The Holy Gospel: July 29, 2012 (Year B)

Read:  John 6:1-15

Meditation:  “Go Up Higher”

Today’s lesson is the familiar story of the feeding of the 5,000.  Because it is an event that we normally explore from the vantage point of the feeding itself, I have decided to do something else with it.

The original Living Bible translates verse 15 this way, “Jesus saw that they were ready to take him by force and make him their king, so he went higher into the mountains alone.”

This was not only a good move on Jesus’ part; it’s also a necessary one on our part as well.

When people want to be “king makers,” they always want to do it on their terms.  Notice the phrase is “make him their King.”  Right there is the problem.  There are always folks in the picture who want to be among those who “make kings.”  But when you take a closer look at it, what they are really doing is choosing people who will unquestionably do their bidding.  In other words, the king-makers only want to have their “kings” (toy potentates) in their pockets, dancing to their tune, or dangling at the end of their strings.

That’s what Jesus saw happening, and he “headed for the hills.”  He did not stay on that level. He went “higher.”

And so must we.  At the end of the day, kings rule by divine right, not human whims—and surely not on the level of merely catering to the desires of the crowd who only wants a king who will do their bidding.

Today’s meditation is not a license to abandon accountability in leadership. It’s not permission to become distanced from those we serve.  It’s simply a call to remember to Whom we have given our ultimate allegiance.  When the crowds show up (it can also be an individual) who want to ascribe “kingship” upon us, that’s the moment we must recall that only God can do that.

In the moment when we feel another’s hand trying to get us into their pocket, it’s time to “go higher” and find ourselves in the grip of God.

About Steve Harper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 42 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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2 Responses to The Holy Gospel: July 29, 2012 (Year B)

  1. Steve Spining says:

    This really spoke to me. Thank you.

  2. Jim Bradshaw says:

    Absolutely! Excellent!

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