Summary: In light of Mother's Day, we must depend on God to do what only God can do, but we also must give what we have if we are to truly join in the process.
On this Mother‟s Day we are reminded of the profound role of a parent. I believe that a mother is nothing less than a mediator of God‟s love. A mother is role that is by nature giving… sacrificially giving of life. They give nourishment from their own resources… and they guide in how to navigate the most basic aspects of being human. And one thing they discover… is that they cannot just give…they must also to bless the power of the emerging life with it‟s own participation. While their growing child cannot provide everything… they must be empowered with choices.
Today, Jesus teaches us that we as children of God have similar choices to make. We must depend on God to do what only God can do… but we must give what we have if we are to truly join in the process.
As we continue in our series entitled A Journey with Jesus through the Gospel of John, we come to such a moment.
John 6:1-14 (NIV) 1 Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias), 2 and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the miraculous signs he had performed on the sick. 3 Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. 4 The Jewish Passover Feast was near. 5 When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, "Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?" 6 He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do. 7 Philip answered him, "Eight months' wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!" 8 Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, spoke up, 9 "Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?" 10 Jesus said, "Have the people sit down." There was plenty of grass in that place, and the men sat down, about five thousand of them. 11 Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish. 12 When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, "Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted." 13 So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten. 14 After the people saw the miraculous sign that Jesus did, they began to say, "Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world."
Let me help us capture what unfolds here and then what Jesus imparts to us…
This is the only major event that is noted by all four Gospels along with the resurrection.
One reason may be the sheer number of people present. Such a mass of lives shows the external evidence and validity. Scholars note that Gospel accounts were circulating 40 years after Jesus… if they testified of events seen by so many that were not true… it would have been denounced as just fiction and fabrication. The other mentioned in all Gospels is resurrection … notes that Jesus showed himself to 500. This event reminds us that these written accounts are merely a living testimony that was carrying on what was already known and being carried by many.
So what did unfold? Jesus is in a process of heading away with his disciples… in John it follows the intensity of escalating confrontation with the religious leaders… and other accounts describe an
intense period of ministry… having gone village to village. They head across the Sea and to where there is an open field on the hillside nearby.
From Capernaum to the other side of the Sea of Galilee was a distance of about four miles and Jesus set sail. The people had been watching with astonishment the things he did; it was easy to see the direction the boat was taking; and they hastened round the top of the lake by land. Near Bethsaida Julias, (Lk 9:10) almost on the lakeside, was a little plain where the grass always grew. It was to be the scene of a wondrous happening. At first Jesus went up into the hill behind the plain and he was sitting there with his disciples. Then the crowd began to appear in droves. It was nine miles round the top of the lake and across the ford, and they had made the journey with all speed. We are told that the Feast of the Passover was near and there would be even bigger crowds on the roads at that time. It is likely that the great crowd was swelled by detachments of pilgrims on their way to the Passover Feast.