Advent 19: What did Jesus say that day?

Nancy and Saint John and I were sitting in the food court, talking about the story of the feeding of the 15,000. That’s what I call it.

“Maybe you can help me,” I said to John. “I’ve got a couple questions about the version of the story we read in ‘The Gospel according to Saint John.’ I’m guessing that talking to you is as good a chance as any to get answers.”

He smiled. “I’ll do what I can, though it’s almost like talking to yourself.”

I ignored him. “First question: why doesn’t The Gospel of John, or any of the other gospels, tell us what Jesus was teaching about that day? We learn about what happened at the end of the day, but we don’t even get an outline.”

“You need to read closer,” John said. “He had compassion, he talked about the kingdom of God, and he healed. But you need to understand. The Twelve had been on an internship for a few weeks. As soon as we got back, Jesus headed for the wilderness and was met by this huge crowd. None of the disciples were interested in taking notes. Not nearly as much as talking about what had been happening.”

I shook my head. “So the Twelve were more interested in themselves than in recording teachings for us?”

cubiclesJohn laughed. “You could read it that way, I suppose. But if you actually took the time to read the whole story, you would see that the crowd scene is tied to a long teaching about being the bread of life. He gives a physical example by feeding everyone, and then explains it.”

“But what was he saying?”

“I think you’d be surprised by how much of the teaching you would know. Jesus often taught the same ideas many times to different groups of people.”

“Okay,” I said. “That helps. But I have another question.”

John leaned back to wait.

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About Jon Swanson

Social media chaplain. Author of "Lent For Non-Lent People" and "A Great Work: A Conversation With Nehemiah For People (Who Want To Be) Doing Great Works." Writer of 300wordsaday.com. I help people understand. Understand some of the Bible. Understand what Lent can be about. Understand what it means to follow.