The last chapter in the last of the four Gospels, the Gospel of John, is the final statement in the narratives of Jesus’ walk among us here on earth. And as such, we can imagine that it has much to tell as we voyage forth into the world, leaving behind the physical presence of Jesus, just as a child ventures forth from home, eagerly heading to school on their own for the first time.
John is unique among the four Gospels. It was written a few decades after the others and has a great deal of material not shared with the other three. And unlike the so-called Synoptic Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, John is very much focused on the future of the community of believers.
The 21st chapter focuses on our role as believers living and working in the world: Are we to be active or passive agents of the Body of Christ? How will Christ be present in us in this role? How will our own strength and faith be sustained as we do so?
We are those who followed Jesus and the Disciples out into that Wilderness: a wilderness in a country of Gentiles, a place where people have not yet heard or embraced the Gospel; and, a place where we will experience that renewal and that deepening of relationship with God we all need to fulfill the call upon our lives. So, why feed us bread and fish?
Sermon: “Fish in the Wilderness” Delivered at ARK Community Church, Dalton MA 7th Sunday after Pentecost: August 3, 2014.
The “Feeding of the Five Thousand” is the only miraculous sign found in all four Gospels. What’s more, Mark and Matthew each have two variations, for a total of 6 versions in the Four Gospels.
Clearly, the early church saw this story as central to their faith, and therefore it is central to ours. Many ask “How did this Miracle come about?” And there are a number of explanations as to the “How” of this story. Some claim it is a true miracle, others say it isn’t, many say it doesn’t really matter whether it was a miracle or not.
But for me, the central question is not how (or if) this miracle happened, but “Why is it important?”