Monday, July 24, 2006

July 30, 2006 Lectionary Gospel Text Notes

Joe’s Research Notes and Comments on the

Revised Common Lectionary Gospel Text for July 30, 2006 (Proper 12) Year B
                   8th Sunday after Pentecost (Kingdom tide)

John 6:1-21 (Amplified Bible AMP) available on www.biblegateway.com

CHRIST THE BREAD OF LIFE MIRACULOUSLY FEEDS THE FIVE THOUSAND

Text Background:  Herod, the ruler over this northern territory of Galilee, had executed John the Baptist and now was getting suspicious of Jesus growing fame.  Jesus makes a prudent withdrawal from Herod’s territory to the east shore of sea of Galilee in the spring of AD 29 (McGarvey 374). The disciples are worn out after returning from a preaching and healing tour and Jesus seeks a place for them to rest and be taught.  This is the only miracle of Jesus recorded in all four Gospels.  

John 6:1-4 After this, Jesus went to the farther side of the Sea of Galilee—that is, the Sea of Tiberius.  2 And a great crowd was following Him because they had seen the signs (miracles) which He (continually) performed upon those who were sick.  3 And Jesus walked up the mountainside and sat down there with His disciples.4 Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was approaching.
Comments: Many pilgrims are traveling to attend the yearly Passover and turn aside to see the miracle-worker they have heard about.  The crowd does not seek Jesus for eternal life but only for healing and entertainment.  Jesus uses the opportunities the crowd provides to preach and teach the truths of God’s Word to them and to His disciples.  He thus prepared the way for His church and kingdom to be established.  The crowd was so big He went up above them on the mountainside above the plain to better address the people (McGarvey 375).
Topics:  The superficiality of miracle-seekers.  Christ’s miracles attest to His deity.
The best advertisement is word of mouth.  A disciple of Christ is taught in close and continuing fellowship with Him.
Self Examination:  Do I only go to Jesus when I need something or want relief?  Do I seek the Giver or only His Gifts?  Do I stay in close and constant fellowship with Him during the day or only occasionally?

John 6:5-7 Jesus looked up then, and seeing that a vast multitude was coming toward Him, He said to Philip, Where are we to buy bread, that all these people may eat? 6 But He said this to prove (test) him, for He well knew what He was about to do.  7 Philip answered Him, Two hundred pennies (forty dollars) worth of bread is not enough that everyone may receive even a little.
Comments:  Jesus the compassionate shepherd sees the crowd as sheep, neglected by their religious leaders, and needing to be fed spiritually and physically.  It is late in the day and the nearest town of Bethsaida is too far away to provide food (Pfeiffer 1085). He prepares the way for a great lesson in compassionate feeding by testing the faith of His disciples.  He helped Philip realize there was no human solution to the problem. Jesus has performed miracle after miracle in front of the disciples but they still do not see Him as their source when problems arise.  Jesus helped the disciples realize they were helpless and unable to meet the need in and of themselves.  They must have their faith built up to draw on divine resources (Lockyer 198).
Topics:  Seeing the need and planning ahead.  The responsibilities of leadership are to be taken when others neglect to do them.  Pastor-shepherds with compassion feed and guide their flock.  How to depend on Christ’s resources and not just my own.
Self Examination:  Do I have enough compassion to see and feel the needs of others? Do I plan ahead and organize my day or just let it happen?  Am I growing in faith to draw on God’s resources daily or just my own?

John 6:8-9  Another of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to Him, 9 There is a little boy here, who has (with him) five barley loaves, and two small fish; but what are they among so many people?
Comments:  Jesus helps His disciples realize their total inability to provide for the people.
One small boy had one small lunch to contribute.  The barley loaves were thin-like cake or cracker and easily broken.  The disciples and the boy had no idea of the great possibilities of this little lunch and of how little is much if only God is in it (Lockyer 198)
Topics: Lack of vision and/or faith can be costly. Man’s extremity of weakness becomes God’s opportunity to help (Thompson 102).  Surrender all you are and have and see what God can do. God is not looking for my ability but my availability.
Self Examination:  Am I willing to surrender what little I have for the Lord’s use?

