Saturday, 2 November 2013

John 6:16-34 - Crossing the lake

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This section, John 6:16-34, does not stand alone. It's just a part of one story that we've broken into small sections to read daily. After the miracle of the bread and fish, Jesus went into the mountains alone to escape the crowd. Now it's getting dark and he's still not come back, so the disciples get the boat ready and as night falls decide they'd better head home.

And in the middle of the night, Jesus turns up. He's walking across the lake towards the boat. The disciples are understandably freaked out by this strangeness, but when Jesus speaks they recognise him and welcome him into the boat.

Astonishingly, although they'd been struggling at the oars for hours, once Jesus steps into the boat they arrive immediately at their destination.

The crowd eventually realise that Jesus has gone and set out to find him on the other side of the lake. When they do they are full of questions about the miraculous meal and about who Jesus is. They want to know when he arrived. (They're still puzzled about it.)

Jesus doesn't answer this question, instead he tells them why they've been trying to find him. (He knew what was in their hearts.) And he begins to tell them about spiritual food. They respectfully ask him to always give them this food.

We see here how Jesus deals with people on so many levels.

The disciples have an easy relationship with him. They are not abandoning him, they know he's not predictable or tameable, and they already understand it's OK to do what they think best when he doesn't give them direct instructions. And they're quick to accept him despite the strangest of circumstances and a bit of a fright on the lake at night.

The crowd is less clear. They still think they can control him, perhaps by making him king. He doesn't answer the questions they ask, but instead he answers the harder questions that they did not ask.

We're all on a journey. Are you more like one of the disciples or one of the crowd? [Tweet it!]

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