Saturday

4 July 2020

John 6:1-15

Philip answered him, ‘Six months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.’ (v. 7)

Psalm: Psalm 68:1-6, 32-35

Background 

Every time I read this passage it takes me back to one particular point in my ministry.

Long before email I had need to send letters round the members of one of the churches. I’d typed up the letters and addressed the envelopes. I popped down to the Post Office and bought the stamps I needed. These were not personal letters so I asked for a receipt. The following Sunday I passed the receipt to the church treasurer and asked to be reimbursed. Well, she was incandescent! Why hadn’t I got her permission before spending all that money? You’d think it was her housekeeping. Was she fierce? It did the trick though – I never spent another penny for that church without getting her permission! And to save you wondering, further down the road we were reconciled and got on quite well, a good working relationship. It’s just that Philip sounds just like her! And I’ve known other purse keepers, men and women, with the same attitude.

Jesus, in his ministry, often touched on cost. And so do we. In very recent time our government, in response to COVID, has reacted in manner that has been stunning. The stream of resources coming from the Treasury seems to have been endless, not withstanding it’s our money in the end. But some previous chancellors would not have risked the wrath of tax payers complaining how their hard earned money was being spent. Now I’m not entirely naïve. I recognise there will be payback and all sorts of intentions and pressures can motivate our politicians but, for them and us, Jesus seems to have a lesson.

Confronted with hungry people, Jesus is not dissuaded from sharing the generosity of a small boy. And as the meal becomes an acted parable, no one goes without and there is even food left over at the end. What is perhaps more compelling is that one of the first actions that Luke relates in Acts is the way in which the first Christians shared all they had keeping everything in common, and no one went without. A message for the Church? For society? For us as individuals, perhaps?

 

To Ponder:

  •  How do you think we could be more like Jesus today?
  • How do you think the Church could emulate the early Christians in holding everything in common?

Bible notes author

The Revd Andrew Pratt

Andrew is a Methodist supernumerary presbyter, Honorary Research Fellow at Luther King House, Manchester, and author. He has written over 1,500 hymns.

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