The miracles in today's reading help to identify Jesus with God. We begin with the feeding of the five thousand which reminds the Jewish reader of the feeding of the one hundred in 2 Kings 4:42-44 by the prophet Elisha. John adds the detail of the loaves being barley loaves to the synoptic versions. The identification of the loaves also helps to pull the listener back to Elisha as they were also barley loaves.
|We are like most mammals when it comes|
to abundance. We tend to hoard if we can!
What does this say about our response to grace?
The main difference is that the miracle of Jesus far outstrips the prophet Elisha.
As with the miracle of the water turning into wine, the abundance of the bread also helps to remind the early church (and the current church) about the abundance of grace within Holy Communion.
In the second miracle, Jesus uses the language "I am" in verse twenty which correlates to the name of God from the Hebrew scripture. Of course, mastery over the sea would be a god-like power that mortals would not exhibit. It is also interesting to note that the boat moves almost immediately to their destination when they seek to take Jesus into the boat. This mystical travel would remind the disciples that they are not dealing with the ordinary here.
As we consider this passage for Lent, it is interesting to note that Jesus withdraws from the crowd so they don't attempt to make him their king in verse fifteen. After this miraculous display, one could hardly blame the crowd for seeking to place Jesus in this role. However, it also leads one to reflect that when in the presence of the miraculous, people often turn to their own best interests. Or they turn to what they think are their own best interests. How could making Jesus the king be wrong?
People seem to be better at telling God what to do rather than listening for what God wants from us. Let's take some time to listen for God's direction today.
Prayer for the day:
Cleanse our minds, O Lord, we beseech thee, of all anxious thoughts for ourselves, that we may learn not to trust in the abundance of what we have, save as tokens of thy goodness and grace, but that we may commit ourselves in faith to thy keeping, and devote all our energy of soul, mind, and body to the work of thy kingdom and the furthering of the purposes of thy divine righteousness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Prayer from the Euchologium Anglicanum
Photo by JamieDrakePhotos via Flickr.com. Used under the Creative Commons license.