Lenten Devotional: March 27

Psalm 89:1-52; Jeremiah 16:10-21;
Romans 7:1-12
; John 6:1-15

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. John 6:15

The story of the feeding of the five thousand from John 6:1-15 is recounted in all four gospels. Jesus and his disciples are at the Sea of Galilee, where he is surrounded by people who have heard or seen the healings he has performed. The disciples, concerned by the size of the crowd and perceiving a lack of provision for them, tell Jesus that a boy has five barley loaves and two fish. Jesus divides the bread and fish, and sends 12 baskets to collect the extra bits of food. The crowd is satisfied and there is more than enough. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, cares for his flock. Following Jesus leads to abundant life.

Yet the crowd are human beings, not sheep. Sheep would be satisfied, but human beings want Jesus to be their king, ridding them of the oppressive Roman rule. Jesus returns to the mountain to pray following this miracle as he follows his Father’s will, not the will of humans. His message seems to be that we can be likewise part of God’s family by doing the Father’s will. Also, he returns to God because the glory of this miracle is God’s glory. Jesus shows us how he maintains his relationship as a Son of the Father by turning to him at the end of the day.

Discerning how to listen and respond to God’s call is our charge. May the whole human family heed His call.