APRIL 16. EASTER. WK. 2. FRI. JOHN . 1-15
Jesus went off to the other side of the Sea of Galilee – or of Tiberias – and a large crowd followed him, impressed by the signs he gave by curing the sick. Jesus climbed the hillside, and sat down there with his disciples. It was shortly before the Jewish feast of Passover.
Looking up, Jesus saw the crowds approaching and said to Philip, ‘Where can we buy some bread for these people to eat?’ He only said this to test Philip; he himself knew exactly what he was going to do. Philip answered, ‘Two hundred denarii would only buy enough to give them a small piece each.’ One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said, ‘There is a small boy here with five barley loaves and two fish; but what is that between so many?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Make the people sit down.’ There was plenty of grass there, and as many as five thousand men sat down. Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and gave them out to all who were sitting ready; he then did the same with the fish, giving out as much as was wanted. When they had eaten enough he said to the disciples, ‘Pick up the pieces left over, so that nothing gets wasted.’ So they picked them up, and filled twelve hampers with scraps left over from the meal of five barley loaves. The people, seeing this sign that he had given, said, ‘This really is the prophet who is to come into the world.’ Jesus, who could see they were about to come and take him by force and make him king, escaped back to the hills by himself.
There is no doubt, a main point of today’s Gospel is Christ’s love and concern for meeting the needs of his followers, something that is very east to “forget” or “overlook” in our day-to-day life. In this example he had five thousand followers in an isolated location who were hungry and in need of food.
Christ is well aware of our needs also; - and today’s lesson is teaching us to have Trust in his Love and Concern when it comes to meeting our own needs. Through his preaching Christ provided for the spiritual needs of this large crowd; - but he also had to meet their physical needs; - and we need to be aware he cares about, and provides for both; - not only for this crowd, but for us today!
But this does not mean we will always receive what we want, as Christ’s focus is always on what we need, rather than what we want, and this is a distinction we need to be very aware of.
This is why Faith and Trust are so important for Christians! Trust in God’s love and concern for our spiritual and temporal welfare; - and particularly in times when He asks us to endure hardship and suffering; - a point we can be sure Christ addressed when preaching to the crowd, and many others.
This was a teaching he also bore witness to in his own life; - the need for suffering and sacrifice; - as there was a need to atone for; - and make reparation for, sin!
This was the reason He performed so many miracles during the three years of his public life; - to provide a foundation for Faith and Trust in his Merciful Love; - with the ultimate miracle being his own Resurrection from the dead!
How grateful and pleased these five thousand people would have been for a miraculous meal in an isolated location; - but in a short time they would also have to determine their personal response to Christ’s Crucifixion and Death; - an event demanding both Faith and Trust!