“Teaching How” John 6: 1 – 7
Click on headphones icon at left to listen to the audio of this transcript
March 18, 1970 (tape 212-B, CD 23)
“After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias. 2) And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased. 3) And Jesus went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples. 4) And the passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh. 5) When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread that these may eat? 6) And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do. 7) Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little.” That is the first through the seventh verse.
This is particularly appropriate at this time, for this is the fourth Sunday of Lent. It is the halfway mark of our Lord’s journey toward the crucifixion and toward the resurrection. It is the time in which we stop to rest and take tally as he did. He tried to. And take a tally of what is happening, what we have gained and to prepare our self for that time and that day of the resurrection.
The activity of our Lord always reminds me of the premise on which this Order was built – the service to man. The helping of him not only with words but with material things. Not only telling him how to do something but showing him how and also helping to feed him. Helping to house him. Helping to show him how he can help himself, one of the greatest principles of all time.
I did not read all particular story of the multiplication of the loaves and the fishes but in this Jesus did exactly that same thing. He showed the way to the disciples to feed these people whom had followed him. We meet so many things in life and people whom will tell us all about what is right but so few are willing to demonstrate and show us how. And right at this time in the evolution of man it is very important that we show people how, not just tell them. That we demonstrate the how, that we lead them to the how to give them an understanding of how they can also do it.
For this is nothing new that we teach. It is thousands of years old. It is older than the Christian Bible. But the great Master came in order to revive, in order to bring back to man the great reality which was almost lost in the Levitic priesthood. These were things which were essential for mans life and for him to give glory to God and to find his own god counterpart and thus live the life of joy and happiness which he was supposed to live.
There was a motley crowd of course in Jerusalem and Jerusalem was not, as I have said before, just a city of Jewish people, by far. It was a real cosmopolitan city and if you could transfer the crowds that you would have seen in Jerusalem at this time into New York City with modern dress you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. Because it was in reality a true New York cosmopolitan group because here they were at the crossroads of the trade centers and trade lanes and they came from Egypt, they came from lower Africa, they came from the east in India and all along through the Baltic states. They came from the south and every land of the Earth, almost. They came through this way and it was this same path and this same trade route which the Roman Empire followed in its conquest. Actually that was the foundation of why Jerusalem was festered or was saddled with the Roman Empire at that time.
Actually, Jesus came not for the purpose of trying to demonstrate to these people the magnitude of his ability. He came to demonstrate the power of God within us to show us how we also held within our grasp this great truth, this great reality. That we did not have to be service bound to anyone. And in those days people were bound many times in servitude to someone else in order to pay a debt. We don’t do that anymore, thank God. It would be a pretty bad situation, I imagine, if we did. But this, in those days, there was slavery, there was servitude even amongst the yellow race and amongst the whites of the Jewish people. It made no difference in those days, there was still servitude and slavery amongst them and they were just as much slaves as anyone else was. And then the Romans, of course, took this over.
Now you say, what has this to do with the story of the multiplying of the loaves and the fishes, the multiplying of it? You see, his disciples and the apostles which were with him whom were the carriers of the truth as far as the ministry was concerned at that time, these whom he had talked to, those whom he had taught so closely. They yet hadn’t found the confidence within the Word and the teachings of the Master. They yet had not, so that he had to show them how. And it was because of this, we say today, “mass mind”, this way of education and many other terms that we use today that they wouldn’t have used then because they didn’t have the school systems and so forth.
But they too were oppressed in this way in those days because they had been brought up in a family or a place or in a temple or otherwise, and most of his men were fishermen, remember. Most of them were not well educated. They came from the sea. They were tradesmen and seamen, fishermen. So they hadn’t had the advantage of a literary education of any kind and sometimes I wonder if that’s an advantage. Sometimes I wonder if they aren’t better off without it if they’re going to really understand God. Sometimes I wonder if our books don’t get in the way to keep us from really knowing and really understanding because it’s somebody else’s opinions in these books.
But we know this can be surmounted. We know that we can be lead to the place where we too can learn. And right at this fourth Sunday of Lent I feel as if it were a symbol of the times in which we live. They had a miracle in that day of the loaves and the fishes. Well, we need a miracle today. But that miracle is possible, and we know it. And that will be the miracle of awakening men and women to the greatness of what they are. To the things that God has placed within their hands and through our Lord Jesus Christ, He has shown us the way.
Now we don’t have any corner on these truths. This isn’t our doing. This isn’t our teaching. This is Jesus Christ’s teaching. And you know, I oft-times feel so happy about this because I don’t have anything to defend. I don’t have anything to say, ‘Well now, this is so because, because, because, because ….’ I can just say ‘Well, I’m sorry. If it’s wrong and you think it’s wrong then it must have been the Master that was wrong, not me.’ And you know, that’s the most beautiful way that I can pass the buck. Believe me, it’s the truth. It’s the truth. And you know, this is when we get ourselves out of this way.
But we, right now in this world, need one of those miracles. We need one of those miracles to multiply the loaves and the fishes. Oh, the Earth is abounding with food, great crops, great supply from our Lord’s Earth. But somehow man hasn’t learned how to use it. He hasn’t learned how to divide it up amongst his brothers. He hasn’t learned how to love them and to share with them the things which He has so graciously given.
And I had Father Williamson, Father Chris, announce the feeding station over there in the Fillmore District because there last month we fed over 3,000 meals there to people. And you know it seemed appropriate, the loaves and the fishes. We still don’t know how we manage it but it happens and it works and that’s all we care. There is a Way and a Light and when that Light comes into us we find the multiplication of many things. Many ways, many truths.
So let us, as we go from this time on, to Easter, let us look forward and to pray for that miracle that may bring man together in this reality of Jesus Christ and its Light. That it may be revealed and it may be brought into the consciousness of all men. Not that they will be brought into this Order or come to believe it just as we do but into the Light and the Consciousness of Jesus Christ. It doesn’t make any difference to me whether they ever see us or not. That doesn’t make any difference. It’s whether it happens or not. And this is the important thing: That all shall come together with one purpose. And that isn’t my purpose. That isn’t your purpose. That’s God’s purpose, Jesus Christ’s; the same as Buddha and Mohammed and so forth had a special mission, this is Jesus’ mission, the Lord of this Earth. This is his mission.
And I suppose in some far off day there will be another, or there may be another come right soon, which I believe is coming. But I will not prophesy as to the date or the how or the who as to his appearance. But it may be any form; this still won’t matter. The only thing that matters is that it does the job and brings all men together to share in the glories, in the bounty of this Earth which our Father has prepared for us.
Let us look forward, now, not to the sadness because in the preparation of the crucifixion and the entombment and the resurrection there is a beauty and a joy here too because it was accomplished.
In the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit, so let it be with us.