Thursday, March 29, 2012
John, Chapter 6: Winning souls through free food
Jesus goes across the Sea of Galilee in the effort to escape the crowd, but they follow him anyway, demanding faith healing. He has to go up a mountain to get away from them. It's almost Passover, because it's always Passover. As he looks down at the crowd, Jesus wonders about feeding them. But it's a test of course. The disciples think they couldn't possibly buy enough food, and no one has thought of the all-you-can-eat buffet yet. Andrew mentions that somebody has a few loaves and a couple of fishes, but there's nowhere near enough. Jesus tells everybody to sit, prays over the food, and tells the disciples to distribute it amongst the 5000 people. When everyone has had his fill, there are still 12 baskets left over. A miracle! That is not at all diminished by the fact that this is the 4th account we've had of it in a row. After that, the people want to make Jesus their king, but he's feeling shy, so instead he retreats even further up the mountain. Meanwhile, the disciples take a boat to Capernaum. On the way, the wind kicks up a storm. Jesus then casually walks up, gets in the boat, and right away they're at their destination. Another miracle! Meanwhile, on the other side of the lake, the people notice that a boat is gone. More people are arriving, having heard that Jesus was there. They all head over to Capernaum together. They find Jesus there and ask why he left. He accuses them of not loving him, only his bread, and says they ought to love heaven more than food. Yes, but food is here and no one has ever actually seen heaven, so I can't really blame them. They ask what they have to do for god. It's very simple: believe. But the crowd isn't satisfied, they want more bread, and barring that, a miracle. But really, they want bread. Jesus' reply: I am the bread of life (v. 35). He tells them that he's from heaven, here to do god's will on earth and save people when the end of the world happens. The people start whispering amongst themselves that this guy is just Jesus from Nazareth. Jesus them to quit it and promises again to raise them all up into heaven during the apocalypse. He also insults Moses' bread from Exodus, pointing out that all the people who ate it are now dead, but his followers will have eternal life. This sets off a few quarrels about the morality of eating flesh, which Jesus quells by telling them the only way to salvation is to eat his flesh and drink his blood, which does not get any less creepy the more you repeat it. Even the disciples start murmuring about how creepy it is. Jesus confronts them, saying non-believers are not going to heaven and will betray him. This causes some of them to leave, until there are only 12 left. Jesus knows that one of them will betray him, and that one is Judas. Dun dun dun!