Just when you (or maybe just me) may have felt like you were settling into the pace and style of Mark’s Gospel, we will be jumping back into John’s Gospel for the next five weeks. The next four weeks focus on Jesus as the “Bread of Life.”
I’ve been trying to come up with a clever way to talk about this shift from Mark to John. I’ve come up with three comparisons that might make sense to different generations. Mark is like the Nightly News and John is more like 60 minutes. Mark is like Twitter and John is more like Facebook. Mark is like TikTok and John is like YouTube. What those comparisons mean is that Mark uses fewer words to share his Gospel and John takes the luxury of using more words and more imagery for his Gospel. Of course, to compare the two Gospels in this way is by no means complete but maybe it will help you a little as we make this transition.
Last week, Mark’s Gospel skipped over the Feeding of the 5000 and this week we hear of the feeding from John’s perspective. In John’s Gospel, Jesus’ miracles are called “signs.” And the people have been seeing all of the healing that he is doing and they are curious about these signs. When Jesus feeds the crowd from the 5 loaves and the two fish, the people see this as another sign about Jesus and they say, “This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world.” The people want to make him king so Jesus somehow wanders off by himself.
Many have tried to explain away the Feeding of the 5000. They don’t want to see it as a “sign.” But maybe we need to just sit with the power of God for a moment. By God’s power many had been healed, by God’s power many had been fed, by God’s power many miracles or “signs” can and will happen. What will these next five weeks teach us about God’s power, made known through Jesus, as we hear these lessons from the Gospel of John?