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THE BREAD FROM HEAVEN.pdf

THE BREAD FROM HEAVEN.pdf

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY FREDERICK DENISON MAURICE, M.A.


St. John VI. 85.

And Jesus said unto them I am the bread of life : he that cometh to me
shall never hunger ; and he that beiieveth in me shall never thirst.
BY FREDERICK DENISON MAURICE, M.A.


St. John VI. 85.

And Jesus said unto them I am the bread of life : he that cometh to me
shall never hunger ; and he that beiieveth in me shall never thirst.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Nov 05, 2013
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THE BREAD FROM HEAVEN.BY FREDERICK DENISON MAURICE, M.A.St. John VI. 85.And Jems taid wrdo ihenif I am the bread of life : he thaJt cometh tomeshall never hvmger ; a/nd he that beiieveth <m me ehaU never thirst.In general, the signs or miracles of CHrist which St. Johnrecords are not the same with those which the other Evan-gelists have recorded. The exceptions are found in thischapter. Here, as in St. Matthew, St. Mark, and St.Lnke, we have a narrative of tiiie feeding of the five thou-sand ; here, as in St. Matthew and St Mark, we have thenarrative of Jesus walking on the sea. There is no doubtthat the events described in all the Gospels are the same.In time, pljuse, numbers, and in most of the circumstances,they exactly correspond. The variations in St. John,however, are very instructive as to his own design. Wemay learn from them why he repeats his predecessors, aswell as why he so commonly introduces topics which theyhave not touched.^ After these things, Jestis went over the Sea of Oalilee,which is the Sea of Tiberias. And a great multitudeTHE BREAD FROM HEAVEN. 173followed Stm^ hecavse they saw Hia miracles which He didon them that were diseased. And Jesus went up into amountain, and there He sat with His disciples. And thePassover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh.^ The additionto the story is in the last verse. It has puzzled theharmonists. It does occasion serious difficulties in thechronology of this Gospel. Yet I hesitate to call it an
 
interpolation. The Jerusalem feasts are continually pre-sent to the mind of St. John. Even when he leads usinto Samaria and Galilee, "we are never allowed to forgetthem. I own, however, that this notice of the Passoverdoes not prepare us for a visit to the city ; and that it isquite unnecessary as an introduction to the following dis-course, which, as we all know, was suggested by an eventwhich took place near Capernaum.* When Jesus then lifted up His eyes, and saw a greatcrowd come to Him, He saith unto Philipj Whence shall wehay hread, that these may eat f And this He said to provehim: for He Himself knew what He would do. Philipanswered Him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is notsufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little.One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter s brother, saithunto Him, There is a lad here which hath five barley-loaves,and two small fishes : but what are they among so many f 'The force of the sign is often, as I said before, to be dis-cerned in these incidents, quite as much as in what we callthe miraculous part of it. We see how our Lord usesevents as an education of His disciples; how part of anevent serves to bring out the character of one man, part of another. And what was true then, according to the doc-trine that goes through the book, is true always. As theTeacher does not change — as, in essentials, the learner of 174 DISCOUBSE XIII.the West is not different from the learner of the East — thesame method of discipline belongs to both. We mayunderstand, from the specimens of it which St. John givesus, how our thoughts are awakened — how we are madeconscious of doubts, that they may be satisfied.St. John follows strictly the former Evangelists till the14th verse. There the eflfect of the sign upon the multitudeis given in words which we have not elsewhere. ^Then
 
those merij when they had seen the miracle which Jesus did^said, This is of a truth that Prophet which should come intothe world. When Jesus therefore perceived that they wouldcorns and take Him hy force to Tnake him a king, He departedoffain into a mountain Himself alone,^ Two names arebrought together which are quite distinct, but which havemingled with each other in all the world's history. * He isa Prophet; God has sent Him.' That is the natural feel-ing of a crowd which has been conscious of a wonderfulpower exerted on its own behalf. Then comes another : — * How shall we exalt this Prophet ? How shall we show* our sense of His might, and our gratitude for His benefits ?' Let us make Him our King. None is so worthy to reign* over us. He may not be willing to put Himself at our' head ; why should not we take the matter into our own' hands?' It was no new thing. Many a champion hadarisen before in Galilee to rid the people of their oppressors.Each had come in the name of God. The desert was theordinary scene of their exploits. Was it not the very placefor an insurrection in favour of this Galilaean Prophet tobegin? If some compidsion were used, the mysteriouspower which had fed them would, of course, be ready tosupport His own claims.Unless we remember this wild excitement among menTHE BREAD FBOM HEAVEN. 176who had been hungry and who had eaten, and the voice of command with which He sent them away to their houses — the kingly might coming forth in His resolution that theyshould not make Him a king — we can scarcely enter intothe stillness and aw&lness of that night-scene which isbrought before us in the following verses : — ' And wheneven was now come, the disciples went down unto the sea, and

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