Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost

by Crossings

Missing the Sign
John 6: 24-35
Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost
analysis by Ed Schroeder

Continuing last week’s discussion of John chapter 6– The Revised Common Lectionary Gospels for the five consecutive Sundays, July 27 to Aug. 24, are a “lectio continua” sequence through all of John 6. Last week’s Sabbatheology (#74)offered a core Crossings matrix for the entire chapter. With the Six Stages of last week’s matrix serving as a basic blueprint of the theology of the chapter, the individual texts for the five Sundays look like this:

Pent. 10
John 6: 1-21. 
Accent is on people’s misreading, misprioritizing, Jesus (Stage 1) after he feeds them, thus mis-reading this Sign by virtue of their commitment (Stage 2) to an alternate Messianic figure–the Royal Prophet–who would, of course, never get crucified, and thus never heal their Stage 3 malady.

Pent. 11
John 6: 24-35. 
Accents are on the people’s missing the sign, on diagnosis at Stage 2 level, on their misreading Moses, and on Stage 4 articulated as the one who “gives life to the world.”

Pent. 12
John 6: 35, 41-51. 
Accents are on the contrast between Jesus’ bread and Mosaic (the law’s) bread–starkly expressed with the words “and they died”(v.49). Misprioritizing Jesus again (v. 42). Misreading the Old Testament. Rich Stage 4 material is found in vv. 44-51. High point of that is when Jesus speaks of the bread he gives as “my flesh, which I give for the life of the world” (v.51).

Pent. 13
John 6: 51-58.
This pericope is mostly Stage 5 material according to the original matrix pattern. Here Jesus invites us to feed on him (and drink too, as the Eucharistic imagery unfolds). V. 57 spells out that three-step process (Stages 4 and 5 in the matrix): living Father, Jesus alive because of that living Father, those feeding on Christ also live because of the pipeline hook-up. Again the deadly alternative (Stage 3) signalled in feeding on Mosaic manna.

Pent. 14
John 6: 60-69. 
Matrix accents here are Stage 1 and 2: Even “his disciples grumble” and mis-prioritize him. Eventually they go all the way and “do not believe…turn back and no longer follow him.” The Stage 5 contrast to that is Peter’s confession as a genuine believing disciple in vv. 68f. Stage 6 then is “simply” following Jesus as his disciple. 

Note: Next Saturday, Aug. 2, is my last Saturday in the US. On Aug. 7, d.v., we leave for fall semester teaching in Klaipeda, Lithuania. Just how Sabb. Theol. might continue from there is still uncertain. Yet with the material from Sabb.theol. 74 and now 75 above, the Sunday Gospels are “covered” up through the fourth Sunday of August. The Pent 15 Gospel for the last Sunday in August, the 31st, takes us back to St. Mark again. I propose to send a Crossings matrix for that text as Sabbatheology #76, my stateside swan-song, next weekend.

Peace & Joy! Ed


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