Journeys in Faith

Moses and Jesus
Rev. Tracy Heilman
Thursday, July 19, 2018

Photo by Joan Nye
Rev. Tracy Heilman

Do you know the biblical story of the Exodus?

This important sacred story begins with an act of civil disobedience from two midwives, Shiphrah and Puah, who refuse to carry out the Pharaoh’s order to kill newborn Hebrew babies.

Because of their courage, baby Moses lives. Moses goes on to become the great leader who leads the Hebrew people out of captivity.

Jews living in the time of Jesus would know this epic tale. Every year at Passover, they would celebrate that journey from slavery into freedom, and pray for a new prophet to come to liberate the people from the Roman Empire domination.

Turn now to the Gospel of John, chapter 6, verses 1-21. This gospel tells of Jesus going up the mountain, feeding the 5,000, and walking on water. These three stories invited his hearers to see Jesus as a present-day Moses.

This lesson begins with Jesus going up the mountain. When Moses first goes to the mountain, he encounters the Holy One in a burning bush. The Holy One commands Moses to take off his shoes because he is standing on Holy Ground. We anticipate that a sacred, holy moment is about to occur with Jesus.

When Moses led the people out of bondage, they first had to wander in the wilderness before entering the Promised Land. Learning to live as free people was difficult; at first they couldn’t even find food. God provided them with manna from heaven that sustained them as they wandered.

Jesus, too, is with people who don’t have food to eat. But at least one young boy had learned to share. As he stood on that Holy Ground, he stepped forward with his five loaves of bread and two fish, and an amazing feast began.

As Moses led the Hebrew people from Egypt, he led them to the shores of the Red Sea. With their captors close behind and sea before them, fear filled the people. But nothing stands in the way of our God providing release from captivity. With a mighty wind, God opens the sea, and the Hebrew people are on their way to the Promised Land.

Those who follow Jesus also faced uncertainty and fears. As his disciples set off across the Sea, a big storm blows in. Jesus doesn’t quiet the wind; he doesn’t seek to change or control the world around him. Rather, he moves through it, walking on the water and calling out to his disciples, “Don’t be afraid.”

These stories matter most if they are less about miracles and more about people of faith filled with courage, such as Shiphrah and Puah who defied orders of the powerful in order to save innocent children.

These stories matter most if they are less about miracles and more about people of faith with eyes to see that it is a Holy and Sacred act to give all that we have in order that others might have enough.

These stories matter most if they are less about miracles and more about people of faith willing to follow God through overwhelming obstacles and tumultuous times in order to abide in God’s way of Promise and Peace.

These stories matter most as we come together as people of faith to discern and determine where God is calling us. Let’s bring God’s Sacred Stories of love and abundance and courage alive for this new day. Amen.