John 6:10 Jesus said, Make all the people recline (sit down).  Now the ground (a pasture) was covered with thick grass at the spot, so the men threw themselves down, about 5,000 in number.  
Comments: Jesus love of order was seen here as He put people in orderly groups (Mark 6:39-40) so they could be served quickly and efficiently and ensured all would be served.  This saved the disciples time and work and ensured greater comfort for those served (Mc Garvey 377).  Here is a demonstration that order is heaven’s first law.  God is not the author of confusion but of order.  (Lockyer 198).  This number did not include women and children who would be seated separately from the men in eastern fashion.  There were perhaps double or triple this number actually fed. Jesus had them counted to emphasize the reality and magnitude of the miracle.
Topics:  Blessings must be prepared for (Thompson 103).  A humble servant unselfishly looks to the needs and comfort of others.  You can demonstrate expectant faith by putting things in order in advance.
Self Examination:  Do I make practical orderly preparations for expected blessings?

John 6:11-13 Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks, He distributed to the disciples and the disciples to the reclining people; so also (He did) with the fish, as much as they wanted. 12 When they had all had enough, He said to His disciple, Gather up now the fragments (the broken pieces that are left over), so that nothing may be lost and wasted.  13 So accordingly they gathered them up, and they filled twelve (small hand) baskets with fragments left over by those who had eaten from the five barley loaves.
Comments:  Jesus the Bread of Life brings bread to a multitude, as Moses did in the wilderness as God provided manna for Israel. (Numbers 11) (Sproul 1671)  Christ is the Bread of Life to a perishing world and as the Living Bread, must be passed on to others by eaters themselves (Lockyer 200). Jesus delegated His work to His disciples.  They were His hands and feet.  Jesus abundantly satisfies their hunger with bread multiplied from heaven.  In a short space of time Jesus accomplishes what God does on a daily basis providing food for billions of His creatures and most do not thank Him for it.  God multiplies our efforts and expands our resources.  The Lord does not want us to waste His gifts but conserve and use them wisely.
Topics:  Seeing all our food comes from the Lord’s bounty and giving Him thanks for it. We must learn to see and appreciate more His providential care and support.  We are to learn the lesson of conserving carefully what we have and not be wasteful.
Self Examination: Do I look only at my own meager resources or do I trust Him to multiply them? Am I willing to be His means to reach a spiritually needy and hungry world?  Do I give thanks to the Lord before each meal?  Am I careless and wasteful with the Lord’s gifts?

John 6:14-15  When the people saw the sign (miracle) that Jesus had performed, they began saying, Surely and beyond a doubt this is the Prophet Who is to come into then world! 15 Then Jesus, knowing that they meant to come and seize Him that they might make him king, withdrew again to the hillside by Himself alone.
Comments:  Jesus marvelous works caused the people to decide who He was.  The miracles testified to His deity but they still believed Him to only be the prophet that Moses predicted would come (Deuteronomy 18:15).  The people perhaps cleverly thought they would show their gratitude by making Him their king and at the same time harness His wonder-working power for their nation’s economic and military needs, but He foiled their intention by withdrawing (Pfeiffer 1085). He knew His superficial popularity had the wrong foundation.  Jesus resisted temptation by refusing worldly honor and going off to pray (Thompson 103)
Topics:   Finding God’s calling for my life and ministry.   Fickle, worldly popularity is dangerous. Prayer gives strength to resist temptation.
Self Examination:  What is Jesus to me: a prophet, great teacher, or my God and Savior?
Do I recognize the dangers of popularity with the worldly?  Do I seek strength in prayer when temptations suddenly come?

THE MIRACLE OF CHRIST WALKING ON THE WATER

John 6:16-21 When evening came, His disciples went down to the sea, 17 And they took a boat and were going across the sea to Capernaum.  It was now dark, and still Jesus had not (yet) come back to them.  18 Meanwhile, the sea was getting rough and rising high because of a great and violent wind that was blowing.  19 (However) when they had rowed three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and approaching the boat.  And they were afraid (terrified).  20 But Jesus said to them, It is I; be not afraid!  (I AM; stop being frightened!)  21 Then they were quite willing and glad for Him to come into the boat.  And now the boat went at once to the land they had steered toward.  (And immediately they reached the shore toward which they had been slowly making their way.)

BIBLEOGRAPHY:

McGarvey, J.W.; Pendleton, Philip Y., The Fourfold Gospel—Matthew, Mark, Luke, John (Cincinnati: The Standard Publishing—no date)
Pfeiffer, Charles F.; Harrison, Everett F., The Wycliffe Bible Commentary (Chicago: Moody Press, 1990)
Lockyer, Herbert; All the Miracles of the Bible (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing 1961)
Thompson, Frank C., The Thompson Chain-Reference Bible, 4th Edition (Indianapolis, Indiana: B.B. Kirkbride Bible Co. 1964)
Sproul, R.C., Editor, The Reformation Study Bible NKJV (Nashville; Thomas Nelson Publishers 1995)
      



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