For five weeks the lectionary journey through the Gospel of Mark is interrupted by a brief sojourn into the sixth chapter of John. The chapter opens with two familiar stories from the synoptic Gospels: the feeding of the multitude (a story so important that it appears six times in the four Gospels) and Jesus walking on the water. Then there are dialogues, first with the crowd and then with “the Jews” (probably better understood as Judean officials) about the meaning of the miracle of the feeding and about Jesus’ true identity.
Have you ever been in a conversation in which it seemed that you and another person were not talking about the same thing even though you were arguing about it strenuously? Something like that is going on in Mark. Jesus and the Pharisees are in conflict with one another but not necessarily about the same things and certainly not on the same terms.
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