Sunday, April 22, 2012

Why A Miracle?

from John 6:1-15. John's reporting of the feeding of the 5,000.

• Imagine the enormity of this event. 5000 men. (HersheyPark stadium seats 16,000… every man with say one woman one child… imagine speaking to such a crowd… imagine the time to feed (imagine the time just to commune our worship!)

• Miracles are weird. They bother people. (From Leif Enger's Peace Like A River (PLAR. 2001): "Real miracles bother people. They rebut every rule all we good citizens take comfort in. When a person dies, the earth is generally unwilling to cough him back up. A miracle contradicts the will of the earth.") 
Miracles are UNREASONABLE and they DEMAND a response.
More I think about feeding of thousands more I think I’d lie awake at night, that wasn’t supposed to happen. I want to know more about this guy, and it is out of my comfort zone.

• Another selection from PLAR: "People fear miracles because they fear being changed, though ignoring them will change you also."  
(imagine telling about this miracle. Imagine not telling)

• Why miracle? (John 6:14 “When the people saw that he had done a miraculous sign they said This is truly the prophet who is coming into the world”)
This miracle shows God’s ability beyond shadow of a doubt. No natural explanation. In some cases undeniable just by sheer enormity (as setup: huge crowd, wilderness. Another account in Matthew says they were in wilderness for days.  You can't blame this on people not really being hungry or just eating the snacks they had brought with them...)

• Another selection from PLAR: "No miracle happens without a witness. Someone to declare, Here’s what I saw. Here’s how it went. Make of it what you will."

• This miracle: nurture belief in Jesus as God’s anointed one… this is no ordinary prophet. Worth paying attention to. Worth learning about, following, living for.

This is no ordinary God.

Purpose of miracle: So that they may know & believe that Jesus is Lord.

• Prayer that our actions and reactions may point to You / Bell Skit* / Hymn 529

*This scripture was selected today to go along with a handbell skit in which a picnic basket tells his point-of-view of the miraculous feeding of the 5,000 and his story is punctuated by handbell selections.