July 27, 2011

Among many others

There are a lot of stories from the Bible that we know so well, we've forgotten what they actually say (let alone what they actually mean (assuming we ever did know that)).  The Feeding of the 5000, as I told you before Final Jeopardy last night, appears in all four Gospels.  The feeding of a multitude appears six times in all.  We get it.  Jesus did a lot with a little.

As I said yesterday, it is The Miracle of Jesus.

But what we miss, is that it happened in the midst of a whole lot of other miracles. (I'll stretch the context outside of the pericope tomorrow).  Jesus, trying to find some peace and quiet, sees that the crowd has followed him, sought him out, and has compassion on them.  Then, Matthew tells us, he cured their sick.  The word he uses here isn't the typical word for healing (iaomai) but instead is the basis for our word "therapy" (therapeuo).  The first definition of which being "to serve."

Jesus' Big Miracle of feeding, where the disciples participated by serving the crowd is precipitated by Jesus' many smaller miracles of healing, where he himself served the crowd.  Maybe this is a superfluous detail, but I think it shows us something big.  God does miracles in two ways.

Sometimes, he takes care of it himself. BOOM - miracle done, person healed.

Sometimes, he invites disciples to be the agents of his miracles by handing out food, teaching the forgotten, loving the unlovable, starting an IV, whatever.  Sometimes big miracles happen because a lot of people listened to God and acted as his agents of change.

The Miracle in this story, the one we learn about our call to discipleship, is the feeding of the 5000, but we learn that lesson only because we know from the many other examples, that God is quite able to do it all on his own.


jennifer said...

maybe it reminds me of other passages I like such as John 6:27 and John 6:35-significance of John 6:26?

jennifer said...

starts out with thoughts of bread being bought ends with bread being given-liking this miracle better all the time

jennifer said...

John 6:32 & 33-Jesus-true bread-"life to the world" (green grass is alive)

jennifer said...

sorry, there's something really bugging me about this miracle-the fact that it's in all 4 Gospels verifies that it happened but also there must surely be something about God in this miracle that He really wants us to know-what would a child see about God in this miracle? This miracle & what is happening today-famine from drought-what would a hungry child see about Jesus in this miracle? These people were no longer hungry-what was done with the leftovers is apparently insignificant-it's easy to understand that feeding the hungry is part of the "work of the church" but there's so much more to this miracle than I realize-At first the crowd is following Jesus because of the miraculous signs he had performed on the sick (John 6:2) Then, their reason changes in John 6:26-then in John 6:33 and in John 6:34 they want "this bread from now on".
There's something in this miraculous feeding about God-something God is saying that is really relevant to what is happening in the world today, perhaps. There's something God wants us to know about Him in this miracle. When people are recovering from illness or famine or being deprived of food for some reason they are hungry. I've heard it said that food is like medicine to the sick. Can't quite figure out everything that God is saying in this miracle. But I don't think, I'll read it with the "Oh, here this one is again attitude any more."

jennifer said...

Our Lord was physically hungry-never noticed that before-Mark Chapter 11:12 "The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry."