Lectionary Sermon for July 25th

John 6:1-21 Who is in Charge?

The events of this passage are incredible. They are miraculous. According to our current level of knowledge of the physical universe, these things cannot be done. The are impossible. How can we believe these things really happened? Jesus is supposed to have fed over 5000 people with a few fish and a few loaves of bread and then he is found walking on water, is this really true?

The recorded events of Jesus life put us in a position to make a choice. Did these things really happen? If they did then something with significance and importance is happening.  Or is this just a story to try that magnifies the myth of a man named Jesus? This is our dilemma. 

This story portrays Jesus as someone who has supernatural events happening around him. If supernatural events are taking place around Jesus how can they be explained?

Note what the story tells us about how the people reacted, “When the people saw the sign that he had done, they began to say, “This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world.” 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.  (Jn. 6:14-15 NRS)

People have all kinds of misperceptions about Jesus. They still do today. People still try to use Jesus to obtain power, position, or profit (that is money).

I often wonder how the Lord does not get frustrated with people who just won’t get it. People who, as I have said before say, “Don’t confuse me with the fact, my mind is made up.”

The Lord has patience. The Lord has love. Our Lord knows that the people are going to have a hard time accepting him. The Lord is still willing to alleviate human suffering when he can even if his message is being distorted or ignored. Even if he had to deal with individuals who wanted to use his popularity for their own political purposed.

There was a song in the play Jesus Christ Superstar that captures the mentality of many who encountered Jesus in that day. They wanted a political messiah

There must be over fifty thousand. Screaming love and more for you.

And every one of fifty thousand, would do whatever you ask him to.

Keep them yelling their devotion, but add a touch of hate at Rome.

You will rise to a greater power, we will win ourselves a home!

You’ll get the power and the glory for ever and ever and ever

Amen! Amen!

So many people want to use Jesus for their own agenda in politics.

Just think of how many politicians and preachers tried to use the name of Jesus politically in our last election. Jesus agenda is never politics, it is always people.

Jesus heals out of his love and compassion. His mission is to seek and save the lost. Healing was a way to demonstrate his authority. He seeks to teach them the will of God, the way of God, and the wonder of God.

OK, but what about the walking on the water, “Why defy his own laws?”

It is important to understand how foolish such a question is. The boundaries set up by laws are for our good. Our understanding of “laws” cannot confine the will of God.

Laws must be interpreted (that’s why there is an occupation called lawyer). It is also important to know the reasoning behind the laws. Traffic laws such as speed limits have a purpose to protect lives, but some local communities can perceive speed laws as a way to make money with speed traps. And there will be times when laws conflict. When there is a conflict, how do we decide then?

Laws are part of the human process. Laws help us build stability and sustainable community. The purpose defined of the law helps define the spirit of the law and the spirit of the law determines how the law is applied within God’s will.

In the discernment of any behavior, the ultimate law is what God says for all law comes from God. Jesus demonstrates he has authority over all-natural law. His will establishes all-natural law. So Jesus is not braking a natural law by walking on water because he is the ultimate law, the living Word.

We must never become distracted from the reality that who Jesus is defines what Jesus does. Jesus is God incarnate. God who opens the kingdom in the midst of us now. God who calls us and loves for who we are not for what we do.

Scripture makes this clear about the human condition., “as it is written: “There is no one who is righteous, not even one; there is no one who has understanding, there is no one who seeks God. All have turned aside, together they have become worthless; there is no one who shows kindness, there is not even one.”” (Rom. 3:10-12 NRS)

Did you get that? Not even one!

There is no human reason for God to love us. There is no logical reason for God to care about us. There is nothing we can do but not having a reason other than God choses to love us is in fact reason enough because God is God. If God wants to walk on water, then God can walk on water. If God wants to feed 5000 in a miraculous way, then God can feed them. If God wants to love me, if God wants to care for me, if God wants to save me God can do this.

However, if I want to make God fit into what I believe God should do Jesus wants no part of that. If you try to make Jesus fit your political agenda, your social agenda, your economic agenda, your lifestyle agenda, or even personal agenda he will not cooperate. It is not our agenda that counts. It is not our agenda that will create unity. It is not our agenda that will create harmony. It is not our agendas that will last into eternity.

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (Jn. 14:6 CEB) This is the agenda. The actions are indicative of the authority. It is the person that is the issue. The question is, “Have you come to the truth?” Only you can decide.

Decide for the one who has true authority. Focus on the person and you will receive the promises.