If you'd prefer to listen, here's the link: https://youtu.be/S--xm4XRNtg
Prepare to listen. As you wait in silence, hear God’s words: Incline your ear, and come to me; listen, so that you may live.
Prayerfully Read John 6:1-10a
After this Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, also called the Sea of Tiberias. 2A large crowd kept following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing for the sick. 3Jesus went up the mountain and sat down there with his disciples. 4Now the Passover, the festival of the Jews, was near. 5When he looked up and saw a large crowd coming towards him, Jesus said to Philip, ‘Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?’ 6He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he was going to do. 7Philip answered him, ‘Six months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.’ 8One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, 9‘There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But what are they among so many people?’ 10Jesus said, ‘Make the people sit down.’
This is the only miracle story that all four Gospels tell. It’s so familiar to us, we tire of reading it and thus often merely skim it. Yet, there are new lessons for those who prayerfully attend to it once again and John’s account highlights aspects not in the other three.
First, only John states that Jesus went “up the mountain.” Even though the eastern shore of Galilee, where Jesus had gone to, is rugged terrain, there’re no mountains there. This means that John used the word mountain in its symbolic sense to indicate the place where God dwells, God’s home. We need to read between the lines and get John’s hint—Jesus, up the mountain, was at home, in his own place.
Second, only John places the feeding of the people immediately, when they arrived, and not at the end of a day teaching and healing by Jesus. Seeing the crowd arrive, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?” Good hosts in Jesus’ culture always fed those who came to their home. Jesus was being a good host, willing to feed those who came to his home, the mountain, the place where God dwells. He told the disciples, “Make the people sit down.” The rest of the chapter emphasizes that Jesus, the host, will feed those who come to him. He will make us sit down so that we can receive what he offers.
Sit down and receive Jesus’ nourishment for your heart and soul today. What did you see this time in this familiar story?
Respond to Jesus
Jesus you are the bread of life and you feed us with living bread. Make me sit down so that you can feed me today and always. Amen.
Go live obediently in the world. Sit down and receive.
Reflection on Scripture has been a constant in my life ever since I can remember. Reflecting on Jesus in the Gospels has become a necessity to get Jesus right. Join me in reading John to see Jesus more clearly this Lent.