24.04.2020 — Jesus, a sign of continuity of the past

2nd week in Easter, Friday – 24th April 2020 — Gospel: John 6, 1-15

Jesus, a sign of continuity of the past

John renders the feeding of the 5000 story in a unique way, wanting to depict who Jesus is. He combines the elements of the Passover story in Exodus and the feeding miracle of Elisha (2 Kgs 4) to portray Jesus as a powerful prophet. As in this story, Elisha too served a large crowd from twenty barley loaves, and they had some left over’s ( 2Kgs 4,42-44). The skeptism of Andrew in this story is similar to the servant in 2 Kgs. Andrew says, “There is a boy here who has five barely loaves and two fish. But what are they among so many people?” (Jn 6,9). The servant of Elisha said, “How can I set this before 100 people? (2 Kgs 4,43). John also conveys Jesus’ unique standing as a prophet by associating him with Moses and to the Exodus story. The events are set at the time of Passover (Jn 6,4), recalling the celebration of God’s triumph in Exodus. The order of events: Passover meal, sea crossing, manna discourse, climbing the mountain and providing the meal. Like Moses, Jesus does signs that lead the people to trust in him. These parallels suggest that Jesus’ actions evoke the memory of the earlier prophets. Indeed, the crowd’s acclaim, as they recognize Jesus as a great prophet and desire to make him king. Two theological connections can be drawn from these OT allusions. First, understanding Jesus as a prophet like Moses or Elijah emphasizes continuity with Israel’s past. Here John wishes to depict that God is still the same God who sought Israel through the voices of the prophets, and now seeks his people through Jesus. Second, the “life” that Jesus brings is an abundant life in the midst of human need. Like the earlier figures of Moses and Elisha, Jesus proclaims a message of God’s abundance and power to save.