Feeding the five thousand:
(Read John 6:1-14)
Throughout this chapter, John describes Jesus in a way that reminds us of the Old Testament story about Moses and the exodus. He wants us to see Jesus as the greater saver than Moses. Moses led Israel from Egypt to the promise land. Jesus came to provide the deliverance from sin to whole world. Jesus decided to go away with his disciples for a needed rest. Their destination was the hill country above the Sea of Galilee. There Jesus saw a crowd and he was moved with compassion because they were like sheep without shepherd. This chapter begins with the feeding of the 5000. This happened just before Passover feast. This reminds us of the Old Testament story of Moses and the great exodus. John wants to see a connection between the meal that Jesus provided to the crowd and the salvation of Israel in exodus. He is the bread of life. Bread represents life. Jesus made this claim to show that He is the only one who can satisfy our spiritual hunger. Also Jesus used this incident to prove His deity. This happened at the peak of Christ’s popularity. The people wanted to make Jesus their king. Jesus said to Philip "Where are we to buy bread , so that these people may eat?" Jesus asked this question to test his faith. The Lord knew what he would do. Philip claims that 200 days of wage would not be enough to feed this crowd. Andrew found a lad with five loaves and two fishes. Andrew always brought someone to Christ. The boy gave all he had to Christ. Nothing is mentioned about the boy except that he gave all he had to Jesus. Jesus gave thanks and fed the five thousand. Like the lamp that was sacrificed to save lives at Passover, Jesus himself became the Passover meal to save lives (1 Cor 5:7). He wants to use us to satisfy the spiritual needs of many. By giving thanks for food, Christ acknowledges that God is the source of all blessings (James 1:17). Only Jesus can satisfy our spiritual hunger. Jesus told his disciples to gather the left over and there were twelve baskets full of bread. Jesus said "Let nothing be wasted". Nothing is wasted if you give to God. Christians should have compassion on people who are in need. Are you willing to give yourself to Christ so that he can use you for his glory?
Walking on the water:
(Read John 6:15-21)
The people said, “Surely Jesus is the prophet whom we are expecting” (Deut 18:15-18). But He withdrew to a mountain to be alone. Only the fellowship with the Father could satisfy Jesus. His kingdom was not of this world (John 18:16). Material comfort and security were the reasons why they wanted to make Jesus their king. It is so easy for men to seek Christ for the wrong reason. Jesus asked the disciples to go to the other shore of the Sea of Galilee. They were hindered by darkness and severe storm. Sometimes God will allow storms in our life to test our faith. Without His permission and purpose, nothing happens in our lives. Trials are common to all people. God is faithful, He will not tempt us beyond what we are able to endure and provides a way of escape (1 Cor 10:13). Jesus is able to deliver us from storm of life. God brought Israel to safety at the Red Sea. Similarly Jesus rescued the disciples from danger. Disciples saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming towards their boat. They were frightened. Jesus said to them “It is I, do not afraid". Jesus is ever present help in trouble. Jesus who met the need of five thousand now met the need of twelve disciples. Immediately the sea became calm and the boat was at the other side of the lake. Thus Jesus demonstrated his deity. He is equal with the very God of Israel. Do you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior?
Jesus is the Supreme Teacher:
(Read John 6:22-40)
Though Jesus did many miracles and they were meant to teach divine truths about Him. The phrase "Truly I tell you" is used more than 100 times in the gospel account. Jesus alone claimed such authority. Someone suggested that at least 45 times Jesus is called, teacher in the gospel account. He seized the opportunities to teach individuals and large crowds. People recognized Jesus as a different kind of teacher from scribes. He taught them with authority (Matt 7:28, 29). His words were gracious words (Luke 4:22). Never a man spoke like Him (John 7:46). His teaching transformed lives and shaped the course of history. We are commissioned to teach and make disciples of all nations (Matt 28:19, 20). In Him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge ( Col 2:3). He knows our motives and desires. When people sought Jesus, He said to them "Do not seek me for the food that perishes but for the food that endures to eternal life". God provided manna for Israel in the wilderness. Jesus said "I am the bread of life" (6:35). Only He could ultimately satisfy us. This is the first of the seven "I am" statements that Jesus made about himself. It is a reference to his deity (Ex 3:14). People wanted to know what they must do to receive eternal life. Jesus said, "The work of God is that you believe in Him whom Father has sent”(6:29). We can't earn God's acceptance with our good works. Jesus' sacrificial death on the cross is the basis of our salvation. Jews demanded Jesus to perform a miracle that was greater than Moses did. Jesus said "He is the living bread sent by the Father to give life to the world. Those who ate manna perished but those who believe in Him will have eternal life". The miracles can be misleading. Christ identified Himself as the bread of life. Those who believe in Him will be spiritually satisfied. Jesus said, “All those the Father gives me will come to me and I will never reject them" (6:37). This verse describes God's sovereignty and human responsibility in salvation. Believers are Father's gift to His Son. Seeing is not believing. God uses the hearing of the gospel to save sinners. Jesus said "Whoever comes to me, I will never turn away" (6:37).
Many Disciples turn away:
(Read John 6:41-71)
Jesus said, “I am the bread that comes down from heaven” (6:41). The Jews murmured at this unusual claim of Christ because they knew His heritage. He gave enough proof of his divine authority through his sinless life, miracles, his teaching and by claiming equality with God. Yet they did not believe. Jesus said "Unless Father draws, no one can come to me". Jesus said, “I am the bread of life” (6:48). Moses gave them Manna to meet their physical need. Christ is the bread of life who gives eternal life. To reject the Son is to reject the Father. Jesus said "Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you" (6:53). Jews were offended at His teaching because they misunderstood the message. The gospel is offensive to many because it reveals our sin and inability to save ourselves. Those who trust in their cleverness and ability for salvation resist God's grace. He did not intend them to eat His flesh or drink His blood. He was using physical things to teach spiritual truth. He is the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. He shed his blood on the cross to cleanse our sins. Here eating and drinking simply means identifying with what Christ has done for us. Eating means to trust Christ and his promises. His flesh clearly refers to His vicarious death on the cross. The word Jesus spoke was spirit and life. Only the Holy Spirit can give life. But unbelief prevented them from coming to Christ. They no longer followed Him. Christ now turned to the twelve disciples and asked " Do you also want to go away"? Simon Peter answered “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have believed and know you are the Holy One of God” (6:68, 69). Assurance comes when we know that we are saved by grace, bound to God by eternal love, and kept by the power of God (Ephesians 2:8-9; Rom 8:38-39; John 10:27-29). Even our faith is a work of God's grace. We are predestined to be conformed to Jesus Christ. We are sealed by the Holy Spirit for our inheritance (Phil 1:4-6; Rom 8:29-30; Ephesians 1:13-14). The Lord knows his own (6:70; 2 Tim 2:19). Jesus spoke of Judas Iscariot who was going to betray Him. Do not allow discouragement to take your focus off Jesus. Do you know Christ as your Lord and Savior? Do you have the assurance of salvation?