2 Kings 4:42-44; Psalm 145:10-18; Ephesians 3:14-21; John 6:1-21
I walked into the pastor’s office on Friday at First English and was amused to see a copy of “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Bible” on the desk. A gift left over from the rummage sale. Placed on my desk by those with a sense of humor for a man who can appreciate humor.
I’ve never looked through the Idiot’s Guide for the Bible so I was curious to see if they had any insights regarding the gospel lesson for today.
Both events described today, the feeding of the 5,000 and Jesus walking on water are miracles. Miracles are covered in chapter 16 with the catchy title “We’re Going to Need to See Some ID.” Then in the box below, we are given the executive summary:
- Jesus’ miracles give creedence to his teachings
- Jesus demonstrates control over nature, disease, and even death
- Jesus turns water to wine, walks on water, feeds multitudes, casts out evil spirits, raises people from the dead and more.
There are three highlights to Jesus’ presence on earth:
- birth - because he is God incarnate
- death/resurrection - The God/Man dies for our sins and the resurrection shows Jesus is more powerful that sin, death, or the devil.
- Ascension of Jesus - seated on the right hand of the Father
In between his birth and death, Jesus demonstrates that he is God Incarnate. Only God is able to do the miracles Jesus does. And, as he demonstrates that he is the God/Man, he helps to understand that he is the one who can take away our sins upon the cross. If Jesus can make food grow miraculously and has mastery over gravity, then he can certainly die for our sins and extend to us forgiveness and the promise of eternal life. The miracles of Jesus clarify Jesus’ identity. His ID is what he has done with the authority of the Father and in the power of the Holy Spirit.
One of the statements in the Idiot’s Guide about the miracle of feeding the multitude is this: “While we are dividing, God is multiplying.” One of the gifts of Holy Scripture is the persistent witness that God sees things differently than we do. Where we see scarcity, God sees abundance. Where we see ‘not enough,’ God sees plenty. While the disciples are dividing the bread and the fish and grumbling about how this is not enough to feed the twelve, let alone the thousands; God multiplies the bounty so that everyone is satisfied in the presence of the Son of God.
The miracle of the feeding of the multitude is made even more miraculous when we think of just how small the bread and fish are. This is essentially a sack lunch that Mom sent along with Johnie when he announced that he was going with his buddies to hear what the Teacher Jesus says. The bread is flat bread resembling what we call pita bread. The fish are more than likely small fish like blue gills. Not much at all.
But where we see not enough, God sees more than enough.
Our response to the miracles of Jesus is to have faith in him as our Lord and Savior. To trust his vision of things. Trust them enough to act on them. Trust his words for us: you belong to me; you are loved; you are forgiven.
The ID that we check is in the church’s possession now: The Scriptures, the sacraments of Baptism and Lord’s Supper, the cross, the community of people who come together to worship, to sing, to pray. Jesus sends us into the world with his credentials so that the world may know of God’s miraculous way of doing things on this earth. We point to God’s work around us and invite our friends and neighbors to experience this Jesus along with his Father and the Holy Spirit.
All God’s people say…Amen.