Vs. 35, “Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” By this time in Jesus’ ministry, many were flocking to Jesus for all sorts of reasons (miracles, curiosity, perhaps to accuse, etc.) In our chapter today, 5000 men not including women and children came and so Jesus felt compelled to try to at least feed them (vs. 1-15). Yet, Jesus would instruct them to go to the other side of the lake (vs. 16-17). Question: Why? There was a huge opportunity to share God’s love, why would Jesus leave so many? Because Jesus knew the intention of many in the crowd. They did not want a Savior for the right reason. They intended to make Jesus their leader to rebel against the Romans. Jesus leaves and catches up with the disciples as he walks on water (vs. 19). But the crowds are persistent and they catch up with Jesus (vs. 25). Jesus uses this opportunity to speak truthfully about who He is and what their intention was (vs. 25-59). Something I share often, but needs to be said again…Jesus is not impressed with numbers. Speaking the truth about who He was actually made those who were supposed disciples leave Jesus (vs. 66).
Regarding application…Jesus Tests Us. Vs. 6, “He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.” Very few people like to takes tests, but this test that Jesus gave to Philip probably happens far more often than we realize. Philip was looking at this feeding of thousands from a human perspective. It’s impossible. This reminds me of when Luke Skywalker tried to get his x-wing fighter out of the swamps of Yoda’s home. Jesus is in the business of doing miracles and while they may not be as grandiose as multiplying fish and loaves, they happen everyday. Question: What kind of tests is Jesus giving you today? What doubts are stirring in your mind? Let’s strive to pass the test of faith that is before our lives. Don’t worry about tomorrow (Matthew 6), just think of something in your life today that needs to be handed over to Jesus. Pray about it and let’s get an “A” today!
Vs. 8, “He replied: “Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them.” The days are numbering down and Jesus is spending time in His Father’s house. In the beginning of this chapter, we see the woman with two copper coins bring an offering to the temple (vs. 1-4). God looks at the heart of the giver and is honored by such things. Then Jesus gives us some amazing insight about the End Times. The Mayan prophecies though false, do help remind us that there are biblical signs that point towards the end of the earth (at least how we know it). In Jesus’ prophecy we see both the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans some forty years later and also the End Times that are yet to come. So, it certainly can be confusing for us the reader. Be careful of false teachers claiming to the real Savior of the world. Jesus’ exhortation to be ready to defend ourselves speaks of standing up for our faith in an age where Christianity is mocked (vs. 14).
Regarding application…Keep Your Head Up. Vs. 28, “When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” Just yesterday, I exhorted one of my students with this very phrase. The anxieties of this life (vs. 34) certainly can keep us downcast. It’s a reminder that it’s normal not to feel comfortable in this world. If you walk with the Lord…Jesus tell us our family may disown you and people will hate you (vs. 16-17). Yet, do not dismay because there is the most amazing future ahead of us! That is why we read the living Word of God! It reminds us to hear His voice and keep our heads up! I’ll end with something that happened today to me. I went to work out at the local gym (funny how packed it was with all those New Years resolutions). So I got home and realized I couldn’t recall where I left my wallet. I looked everywhere for it and even drove back to the gym to search for it. My head was pretty low and I was frustrated because I had just put about $90 in cash in my wallet a couple of days ago. I got home, went to my bedroom and sat down with my head low. And lo and behold…my wallet had fallen underneath one of the furniture items in my bedroom. A big sigh of relief and a smile came on my face! Then, I turned to God’s word and He reminded me to not let life’s anxieties keep me down, Praise God!
Vs. 7, “As you go, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near.” In our previous chapter, Jesus would remind them the harvest is plentiful and the workers are few. Now we see Jesus take action and send out the twelve apostles (sent out ones) into the kingdom. The Lord would first send them out to the Jews and then to the Gentiles, this was a different calling than Jesus would give to the church in Matthew 28. I’m sure there was much hesitation, but Jesus would remind them that they would be provided all things. In fact, they were not to bring anything with them! It would not be easy, but it would be a ministry of faith. Jesus would exhort them to be both wise and innocent (vs. 16).
Regarding application…Finding Our Life. Vs. 39, “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Jesus is reminding his apostles as well as us that to follow him is going to mean we must die to ourselves. Remember the beatitudes in chapter 5? We are blessed when we go through persecution, we are blessed when we are poor, when we are meek, when we mourn. When we find our lives in Christ, Jesus would tell us don’t be surprised if not only the world hates us…but our own families turn against us. We cannot love our family more than we love God (vs. 37). Once you venture forth into being a young adult, YOU must choose your path. I see the pressures so many of you have to fulfill the dreams of your family and friends. They want you to be a Doctor, Engineer, etc. Brothers and sisters…the life you have belongs to God! Lose YOUR life and God will help you find the life HE has for you!