Saturday 08 July 2017

Bible Book:

"Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted. When they were satisfied, he told his disciples, 'Gather up the fragments left over, so that nothing may be lost.' So they gathered them up, and from the fragments of the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten, they filled twelve baskets." (vv. 11-13)

John 6:1-15 Saturday 8 July 2017

Psalm: Psalm 33


This sign, or miracle, is found in all four Gospels but forJohn's Gospel it seems to perform a particularly critical function.The fourth Gospel does not include an account of the Last Supper,but this story perhaps takes its place.

The location of the story at a point when the Passover festivalwas approaching should perhaps be our first clue here: the Passovermeal is, of course, the occasion of Jesus' last supper with hisdisciples. Passover commemorates the exodus of the Hebrew peoplefrom slavery in Egypt (Exodus12), so forms a very powerful backdrop to Jesus' sacrificialdeath on the cross, which frees God's people from slavery tosin.

The question, in verse 5, is our second clue. It mirrors thequestion asked by Moses of God, in the wilderness - he cries out,"Where am I to get meat to give to all this people? For they comeweeping to me and say, 'Give us meat to eat!'" (Numbers 11:13). Like Moses, Jesus is leadingpeople to freedom, and assumes a responsibility for theirwellbeing. But unlike Moses, in John's Gospel Jesus is fully incontrol of this situation, as he is throughout his ministry, and isa model of faith, not of desperation.

Then comes the little boy, with his bread (verse 9). Barleyloaves were a staple part of the poor family's diet - basic butfilling. But the bread has much greater significance even thannourishment for the body, and here is our third clue. In the LastSupper narrative, Jesus breaks bread and describes it in terms ofhis broken body and the very real sacrifice which he will make forhis followers. He doesn't do that in this story, but read on, andwe find later in the chapter that he describes himself as bread -the bread of life (verse 35). Again, the parallel and contrast aredrawn with Moses and the provision of food in the wilderness(Exodus 16), again portraying Jesus' mission as a second and moreprofound Exodus.

To Ponder

  • The remains of the feast are collected up into twelve baskets,"so that nothing may be lost". God gives to us abundantly. Whatgifts have you received? How careful are you not to waste thosegifts (material or otherwise)? How might you ensure that all can befed through God's generosity to us?
  • Look through the Gospels, or think about the Gospel stories youknow, to find the places where bread is mentioned. Think about itssignificance - it is a means of survival, it represents God'sgoodness, it stands for life and salvation. And what else? Nexttime you take bread into your hands, take a moment to reflect onthis and to give thanks for it.
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