Hi friends! Welcome back to the Gospel of John! Today has a lengthy focus on eternal life and the qualifications to receive it, a slightly different take on the feeding of the 5000, and a foreshadowing of those that will desert Jesus. Also, I think today is one of the better examples of solid interplay between the Psalm and the primary reading as Jesus talks a great deal about the manna from heaven and being the bread of life and the psalm is a retelling of that story from Exodus. What will jump out for you today? Let's find out!
Scripture to Read
Questions to Consider
What does this teach me about Jesus?
What do I think Jesus means by the bread of life? (Yesterday's story was about the water of life - what point is he trying to make?)
What, if anything, feels applicable to today? What does it call me to do in response?
- Context -
Today's commentary comes from the ever popular "The New Interpreters Bible"
John 5: 1- 18 (Jesus Healing of the Lame Man) is the first overt rejection of Jesus in John's Gospel and it's the one that escalates the quickest going from rejection to immediate threat of killing. One of the negatives of John's Gospel is that the author often calls the enemies of Jesus "the Jews" and readers should be careful to not jump to anit-Semetic conclusions. Jesus was a Jew, friends, thus we cannot make the claim that Jew's are bad unless we are willing to say Jesus was bad. That would be....bad. (haha.) The "Jews" in John 5 make Jesus their enemy because he threatens their power, authority, and their very perception of reality. The defense of the sabbath is to defend the entire system that orders life and religious practice for his contemporaries. The rejection of Jesus in this story, then, is a rejection of the possibility of new and unprecendent ways of knowing God. The question for the reader is whether to confront this rejection head-on and recognize where this dynamic plays itself out among Jesus' "own" today - this is, within the church itself.
John 6 (Jesus feeds 5000 and walks on water) The two miracles of John 6:1-15 and 16-21 present the reader with two vivid enactments of the revelation of God's grace and glory found in Jesus. It's also worth noting that these two revelations of grace are familiar occasions of human need - the need for food and the need for safety and shelter from danger. These stories act as counter balances to one another. In the story of the feeding the people are so amaze by Jesus that they proclaim their desire to make him king (6:15) as such when encountered by the glory and grace of God we as humans try to compact that into systems in which we already understand - to conform Jesus to systems of power and authority. But true glory has nothing to do with worldly power in the gospel of John, but eternal power. Thus, the story of Jesus walking on water to the rescues of his disciples isn't a moment of personal glory (showboating) by Jesus but rather a declaration that God's glory is and always has been for the same purpose - God has been, is, and will be their rescue. Jesus glory is not revealed for power, but for grace filled pastoral care.
Praying the Hymns
Our prayer for today is inspired by hymn 260 - Christ, upon the Mountain Peak. Yup, you guessed right, this is another transfiguration hymn! This really was a huge moment in the Jesus story. Let us contain
1 Christ, upon the mountain peak, stands alone in glory blazing; let us, if we dare to speak, with the saints and angels praise him: Alleluia!
2 Trembling at his feet we saw Moses and Elijah speaking. All the prophets and the law shout thru them their joyful greeting: Alleluia!
3 Swift the cloud of glory came, God proclaiming in its thunder Jesus as the Son by name! Nations, cry aloud in wonder: Alleluia!
4 This is God's beloved Son! Law and prophets fade before him; first and last and only one, let creation now adore him: Alleluia!