Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Remember the loaves in the storm

What is the connection between Jesus calming the storm and feeding the 5000?
Mark's Gospel makes an insightful one. "The disciples were terrified, and amazed in the storm because they didn't understand about the loaves. Their hearts were hardened."

At this stage the feeding of the 5000 was just another spectacular display of Jesus power for them. Obviously, it must have been fantastic to be used in that way, and to see the fish and bread literally multiply in their hands.

It's only after the storm though, that Jesus gives significance to the miracle. "I am the Bread of Life. If anyone eats of me he shall have eternal life. If you do not eat of my flesh and drink of my blood you can have no part with me." The crowd that flocked to Jesus when he filled their stomachs fled from him when he offered to fill their souls. Only the 12 remained. But they understood about the loaves."Where else can we go, only you have the words of eternal life?" The miracle had become intensely personal for them.

The connection between the storm and the loaves is this. When we understand that Jesus is the Bread of Life broken for us, we are able to trust him to hold us together when the storms of life threaten to break us apart. Through the wind and the waves, we are able to hear him say, "Take courage. Do not be afraid. It is I."

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