Sermon for John 6:1-21   -   Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand
Proper 12 - Feeding of the Five Thousand

Lance Armstrong. Going for his eighth Tour de France. His heart is nearly one-third larger than that of the average man. At resting, it beats an average of 32 times per minute, during peak performance, 200. He burns up about 6,500 calories every day for three weeks while in the race. One of the stages of the race is 120 miles long-that day he will burn 10,000 calories. You and I burn 3,500 and that's on a good day. His lungs can take in twice the oxygen. His body fat level is 4 percent. Yours is 16. He has a weird femur bone. It's longer than the average man's. That gives him more torque when peddling his bicycle for 2000 miles through French mountains. This year he is older than most of the other competitors, yet it is as if he was built to ride.

Looking at this man it is unbelievable that cancer struck him in September 1996. He went through brain surgery and later chemotherapy so aggressive that it destroyed some of his muscle structure, burned parts of skin, and gave him permanent kidney damage. And yet the best bicyclists in the world have chased him for years. He is the pacesetter. He is the measure by which all others gauge their success. He is the unique one. All others are taught by his example.

Philip stood looking out at the masses that were now approaching. I'm not sure what was on his mind, perhaps thrilled by the success they were having. Jesus, watching over Philip's shoulder, asks, "Philip, where shall we find bread for these people to eat?" Philips gives a realistic appraisal of the situation: Eight months wages would not be enough to feed everyone so much as a little nibble. But we are let in on a little secret. Jesus is testing and I think teasing Philip a bit here. Jesus already knows he will feed them by multiplying five small barley loaves and two small fish.

Jesus is ahead of Philip. He is the pacesetter. He is out in front of them all, minutes ahead sizing up the situation providing the solutions before we even know what the problems are. He is the unique one, the measure by which all others gauge their lives.

The feeding of the five thousand is a miracle on a grand scale but if we concentrate too hard on the miracle we will miss the message in the background.
  1. What are we to learn from a small meal?
  2. What are we to learn from this big miracle?
  3. What are we to learn from the long awaited messiah?

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