And now to finish out what I have to say (finally) about Jesus feeding the multitudes…
First…the paragraph I finished with last time.
Jesus says we don’t have to stay down here in the finite sphere worried and fighting. We can trust in God and connect with the beauty of the infinite. This is the life where trust replaces fear and faith replaces force. This is the life that the sign of the feeding of the five thousand points us to. It’s the life that we want to live. It’s the life of peace. But it’s challenging to enter into. You can do it, but the fear of scarcity, the paradigm of insufficiency, the drive for economic self preservation is the greatest hindrance to entering into the Kingdom of God.
The people that have the hardest time connecting with that connecting point between the infinite heaven and our finite creation are not the poor down here, but the rich. The rich that have few more of those grains in the hourglass. I mean, the rich have twelve grains of sand, and after all, the poor only have one. But, it is just twelve grains… Jesus says it’s hard for the rich to understand that there is the infinite provision of God…”How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” Luke 18:24 ESV, because they are so locked into their paradigm of scarcity and insufficiency.
We are dominated by our paradigm of scarcity, and we fear there will never be enough. So we are committed to maintaining economic self preservation by force, and this is the way of Cain. The force maintaining our economic self preservation is where we place our faith, and it’s idolatrous. I’ll say it again. The force maintaining our economic self preservation is where we place our faith, and it’s idolatrous…
What happens is, when we operate within our paradigm of scarcity and we put our faith in force to forcibly preserve ours, this creates competition. Competition leads to conflict. Conflict leads to conquest. Conquest leads to resentment because people tend not to like to be conquered (go figure). Resentment leads to retaliation and rebellion, and that leads to war. And the whole thing becomes one big self-fulfilling prophecy that there is not enough because we squander it fighting one another…
Because we are dominated by our paradigm of scarcity, it leads to competition. Competition leads to conflict, conflict leads to conquest, and people don’t like to be conquered and this leads to resentment, and then rebellion, and then retaliation and war, which leads to the self-fulfilling prophecy of scarcity and lack, also known as the haves and the have-nots. Now what do we have? Maybe you can recognize the four horseman of the apocalypse…
The white horse of conquest. Followed by the red horse of war. Followed by the black horse of scarcity (or famine). Followed by the pale horse of death. People ask “Do you think those horses are about to ride?” They’ve been galloping across human history several times a century since history began!!!! And Jesus wants to SAVE us from the stupid cycle of the stupid four horseman! He wants to save us from this cycle where we have conquest, we conquer, but people don’t like to be conquered. So as soon as they get a little power and some kind of leader they retaliate, and that leads to WAR, which is the worst squandering of human resources, and it turns into that self-fulfilling prophecy of Look there’s not enough!
Yeah, because you spent it all killing each other. Of course there’s not enough now. And in the end it’s always that pale horse that rides across history. Jesus says, “Let’s do something else, because this isn’t working! I’ve come to save you.” Jesus came to save us from the stupid cycle of conquest, war, famine, and death. Conquest, war, famine, and death. Conquest, war, famine, and death. That’s human history.
The miracle of the the loaves and fishes is a sign pointing us to Jesus in a new way, but do we have eyes to see it, do we have faith to believe it? 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. We call him Lord Jesus Christ. Christ means Messiah, Messiah means King. Christ is King. Jesus is the King. Yet they come to make him king, and he runs off to hide. What’s happening here? The key word here is force. Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force…the crowd wants to take Jesus by force to make him their forceful king to lead their forces. This is exactly what Jesus will not do. Jesus will not ride the white horse of forceful conquest, because that leads to the red horse of war, that leads to the black horse of famine, and that leads to the pale horse of death, and that’s what Jesus came to SAVE us from, not ride.
The Kingdom of Christ is without force. It’s persuaded by love, spirit, witness, reason, rhetoric, and if need be laying down our lives, martyrdom. Because we love not our lives, even to the point of death. But never by force. The kingdom of God does not come by winning the game of force in our finite sphere. The kingdom of God comes by, in faith, connecting to Jesus Christ, and thus to the beauty of the infinite.
The Word became flesh and blood. The Word didn’t become an idea, the Word didn’t become a theory, the Word didn’t become a sermon. The Word became flesh and blood. The flesh and blood of Jesus is the connecting point of the finite and the infinite. I’ve used the word infinite, but the Bible uses another word for this, it’s called eternal life. Instead of infinite, I could have used the words eternal life. But I want to bring it in a fresh new way. In the beginning was the infinite, the infinite was with God, the infinite was God, and the infinite became finite flesh and blood, lived among us, and we beheld the beauty of the infinite.
The beauty of the infinite. It’s a sign. It’s not just Jesus giving lunch one time. It’s a sign that we can connect by faith with the word made flesh, and that opens us up to the infinite.
“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