Thirteenth Day of Easter   12 comments

Feeding of the Five Thousand (A Coptic Icon)

Recognizing Jesus (in the Eucharist)

Friday, April 13, 2018

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Acts 5:34-42 (Revised English Bible):

But a member of the Council rose to his feet, a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in high regard by all the people.  He had the men put outside for a while, and then said,

Men of Israel, be very careful in deciding what to do with these men.  Some time ago Theudas came forward, making claims for himself, and a number of our people, about four hundred, joined him.  But he was killed and his whole movement was destroyed and came to nothing.  After him came Judas the Gaillean at the time of the census; he induced some people to revolt under his leadership, but he too perished and his whole movement was broken up.  Now, my advice is this:  keep clear of these men; let them alone.  For if what is being planned and done is human in origin, it will collapse; but if it is from God, you will never be able to stamp it out, and you will risk finding yourselves at war with God.

Convinced by this, they sent for the apostles and had them flogged; then they ordered them to give up speaking in the name of Jesus, and discharged them.  The apostles went out from the Council rejoicing that they had been found worthy to suffer humiliation for the sake of the name.  And every day they went steadily on with their teaching in the temple and in private houses, telling the good news of Jesus the Messiah.

Psalm 27:1-6 (Revised English Bible):

The LORD is my light and my salvation;

whom should I fear?

The LORD is the stronghold of my life;

of whom then should I go in dread?

When evildoers close in on me to devour me,

is my adversaries, my enemies,

who stumble and fall.

Should an army encamp against me,

my heart would have no fear;

if armed men should fall upon me,

even though I would be undismayed.

One thing I ask of the LORD,

it is the one thing I seek:

that I may dwell in the house of the LORD

all the days of my life,

to gaze on the beauty of the LORD

and to seek him in his temple.

For he will hide me in his shelter

in the day of misfortune;

he will conceal me under cover of his tent,

set me high on a rock.

Now my head will be raised high

above my enemy all about me;

so I shall acclaim him in his tent with a sacrifice

and sing a psalm of praise to the LORD.

John 6:1-15 (Anchor Bible):

Later on Jesus crossed the Sea of Galilee [to the shore] of Tiberias, but a large crowd kept following him because they saw the signs he was performing on the sick.  So Jesus went up the mountain and sat down there with his disciples.  The Jewish feast of Passover was near.

When Jesus looked up, he caught sight of a large crowd coming toward him; so he said to Philip,

Where shall we ever buy bread for these people to eat?

(Actually, of course, he was perfectly aware of what he was going to do, but he asked this to test Philip’s reaction.)  He replied,

Not even with two hundred days’ wages could we buy enough loaves to give each of them a mouthful.

One of Jesus’ disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, remarked to him.

There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and a couple of dried fish, but what good is that for so many?

Jesus said,

Get the people to sit down.

Now the men numbered about five thousand, but there was plenty of grass there for them to find a seat.  Jesus then took the loaves of bread, gave thanks, and passed them around to those sitting there; and he did the same with the dried fish–just as much as they wanted.  When they had enough, he told his disciples,

Gather up the fragments that are left over so that nothing will perish.

And so they gathered twelve baskets full of fragments left over by those who had been fed with the five barley loaves.

Now when the people saw the sign[s] he had performed, they began to say,

This in undoubtedly the Prophet who is to come into the world.

With that Jesus realized that they would come and carry him off to make him king, so he fled back to the mountain alone.

The Collect:

O Lord, you have saved us through the Paschal mystery of Christ:  Continue to support your people with heavenly gifts, that we may attain true liberty, and enjoy the happiness of heaven which he have begun to taste on earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever.  Amen.

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Gamaliel stated that Jesus might have been the genuine article.  He was waiting for further evidence, but his conditional statement was ultimately correct.  At least that member of the Sanhedrin did not reject Jesus reflexively.  Christian tradition holds that Peter and John baptized Gamaliel and his son some time later.  Given the account from Acts 5:34-42, this is plausible.  (Historically speaking, that is as far as I can go.)

The assigned reading from the Johannine Gospel is a variation on the “Feeding of the Five Thousand.”  The text is clear that there were five thousand men, without stating the number of women and children.  This detail amplifies the wondrous nature of the feeding of such a large crowd with so few loaves and fishes.  The Johannine narrative focuses on the bread, not the fishes, for it emphasizes the proto-Last Supper nature of the event.  Today we Christians can have frequent access to Jesus through the blessed host, which becomes the body of our Lord and Savior, and so we can partake of another glorious mystery.

Gamaliel recognized the possibility that Jesus was who and what people claimed he was.  Do we recognize Jesus in the Holy Eucharist?

KRT

Published originally at SUNDRY THOUGHTS OF KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR on April 6, 2010

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Posted October 29, 2010 by neatnik2009 in 2018, April, Easter, Episcopal Church Lectionary

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