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Christ, Our Bread

... Jesus realized that they would come and carry Him off to make Him king, so He fled back to the mountains alone
John 6:1-15

Sermon Topic Loaves and fishes

Sermon Week Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle B

Scripture Summary John 6:15


The Gospel story you have just heard must have been very important in the life of the early Christians. It is interesting to note that except for the crucifixion of Christ it is the only story to appear in all four of the Gospels. Moreover, it appears in some of the Gospels more than once, in slightly altered form. It is reasonable to assume that the early Christians found this episode so helpful that they wanted to be sure that we, in later generations, would get the message.

The story is a very simple and a very familiar one -- probably one of the first many of us learned as children. Jesus was out in the wilderness with His disciples. They saw the crowds converging on them -- thousands of people. It was mealtime. Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, was mingling close enough to the people to realize that there was a little boy who had with him five barley loaves and two fish. And Jesus fed the crowd of five thousand or more with those five loaves and two fish.

We must be careful not to misunderstand or to miss entirely the deepest meaning of the story. There was a belief among the early Hebrews that when the Kingdom of God had come, the event would be celebrated by a great banquet, a great feast. And the people who had just eaten interpreted this meal to be the Messianic Feast that heralded the coming of the Kingdom of God. Consequently, John tells us that "When the people saw the sign He had performed they began to say, 'This is undoubtedly the Prophet who is to come into the world.' At that, Jesus realized that they would come and carry Him off to make Him king. So He fled back to the mountain alone" (Jn. 6:14-15). These verses tell us that the crowd had completely misunderstood everything Jesus had told them -- about Himself, and about the Kingdom of God. But we misunderstand it too. Most of us never get beyond the miraculous element. How did Jesus do it? We conjure [...]

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