loving, saving and miraculous presence from our lives: Our lack of true spirituality resulting in Jesus moving away from us. That would be a truly terrible thing - tragic in fact.

 But thankfully Jesus has come again and again reminding us that he has something more to offer us. And that which he has to give, he is prepared to give in abundance. This account of the feeding of the 5,000, reminds us that there is so much of his goodness that there is enough for everyone and even more left over, despite the fact they started out with so very little. Later in the chapter he goes on to speak of himself as the bread of life: the bread which does not perish, but gives life in all its fullness here and in eternity.

 We also know that in light of his death on the cross, we have forgiveness of sins and eternal life. Every time we come to the Lord's Table we are given this bread which is for all: we receive Jesus Christ himself and everything he won for us: we receive that assurance of forgiveness; enough for us and for us to share with others. But most importantly of all, we have Jesus himself here with us; dwelling in us - living with us: encouraging us - assuring us - empowering us. Here to listen to our every prayer; wanting to be in a close personal relationship with us: wanting to bless us, in every way possible: So that we may be fully satisfied and then in response give all glory to him who has given it all to us.

 So now instead of merely following the crowds of our society, and looking for earthly blessing which are here today and gone tomorrow; which satisfy only momentarily; we have here with us and for us one who has much more to offer. In Jesus, we know that we have forgiveness of sins and eternal life: we know that we have a friend who cares about our every need; so we can go forward with confidence - getting on with being good citizens of our community; looking for healing and other blessings; but never forgetting to set time aside to thank and praise, serve and obey him who has given us everything; Coming to Divine Service - to the Lord's Table - recognising his most important work of all for us. And in so doing also proclaiming to the rest of our society around us, that it is in Jesus Christ alone that we live and move and have our very being; and that it is he alone who is all important; and not just for the material blessing that he gives, but for that which is all important.

 Then with Jesus beside us and the assurance that in him we have everything, we can for the benefit of others and for the good of God's kingdom, wait patiently for the material blessings of this life: endure our sickness and pain: be satisfied with that which we have: we can also recognise that there will always be wars and rumours of wars: we can give of ourselves for the benefit of those less fortunate than ourselves. Yes, we can even take up our cross and follow Jesus' example in helping and caring, praying and doing what we can for others and society, not just for ourselves and our own little earthly kingdom. At all times we will have as the centre and focus of it all, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and his death on the cross for our forgiveness.

 As we go about doing this, we have here the assurance that we have been given baskets full of Jesus – the bread life - to share with others. We have everything going for us. So let us go out with our heads up, joyful hearts, and baskets full of the Lord Jesus and his love for us: looking to Him as our saviour and our friend, and give him all glory and honour now and always.  AMEN.

 Pastor Roger Atze
Glandore/Underdale  Lutheran Parish


Post a Comment

<< Home