This text is used for the Lectionary Year B on August 2, 2015.
In 6:24-35 an encounter occurs between Jesus and a Judean crowd, and it revolves around Jesus’ previous feeding of the 5,000 (6:1-15). One characteristic of this encounter is the use of questions. The Gospel of John is filled with probing questions directed towards Jesus. The Judean crowd and their questions are perfect examples of those seeking to know more about Jesus. Note the various questions put to Jesus by the crowd in these verses: (1) “Rabbi, when did you come here?” (v. 25); (2) “What must we do to perform works of God?” (v. 28); (3) “What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you?” (v. 30a); and (4) “What work are you performing?” (v. 30b).
This text is used for the Lectionary Year B on July 26, 2015.
The focus of 6:1-21 revolves around two signs, feeding of the 5,000 (6:1-15) and walking on water (6:16-21). Both of these occur in the context of the nearness of the Passover (v. 4). This festival allusion is significant because these two signs highlight eating and water, both of which are critical elements in the celebration of the Passover. The Passover centers on a meal representing God’s liberation of the Israelites via the water of the Red Sea.
These two signs are signs number four and five out of seven signs that occur in John between chapters 2 through 11. The themes and motifs contained in these verses echo previous episodes and anticipate coming events. For the writer of John, signs point beyond themselves to something greater. That something greater is Jesus send from God. Unfortunately, often when individuals or groups in John encounter signs they become preoccupied with the miracle itself and miss the Sign-Maker. In both instances of Jesus’ signs in 6:1-21, the crowds and the disciples miss the implications.
This text is used for the Lectionary Year B on July 19, 2015.
These two sets of verses in Mark present summarized statements about the ministry of Jesus and his disciples. Verse 30 sums up the disciples’ ministry activity and calls for a reader to recall an earlier commissioning of the disciples in Mark 6:7-13. In these earlier verses, the disciples are sent into villages to proclaim the message of repentance (v. 12). This message imitates the core of their teacher’s proclamation also, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near, repent, and believe in the good news” (1:14). Not only did they testify to the good news, they also healed and performed exorcisms. For this reason, only here in the Gospel does Mark use the title apostles for the disciples. They demonstrated both in word and deeds that they were sent out and empowered, as representatives of their teacher, with the message of the kingdom.
This text is used for the Lectionary Year B on July 12, 2015.
These verses present a unique narrative in Mark’s Gospel; the focus is not upon Jesus. Up until this point, Jesus has occupied center stage, but for one brief moment the spotlight shifts totally to another, John the Baptist. The shift happens in 8:14-16 with Herod’s identification of this rumored Jesus as John the Baptist raised from the dead. While other popular identifications speculated that Jesus was Elijah or a prophet like of old, Herod’s paranoid assessment becomes his haunted truth, “John has been raised.” He is guilt-haunted because Herod understands his personal responsibility for the death of John by repining, “I beheaded” him.