Acts 5: 34-42
John 6:1-15


Looking down the long lens of twenty centuries of hindsight today’s readings speak to the politics of Jesus’ life and death.

In the excerpt from the Acts of the Apostles the pharisee, Gamaliel, cautions the Sanhedrin not to summarily brand the apostles as revolutionaries and rabble rousers, and hence condemn them, lest they be on the wrong side of history and fighting against God. A true pragmatist.

And in John’s gospel we see Jesus confronted with a hungry crowd and his despairing disciples not knowing what to do. Having first tested them, Jesus goes on to provide a bountiful abundance for all those who have been his audience.

With a modern view of political powerplay across the centuries, it is not difficult or indeed unreasonable to see Jesus as playing his followers and wooing the crowd with largesse – a time-honoured pork barrelling tradition as old as political practice itself and very much the norm in the Roman world as it is in today’s. In such light, we might cynically dismiss Jesus as just another aspirant power seeker, utilising and manoeuvring his position and talents for self-promotion.

So what makes Jesus and his teachings different to the countless leaders and ideologies of our common humanity throughout the ages? What happens that confirms the truth of our faith in him, that sets aside the cynicism that we might experience in considering him?

Through the unrefracted, undistorted light of faith, the very reality of Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection gives the lie to any doubts or scepticism we might have. In dying for all of us, Jesus resurrects not just himself but also gives us that same hope to be with him in eternal life.

Phil Page  is a member of the St Joseph’s Hobart Parish