Monday 19 April 2010

Bible Book:

"Jesus answered them, 'This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.'" (v.29)

John 6:22-29 Monday 19 April 2010


This passage, along with the rest of the readings for this week,comes after the miracle of Jesus feeding the 5,000 (John6:1-15). It is part of an explanation of one of the famous "Iam" sayings of John's Gospel where Jesus said "I am the bread oflife" (John 6:35). Jesus is reported by John to have made several"I am" sayings which offer a challenge and inspiration to thedevelopment of our spiritual lives.

The passage begins in a bit of confusion, with people wondering howJesus has managed to move from where he had performed the miracleof feeding people to Capernaum (where today's passage is set).Tiberias was a major Roman town on the south west coast of the Seaof Galilee. Capernaum was a sizeable Jewish town, one which was thecentre of much of Jesus' ministry, on the north west of Galilee.The feeding of the 5,000 took place on the remote east coast of theSea of Galilee so the return journey to Capernaum was neithersimple nor easy. The boats from Tiberias must have done a largezigzag across the lake to find the people and help them toCapernaum. John doesn't offer an explanation for how Jesus made thejourney, but takes the chance to question the motive of those whowere following Jesus.

Jesus was quite brutal with the crowds. He accused them of wantinga meal ticket rather than believing in God. He encouraged thoselistening to change their motives and desires and encouraged themto search for the things which bring eternal life. To believe theright things was more important than it was to eat.

Jesus also explored the relationship between work and belief. Thecrowds asked 'What are the works of God?' suggesting the desire fora list of things to do. Jesus replied that they needed to believein the one God sent. Believing is something which has a consequenceon the things we do. We cannot separate what we believe from theactions we take.

To Ponder

When, if ever, is it right to care more about thethings we believe than feeding the hungry or feeding ourselves?

What possible role can there be for fanaticstoday?

When do good deeds happen accidentally?

What things can we believe in that don'tinfluence what we do? Do such things even exist?

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