The Beauty of the Infinite

So this is the message.  This is the message that some who read might be sufficiently offended as to make a response, either good or bad, for or against.  Maybe you will decide I’ve gone off the rails and don’t want to read what I have to say anymore.   Maybe this will be a jumping off point, when some decide that Jesus is just too much, and turn and fall away.  Maybe this will the point where you see that there really is no other way, no place else to turn.   “At this point many of his disciples turned away and deserted him. Then Jesus turned to the Twelve and asked, “Are you also going to leave?” Simon Peter replied, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life. We believe, and we know you are the Holy One of God. ””.  John‬ ‭6:66-69‬ ‭NLT‬‬.  We might not get there today, but in this message, which will take a few days to complete  (I’m going to be here for a while),  there will come a decision point, a point where things are not as they were yesterday or as we thought they would be tomorrow…

John’s Gospel contains seven signs to direct our faith to Jesus.  John says that if you will believe in Jesus in the right way, you will have life in his name.  “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” John‬ ‭20:30-31‬ ‭ESV‬‬. So he places in his Gospel seven signs to point our faith  to Jesus, so that we might have life.  We’ve already looked at three of these signs.  The first sign John gives is Jesus’ miracle of turning the water into wine at the wedding in Cana.   How does this sign point us to Jesus?  It shows us that the Kingdom is now moving from purity codes to table fellowship.   

The second sign is the healing of the royal officials son.  In this sign, Jesus speaks a word at a distance and a boy is healed.   Jesus is in Cana, the boy is in Capernaum, and Jesus speaks a word from a distance and the boy is healed.   What does this sign tell us about Jesus?   It tells that Jesus is the Word of God sent to heal us.  Believe that sign…

The third sign is the healing at pool of Bethesda.  This sign is telling us that Jesus is doing the work of the Father, even right now.   Because the Pharisees say it’s the sabbath, it’s not time to work.  But Jesus and the Father are in a different time zone, and Jesus says “No, my Father is working right now, and I’m working, because we’ve moved beyond the seventh day.  It’s the eight day, new beginnings, new creation, resurrection…

So we come to the fourth sign in John’s Gospel, the feeding of the 5000, the multiplication of the loaves and fishes.   This sign is intended to point us to Jesus as the bread of Heaven.  If we pay close attention to this sign, we will see what John wants us to see, and that is the beauty of the infinite.   So, here is the story, read the story for yourself, if at all possible read this out loud.  It will enter your spirit in a different way, because at least if you read it aloud, the sense of hearing is activated, and hearing is different that seeing or simply reading silently.  Don’t try to interpret this or figure it out, just enter into the story, maybe let the story enter into you… 

“After this Jesus went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias. And a large crowd was following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing on the sick. Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples. Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand. Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a large crowd was coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?” He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread would not be enough for each of them to get a little.” One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?” Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, about five thousand in number. Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted. And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.” So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves left by those who had eaten. When the people saw the sign that he had done, they said, “This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!” Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.”
‭‭John‬ ‭6:1-15‬ ‭ESV‬‬

That’s enough for today, come back tomorrow and we will continue…

John Lewis

7 thoughts on “The Beauty of the Infinite

  1. Seven signs.

    Why Seven?

    John tells us he could have told of more, but he chose to give SEVEN.

    So, why Seven???


    Even though he offers Seven among many, many, many more he could have told, John doesn’t number them for us.

    Okay, he tells us First and second, but then he stops counting FOR US and lets us count out seven for ourselves.

    Why point out one and two but stop counting?

    Got any insight into this mysterious concentration on seven, but on not counting it out for us?

    Great post, as always…


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Because seven is the divine number, of course. John is very Jewish, and as such, his numbers are very important. As in seven, the divine number, or twelve, as in the twelve tribes of Israel.

      And yes, he specifically points out the first two, because we wants us to not miss his signs, but he also is an artist who does not want his gospel cluttered up by numbering every sign…he’s counting on us to get the point and find the rest on our own.

      At least that’s what I say in general. I’m sure there are other explanations…thanks Brother X!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanx for responding. Good answer. And to be fair and forthright I do not have some ultimate “right answer” on some ultimate score sheet here. I am learning too.

        Like you, I believe John to be very Jewish about this stuff. But the number is not accidental or put there simply to be Jewish. If that is all it were, then why not 12? There is something about 7 in particular that John wants us to resonate with here. Any ideas?

        And as for the not numbering them all… I have no doubt my ideas about it are out on a limb, but I wonder why you think being artistic and not cluttering by numbering is an answer. I sense you are shooting off the cuff.

        Is there anything John himself says or does that alludes to answers to these questions? Are they even important at all?

        I really struggle with John at this level. Your analyses of the texts you handle are always pervasive, usually handling 3 or 4 or more points of interest in any given post.

        So… what do you think? What do you REALLY think?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. As far as John using seven, I do think this very intentional, and very Jewish. John’s Gospel is constant in presenting Christ as the true Messiah, the one and only Son of God. Seven was seen as a perfect, divine number. As opposed to Matthew, Luke, and especially Mark, who just unloads miracle after miracle, John chose seven as the divine perfect number to point us to a divine, perfect Christ.

          He uses twelve as well, which I will get into as I unpack this feeding if the multitudes some more, as in twelve baskets of food picked up after feeding 5000 men, plus women and children, with 5 fish and 2 loaves, 12 baskets representing and pointing to the twelve tribes of Israel, the 12 disciples, etc, etc…


        2. Forgot – I actually don’t think there is any special significance to numbering the first two and not the rest. I think he wanted us to get the point and catch on, but wanted to make sure we got the point. It’s his way of giving a sign to his signs, if you will…

          Liked by 1 person

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