I think everyone here knows this, but I (Janelle) come from a big family. I’m the youngest of four kids and the family of 6 that I grew up in has turned into a family of 17. My siblings and I have all gotten married and we have a combined total of 7 kids
One thing you should know about our family is that we quote from a few movies and tv shows constantly. Seriously, it’s constant. Sometimes it feels like half of our communication is quoting from shows or movies with the other person. This happens so much so that whenever a new person would show up (like someone that was marrying into the family) we would often be tempted to give them a list of movies and shows to watch so they can understand the majority of what we’re saying to one another.
It is especially important to know what we are referencing because we never stop to say what movie we are quoting from, why we quoted it, or how it fits the conversation. My husband says, “It’s real fun” marrying into the Woodrum family. While I know he is being sarcastic, I like to take it literally and say, “Yeah, it IS fun.”
For example, there is a scene in Christmas vacation when the beloved Christmas tree gets burned up in the living room. While Clark Griswold watches helplessly as his most special tree burns to a crisp, a relative walks in the room and callously responds to Clark’s despair by saying, “It was an ugly tree anyway.” Another older relative pipes up and responds, “At least [the tree] is out of its misery.” The unabashed insensitivity makes me giggle even as I write this.
Now, when things break, we quote this line. For example, if a car breaks down we might respond to the situation by saying, “It was an ugly car anyway.” Someone else would likely jump in saying, “At least it’s out of its misery.” At this, the newcomer to the family would probably be confused at our lack of sensitivity to a stressful situation. The truth is, we are not saying the car was ugly, we are just quoting back to a movie line where someone was being insensitive about a difficult situation. My family knows this and they are immediately making the connection without anyone having to stop and explain it.
THIS SAME THING is happening with the Jewish readers of the gospel. They are making all sorts of connections that we today do not easily see. We are the new family members coming into the story and the best way for us to get caught up is not to watch the list of movies that we suggest to the in-laws, but to read the Bible stories. Not just from the New Testament, but the Old Testament too. We might not make the connection as easily as the people who lived 2,000 years ago, but when the connections are referenced we will be able to place the story and the concept in a way that we couldn’t if we don’t read the Bible.
I invite you to join us this Sunday as we read John 6:1-21. I encourage you to read these verses and think through the stories you know from the Old Testament. Are there any connections that jump out to you? Consider the fact that the ancient writers of the Bible did not include unnecessary details. Look at the details of the setting and the time of year that is noted by John. Is he using these details to clue us into connections that the Jewish audience may have understood immediately?
The initial reading of this can spark so many questions within us. Why would John ask Philp how they were going to feed everyone if he already knew the answer? Why would Jesus hide from the crowds who wanted to worship him as king? Why would Jesus send the disciples in a boat that was going to get caught in a storm?
Join us this Sunday at 10:00AM as we work to discover the meaning intended behind this story and the way that it can affect how we live today.