Summary: Proper 13 (b) Christ Himself is the sign that we should believe Him and believe in Him, that He is sent from God to do His Will, and make us to be His people.
May the words of my mouth, and the meditations of our hearts, be acceptable in Thy sight,
O Lord, our Rock and our Redeemer. Amen.
“Here’s your sign”
What are the signs of our times? It seems like there could be lots of them. America seems to be plowing full steam ahead to immorality and destruction. The whole issue of marriage is not over, rather it is just beginning. A pregnancy clinic is embroiled in a dilemma about whether there is trafficking in infant tissues. There were more shootings. There’s a dozen and half wannabees for Presidents of the United States, and not matter which political flavor you tend to prefer, all of them have a scandals, scoundrels, and liars. It hardly feels worth the effort to cast a ballot. Where are we going? What’s coming next? Is the earth going to make it? Are we going to make it? As the song goes, “sign, sign, everywhere, a sign.” So, is there a sign? Can we see it? Understand it? What does it say? What does it mean?
The crowd in our reading today was looking for a sign. Jesus had fed the 5,000 with the loaves and fishes. He had sent the disciples out in the boat, and then He walked on the water. They notice that He is gone, and they sail for Capernaum, Jesus’s home town, looking for Him. And they find Him there. So they have figured out who was in the boat and who was not, and they ask Him, “Rabbi, when did you get here” meaning Teacher, how did you get here?
Jesus knows why they have come. They are calling Him Teacher, but He knows what they want. “You are not seeking Me because you saw a sign, but because you had your fill of the bread.” They are not looking from more teaching, they are looking for more bread. “Don’t work for food that perishes, but for the food that the Son of Man will give you, ?” “What then must we do, to do the works of God?” So, okay, right now, they are following along. It looks like they are going to get it. “The work of God is that you believe in Him who He has sent.” Now, you would think, they would say, “O wonderful. Yes, Lord, we believe !!” or something like that. No, instead they words to the effect, “So okay, what are you doing to do so that we know you are legit, to make us believe you are from God.” They are asking for a sign. Hello? You are here because you saw Jesus turn loaves into much bread. You just saw Him do this. They don’t get it. You want to say, “Here’s your sign.”
They had seen the miracle, but they did not see the sign. How can that be? (Show sign in Spanish – Peligro Veneno) Got it? Oh, here, let me read it for you? (read) Better? You don’t understand? Can’t you see the sign? Well, Vicar, you should know better, showing a Spanish sign to bunch of Dutchmen. Try this one. “Vorsicht Dachlawine.” Surely you understand this sign. Maybe I just need to bring it close, then you can see it? No? You see it, but you don’t see it.
The Israelites had been slaves Egypt for 400 years. 400 years. America is 230 years old. They saw water turn to blood, darkness cover the land, they saw frogs, lice, locusts and hail and boils. And the death of the first born. They had seen the Red Sea parted and the army of Pharaoh drowned. Surely they had seen the signs that God had and was delivering them, and that He was bringing them into the Promised Land. Now, they are out in the wilderness and what do they say?
Why did you bring us out here? If only we were back in Egypt, there we had lots of food! They were thinking of their stomach, their appetites. They have forgotten that they were slaves in Egypt. They just want more food. More. More. More. What about the signs? Did they forget them, too? Did they ever even really see the signs?
So God sends them Manna from heaven. Manna just means – What is it? God provided for them by giving them something they did not know, did not recognize. And the crowd talks about this manna, our fathers ate manna. He gave them manna to eat. Jesus point out that it was not Moses who gave them manna, but God. And it was something they did not understand. Now, He is here. God has given Him. The bread of heaven. But seeing Him, they don’t Him. God has again given them “What is it?” something they don’t understand.