The earliest Christians followed a Jewish tradition of pausing to pray, preferably together, first thing in the morning, about mid morning, at noon, about mid afternoon, and in the evening. “Just a Note” posts are brief observations made from Scripture readings not related to a lectionary. If I have one to post, it normally appears about 9:00 in the morning, at “the hour of prayer.”
In John 6:1-4 we find Jesus departing from an area where he had been very visible. Despite his departure, a large crowd followed him. Why were the people following Jesus? They saw how he was healing people. We need to ask ourselves a few questions about this passage. First, is it a bad thing to follow Jesus because he is healing people? No, not at all. Jesus is giving out healing, forgiveness, and life. It is not at all selfish, greedy, or otherwise inappropriate to leave all else behind and follow Jesus. He is the one who promises to give what we need. In this passage from John 6, he is giving exactly what he promises.
Is this then a free-for-all mob healing event on the mountainside? In fact, it is not. Sometimes Jesus does not do what we might expect. He was healing people, but now he took his disciples up onto the side of a mountain so he could teach them. Jesus’ work does not always follow our priorities. He has his particular set of priorities. While they may often coincide with ours, we have no guarantee of that. We are not able to tell Jesus what to do. He does according to his own will. What can we know? We can know that his will is good. He cares for his people and will do what they need, though not always what they expect.
Jesus sits down on the mountainside. May we have the grace to be his disciples and sit with him.
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