Grace and peace in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
The Gospel according to Saint John is different from the other three, Matthew, Mark and Luke. Each of the Gospels tells the story of Jesus Christ and His life and work in this world. All three have the same outline. They tell how events occur one after another in direct chronology. However, the Gospel according to Saint John is more reflective. Scholars argue whether Matthew or Mark was the first gospel to be written, but most agree that the Gospel of John was the last.
The first of the Gospels was written a generation after the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus. In the early years of the first century, the church had many eyewitnesses to events in the earthly life of Jesus Christ, including the apostles. When these witnesses passed into glory, it became necessary to put their testimony in written form. These Gospels and all the books of the New Testament were written by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, so are without error. But, the inspired books do not tell us the destinies of all the apostles. According to the book of Acts, James, Zebedee's son and John's brother, was the first apostle to die. According to other sources, written without divine inspiration, but reliable to a point, all the apostles except John died by faith. Only Saint John died in his old age at the end of the first century.
Therefore, when John wrote his gospel, the other three already existed, and John saw no need to deal with some events that his readers had read about. Of the many miracles that Jesus performed, John selected seven. Because John says in this same gospel, the Lord performed more miracles than all the books in the world can contain, but he tells of those that show the way of salvation.
We heard of the first, the changing of water to wine at the wedding in Cana. This is the fourth sign. Also in the structure of his gospel, John speaks of four Jewish Passover celebrations. The last one was that of Holy Week. The story of our text occurred during the Passover season, but Jesus was a long way from Jerusalem, perhaps because of King Herod's wrath after the death of John the Baptist. Many of John's disciples followed Jesus, who proclaimed the kingdom of God had arrived. Of course, Herod did not want to hear anything about the kingdom of God and Jesus did not want to die before the hour determined by the Father.
"After these things, Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, which is the sea ofTiberias. And a great crowd followed him, because they saw his miracles that he did for the sick. And Jesus went up on a mountain, and sat there with his disciples. "
Now then, what figure from the Old Testament went up a mountain? And also fed a large crowd in the desert? Moses, with whom God made the covenant of the law on Mount Sinai. And as Moses provided food for the desert crowd in the form of bread from heaven, manna, and quail (Exodus 16: 2-21) Jesus multiplied five loaves and two fish to feed five thousand people. Moses prophesied the coming of a prophet greater than himself, and Jesus was that prophet.
But, there is something else at stake. Jesus made His new covenant in His body and blood during the Passover of Holy Week. At His last supper, Jesus took bread and having given thanks, he broke it and distributed it to his disciples. In this story we have a preview: “And Jesus taking the loaves, having given thanks, distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down; and also of the fish, as much as they wanted. ” Today, the pastors of the church continue the apostolic work when we distribute the body and blood of our Lord in the sacrament.
In our epistle (Galatians 4: 21-31), Saint Paul speaks of the two covenants. The first, the Law covenant, came from God, but it does not bring us salvation. The first covenant is like Ishmael, Abraham's son by the slave, Hagar. The new covenant brings salvation, because it is like Isaac, the legitimate son of Abraham by his wife, Sarah. The Law brings us slavery, because we cannot free ourselves from the condemnation of the Law, so we are slaves of sin. But the Gospel, the good news that Christ has fulfilled the Law in our places, brings us the freedom to be children of God.
However, many of the people did not hear this message. When Jesus multiplied the loaves and minnows, they thought if Jesus would be their earthly king, they didn't need to work anymore because all their material needs would be met. Saint John in his Gospel does not speak of the temptation of Jesus by the devil, but his account of the feeding of five thousand reflects the response of Jesus to the test, "If you are the Son of God, command these stones become bread" . Man will not live by bread alone, but by all the words that comes from the mouth of God.
"And when Jesus perceived that they were to come to take him by force and make him king, he went back to the mount by himself."
We must trust God for our material needs for our journey to the Promised Land, which is eternal life. It is not God's purpose to eliminate the need for work and all the difficulties of this life, but to prepare us for the life that is to come. When the Israelites murmured against Moses and against God, they remembered that they had a lot of food as slaves in Egypt, but they forgot the whips of the Egyptians.
Our destination is also to cross the desert of this life, a place of uncertainty, dangers and threats, to our Promised Land. And now we have the freedom to live as children of God, not as slaves to sin. So we have the peace that passes all understanding. Amen.
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