St. Mary of the Angels
July 23, 2021
John 6:2: “And a great multitude followed Him, because they saw His miracles which He did on them that were diseased.”
Messianic Signs in the Book of Isaiah: Isaiah 26:19: The dead shall live. Isaiah 29:18: Healing of the deaf and the blind. Isaiah 35:5-6: “Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy. For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert.”
Isaiah connects the healing of the sick with miraculous phenomena in nature. This connects Isaiah’s messianic prophecy with the account of Moses and Israel in the wilderness for forty years. Exodus 17:6: “Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.”
Note in Exodus 17:6 God does not just provide the water but rather gives Moses a command of what to do before the elders. Moses obeys God by doing what he has been instructed to do in front of the people whose opinion of him matters the most. Because Moses faithfully obeys and acts as instructed, the water flows freely from a dead rock.
Liturgy: Obeying the will of God; Acting as God has instructed; Performing the ceremony (act) and the rite (words) as ordained in public for the worship of God and for the edification of the faithful – So we see that God’s interaction with Moses and Israel is liturgical. He is teaching His chosen people how to worship Him, and in so doing He is providing them the Law by which His chosen people are judged but also the example of worship by which they may be saved. This becomes the theme in Old Testament Judaism: By improper worship, the chosen people fall away from God, and so God raises up Judges and then Prophets to provide an example to His chosen people of the salvation that can come only from obedience and faithful action.
Problem: The people are too far mired in sin to worship God well enough on their own. They are judged, but they cannot praise and worship God sufficiently to escape judgment, and so they will need a Messiah to save them. The Messiah will obey God. The Messiah will act as is instructed. The Messiah will act liturgically, which means his action will conform with what is proper ceremony and rite. As a result of the Messiah’s obedience and faithful action, there will be a literal – not just symbolic – reversal from entropy, sin, and death – the dead rock will be the source of living water. The solution touches this world – the blind in this world now see in this world, the deaf in this world now hear in this world, and so forth – because God is the God of the living in this world as well as in the world to come (“On earth as it is in heaven…”).
John 6:3: “And Jesus went up into a mountain…” The mountain is the place of prayer and where man interacts most directly with God. In this interaction, God gives man instruction, and man is given the choice either to obey or to disobey.
John 6:4: “And the Passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh.” What is about to happen is caught up in the greater liturgy of the Passover. Note that in the Passover the people of Israel are told what to do and are “passed over” because they obey the instruction and perform the ceremony and the rite ordained unto them. Salvation is the result of obedience and faithful action.
John 6:5: “When Jesus lifted up His eyes…” Lifting up eyes is a reference to prayer. In particular, it is a request for help from God. It is a way of saying, “I am in need. Tell me, Father, what to do, and I shall obey.” See Psalm 121:1: “I will lift up my eyes to the mountains. From whence shall my help come?” See John 17:1: “Jesus spoke these things, and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, ‘Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that the Son may glorify you.”
John 6:5-9: Jesus tells the Disciples what to do. They are up on the mountain with Him, which is to say they are up on the mountain with God like Moses before them. Will they obey? Or rather will they heed the logic of this world and find reasons not to obey God?
John 6:10: “And Jesus said, Make the men sit down…” Note that the Disciples never get around to obeying Him, so He does it for them. He will obey the Father. He obeys the Father and so has the authority to instruct them what to do. He is the New Moses.
John 6:10: “So the men sat down, in number about five thousand.” They are sitting down in an orderly manner – hence, the multitude can be counted – and this attention to form is the mark of liturgy (ceremony and rite). What is about to happen is miraculous, but not haphazard. It is an example of a liturgy to be ordained for men going forward (Holy Communion).
John 6:11: “And Jesus took the loaves…” Foreshadowing the Words of Institution (He took the bread. He brake it. He gave it unto His Disciples. They then distribute it to the faithful), which is the liturgy of the Communion of the Faithful with Christ Jesus and with one another. Note that it is no coincidence that this Eucharistic reference precedes in the same chapter Jesus’ “Bread of Life” sermon where He makes it clear that He Himself is the Bread of Life for all the people. See John 6:35: “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to Me will never hunger, and whoever comes to Me will never thirst.”
John 6:12: “When they were filled, He said unto His disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.” Compare with Christ as the Good Shepherd and with the Great Commission. Christ Jesus leaves no sheep behind, and we disciples must leave no one behind when spreading the Gospel. Others may reject us, but we must not reject nor give up on them.
John 6:13: “…and filled twelve baskets with the fragments…” In Christ Jesus, Israel is no longer fragmented and dispersed. The “lost” have all come home and reside again with God.
6 After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias.
2 And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased.
3 And Jesus went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples.
4 And the passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh.
5 When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?
6 And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do.
7 Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little.
8 One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, saith unto him,
9 There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?
10 And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand.
11 And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would.
12 When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.
13 Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten.
14 Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world.
15 When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.