After this Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, also called the Sea of Tiberias. A large crowd kept following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing for the sick. Jesus went up the mountain and sat down there with his disciples. Now the Passover, the festival of the Jews, was near. When he looked up and saw a large crowd coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?” He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he was going to do. Philip answered him, “Six months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.” One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But what are they among so many people?” Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” Now there was a great deal of grass in the place; so they sat down, about five thousand in all. Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted. When they were satisfied, he told his disciples, “Gather up the fragments left over, so that nothing may be lost.” So they gathered them up, and from the fragments of the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten, they filled twelve baskets. When the people saw the sign that he had done, they began to say, “This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world.”
When Jesus realized that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain by himself.
When evening came, his disciples went down to the sea, got into a boat, and started across the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. The sea became rough because a strong wind was blowing. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they were terrified. But he said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.” Then they wanted to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the land toward which they were going. John 6: 1-21
If we slow down as we read the gospel lection from John, we see that Jesus went up the mountain and the people who hear Jesus have, well, a mountain-top experience. I am drawn to the mountain image in the text. Moses receives the law on Mount Sinai. Elijah calls upon God at Mount Carmel. Mount Zion is the location of Solomon’s temple. The transfiguration takes place on Mount Tabor. Jesus prays before his arrest and crucifixion at the Mount of Olives. The mountain image conveys constancy, God’s nearness, transformation, deliverance, definition, and rescue.
Sure, the passage thrills with the feeding of the five thousand. Yet what fascinates me is v.15: “When Jesus realized that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain by himself.” Rather than allow others to define him or push or obfuscate, Jesus withdrew. There is no description of his time on the mountain, only that when the disciples were in the boat blown by a strong wind, Jesus came to them transformed. Transformation that comes from time on the mountain is defining for Jesus.
There is the personal choice of each of these characters to choose mountain time. Yet there is a delightful giftedness in the transformation. So far as we know, the transformation is not human but, ‘Other-Powered.’ In the bible study at annual conference, Bishop Tracy Malone lifted Rev. 7:9-10 as a vision of the great commission fulfilled. The text calls us to see a great multitude of all nations and kindred and people included in the culmination of creation. God is working to include and fulfill God’s promises for all people. How do we join God where God is and bless what God is blessing? Jesus withdrew and it appears God knew how to find him. How do you build mountain time into your life? If you don’t carve out mountain time, what might you be missing? How might it be renewing to be reminded that God’s ‘Other Power’ is operative among us? How might it help to know God is working on radical inclusion and racial justice as a part of the fulfillment of creation?
Devocional de Dan Schwerin
“Yo soy el pan de vida” —declaró Jesús—. “El que a mí viene nunca pasará hambre, y el que en mí cree nunca más volverá a tener sed.” (Juan 6:35 NVI)
Como lo dice Juan, Jesús es el enviado de Dios como pan de vida. Entre más envejezco, más hambre tengo de este pan. Desde el comienzo de la pandemia, vimos el sacrificio de enfermeras, el compromiso de los técnicos de emergencias médicas, la adaptación de los educadores, la valentía de innovar de parte del clero y la misma vez nos dimos cuenta lo frágil que es la vida. También vimos la desigualdad en la salud medical que no favorece a personas de color. Nuestra gente y nuestros sistemas necesitan un pan transformador.
Cuando Fran Deaner, Nancy Moffatt y yo nos capacitamos como superintendentes en el lago Junaluska, el sermón de puesta en servicio cuyo autor he olvidado admitió a la multitud: "Estoy en esto por el pan". La buena noticia que nos está salvando la vida es Juan 6:31, una afirmación del Salmo 78:24: “Pan del cielo les dio a comer”. Nada satisface como este pan. ¿Por qué estar aquí y no disfrutar del pan del cielo?
De forma más profundamente, la creación es sacramental y transmite la bendición y la justicia de Dios. Si la creación es un signo y símbolo de la presencia de Dios, ¿por qué no estaríamos interesados ??en su cuidado responsable?
Mientras terminaban mis días en la iglesia First UMC Waukesha, muchos querían compartir conmigo dónde habían probado el pan de Dios en sus vidas de fe. Siempre me sorprendió su testimonio. Yo tendía a enfocarme en que "no está pasando nada", cuando en realidad la gente estaba disfrutando del pan. El pan del cielo conoce nuestra hambre y sabe cómo alimentarnos. Es importante destacar que el pan de vida también sabe distribuirse para que todos queden satisfechos. En este pasaje Jesús simplemente pide que creamos que el enviado es nuestro pan. El trabajo no es nuestro pan. Los números no son pan. La perfección no es pan. La competencia no es pan. El ajetreo no es pan. Jesús es pan. Gracias a Dios.
Traducido por Luis Velasquez