A Boy Who Shared (February 19)

John 6:1-14

Comment

The Cotton Patch version of the Bible, John 6:1-14:
    “Later on, Jesus crossed the big lake and was followed by a large crowd, because they saw the tremendous things he was doing for the sick. So Jesus climbed up the hill and sat down with his students around him. Now the annual Convention, the big meeting of the church people, was drawing near. Well, Jesus looked up and saw that a lot of people were coming to him, so he said to Phil, "How will we buy enough food to feed all these people?" (Since he already knew what he was about to do, he was sort of pulling Phil’s leg.) Phil answered, "Even if everybody got only a taste, it would take about two hundred dollars’ worth!" Then one of the students—Andy, Rock’s brother—piped up, "There’s a kid here who has five buns and two hot dogs, but that won’t go a long way toward feeding this crowd!"
    Jesus said, "Please tell the people to be seated." (There was a Jot of grass at this spot.) So the crowd, numbering about five thousand, sat down, and Jesus took the buns, said grace, and served the seated people. He did the same with the hot dogs, and everybody took as many as they wanted. When they finished eating, Jesus told the students, "Y’all gather up the leftovers so we don’t waste anything." They collected them, and even after the people had eaten all they could hold, there still were left twelve big basketsful of leftovers of the five buns.
            Seeing him do such a tremendous thing, the people said, "There’s no doubt about it, this is God’s Man for the world!" And when Jesus realized that they were planning to draft him for governor, he checked out of there and again went into the mountain alone” (The Cotton Path Gospel, Clarence Jordan, pp ).

Social-Science Commentary on the Gospel of John:
    “6:1-4 John typically introduces significant interactions of Jesus with an accurate designation of the time and place of the event. Here the time is when the Judean Feast of Passover was near; the place is the other side of the Sea of Galilee (also known as the Sea of Tiberias). Specifically, the location was “the” mountain. The mountain in Mediterranean culture was a height outside inhabited and cultivated space, that is, outside the city, the village, or town. A mountaintop was a well-attested place for communing with God (like Sinai in the Exodus).  Since the areas outside towns and villages were considered chaotic and uncontrolled by humans, however, they were believed to be inhabited by various spirits or demons. Meals did not normally take place there. People did not picnic (or do recreational swimming or go mountain climbing) in the first-century Mediterranean world. In the “wild,” proper care could not be taken in the preparation of food or in meeting the other necessities of ritual purity. The fact that purchasing food is discussed in the story is an indication that the people in the crowd are some distance from kin from whom they would normally seek food when away from home for a time.
    6:9 Barley was used for making bread among lower-status people because it was much cheaper than wheat (and less nutritious)” (Social-Science Commentary on the Gospel of John, Bruce J. Malina and Richard L. Rohrbaugh, p. 126, also includes an article on “bread”)

Teaching Suggestions

•    Illustration: Think about the planning and preparation it takes to feed about 80-90 people on Wednesday nights to get an idea of how stressed the disciples must have been when Jesus, on the spur of the moment, asked them about feeding a large crowd of 5,000 men, plus women and children. Ask Maria Rice, Beverly Durham, Tim Dievert, Amy Miller, Nina Mallory, Cathy Crown-Weber, Kathy White, Stephanie Griffin, or Judee Vanderpool about feeding large groups.
    Try this: Arrange for Tommy to come and interrupt your class to say, “We need to provide lunch for the congregation after worship today. Sorry about the late notice, but could your class get a meal together for us. We are introducing a special emphasis for our church during the Lenten season. We’re expecting about 300 people. We have to feed them and we don’t know what else to do.” Observe the class’ reaction for a little bit (before they start throwing things at Tommy) then explain that this was an illustration our lesson for today. Let class members discuss how they felt. Compare this situation to today’s Bible story.

•    Scripture Reading: The Gospel of John, word for word from the Good News version of the Bible, has been made into a feature film, which was shown in some theatres. If you would like to show the segment portraying John 6:1-14, it is available in Keith’s office to whoever requests it first.

•    The Teaching Guide suggests showing the classic Coca-Cola commercial where a boy shares a Coke with “Mean” Joe Greene, p. 42. This video clip can be found on our website, Classic Commercial.

•    Ministry Application: Make your class members aware of these feeding ministries—Soup’s On Us, Salvation Army, Harvest of Hope, Community Thanksgiving Feast, World Hunger offering, and others that you are aware of (See attached descriptions). Encourage members to become involved. Consider planning a time when your class can serve together in one of these ministries.

•    Communion: Breaking of bread in the New Testament is often symbolic of worship, communion, and the fellowship meal. This story reminds us of Jesus’ last supper and worship/communion among Christians in the church. You might conclude your Bible study with an observance of communion. Tommy or I can help provide you with the elements and some guidance. In this case you may want to only use bread in your observance.


Resources

•    The Gospel of John (Visual Bible International, 2003), Disc One, chapter 8.

•    Social-Science Commentary on the Gospel of John, Bruce J. Malina and Richard L. Rohrbaugh (Fortress Press, 1998), p. 125-127.

•    The Cotton Patch Gospel: Matthew and John, Clarence Jordan (Smyth & Helwys, 2004), pp. 87-88.

•    For additional commentary on the text see these commentaries in our library:
o    Mercer Commentary on the Bible (Mercer University Press, 1995)
o    Harper’s Bible Commentary (Harper & Row, 1988)

Feeding Ministries (Danville/Boyle County)

Soup’s On Us

"Soup's on Us" is a weekend food ministry sponsored by Saints Peter & Paul Catholic Church, The Presbyterian Church of Danville, First Christian Church, and Lexington Avenue Baptist Church. Lexington Avenue Baptist is responsible for providing meals for 300 plus needy Danville residents one Saturday per month, including making boxes, preparing meals, packing boxes, and delivering meals. Soup's On Us provides an opportunity for fellowship and ministry to our community. The next scheduled Soup’s On Us at LABC is Saturday, March 3.

Salvation Army
The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination. Salvation Army accepts non-perishable food items.

Harvesting Hope
"The mission of Harvesting Hope Food Pantry is to reduce the hunger in Boyle County through community cooperation making the best possible use of all available resources."
Pantry Hours
Mondays: 9:30a-1:00p
Tuesdays: 9:30a-1:00p
Wednesdays: 9:30a-1:00p
Thursdays: 9:30a-11:30a
Fridays: 4:00p-6:00p
Soup Kitchen Hours
Mondays-Thursdays: 4:00p-5:30p
Fridays: 1:00p-2:30p

Community Thanksgiving Feast
Each Thanksgiving Day our church along with others in the community hosts a Thanksgiving Feast for anyone in the community who is not able to provide their own or for anyone who would just like the fellowship.

World Hunger Offering
Each October for World Hunger Day we collect rice bowl banks for a world hunger offering. Of course, world hunger funds may be accepted through the church office any time.