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Posted by Paul Edwards (Fr. Paul) on Aug 16, 2012 | Comments (0)


Pentecost XIII John 6:15, 56-69

Peter confessed, "You have the words of eternal life, (because) we have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God."

This parable is the difference between what you think rationally and how you think spiritually.

"When the people saw the sign that he had done, they said, "This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!" Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself." John 6:15

To understand this passage we need to grasp the fervor of the times. "The region was already tense with Zealots gathering in the wilderness and preparing to revolt against the Romans." The Zealots found Jesus appealing. His constant reference to the Kingdom, end times, and conflicts with the religious leaders was part of their manifesto.

Here they were together in the wilderness, all 5,000 of them. One needs to have some knowledge of Judah Maccabee. Here was a revolutionary figure deeply committed to the faith. He drove the Syrians out of Judea with only a handful of men and in the power of God. The figure of 5,000 men gathering in the wilderness was where the revolts started and the number was symbolic of any revolutionary force.

The Passover was imminent. Jesus asks Philip how are we going to feed them. John 6:5 He meant both physically and spiritually in the Passover meal. Philip tried to figure out how he would do it. Just a while back Jesus had turned water into wine, but Philip did not put the two together. Jesus then feeds the 5,000 the Passover with bread and the meal of fish. Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, He distributed them to those who were seated, and so also the fish, as much as they wanted. When the people saw the sign He had done, they began to say, "This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world." John 6:15

When Jesus realized they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, He withdrew again to the mountain by himself. He needed space between Himself and the Zealots. He sent His Disciples that night to prepare for the meeting at the synagogue in Capernaum. His walking on water was another sign to the Disciples of just who they were dealing with.

The next day Jesus confronts the Zealots' rational thinking with His spiritual Word.  This is the turning point He wants to make. He is saying to them that He wants to make very clear that He is not thinking as they rationally think. The spiritual approach of Jesus is to experience the Power of His Presence in us before we can understand His Words to us. Jesus had demonstrated His power and His Word to all of His disciples.

Because of His words, many of his (Zealot) disciples turned back and no longer believed that the signs He did made Him the Messiah. John 6:66  On the opposite side, because of the Power of His signs, the Disciples believed He was the Messiah and therefore they believed His Word. Peter could answer for all of the Disciples when he said, "Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life, (because) we have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God." John 6:69

We read about Peter's confession in the other Gospels. This is John's account of Peter's confession. It came in a time he had to make the choice. Jesus asked, "Who do you say I am?" Peter answered, "You are the Holy one of God."

What difference does it make if you have to believe the words before you experience the Presence, or you experience the Presence before you believe His words?

 


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