Journey Through The Bible
Old Testament Reading: Isaiah 63-66
New Testament Reading: John 6
Truly I tell you, anyone who believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life (John 6:47-48).
There are two miracles of Jesus that are recorded in all four of the Gospels. One is the resurrection of Jesus, which is quite understandable that all 4 Gospel writers would include it, as the resurrection is central to our Christian faith. The other miracle is the miracle we know as The Feeding of the Five Thousand. It is recorded in Matthew 14, Mark 6, Luke 9, and John 6. Matthew, Mark, and John continue the story with Jesus walking on water that night. John is the only gospel writer to record what happened the next day.
The next morning, when the people realized that Jesus and the disciples were gone, they all came over to the other side of the Sea of Galilee to be with Jesus. However, this time, Jesus was not so compassionate with them. On this day, He says the harshest words He ever said to the multitudes. Throughout His ministry, Jesus was critical and unsympathetic with the Pharisees, Sadducees, and other religious leaders. But with the general population, He was always understanding and compassionate—except for now.
Jesus said to them. Truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate the loaves and were filled. Don’t work for the food that perishes but for the food that lasts for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set his seal of approval on him (John 6: 26-27).
Later He says to them, But as I told you, you’ve seen me, and yet you do not believe (John 6: 36).
Jesus was more than a dispenser of food and medicine. He was their Savior. Certainly, we should be ready to care for the needs of the poor, just as Jesus fed the multitude and healed the sick. But that should not be our goal. Our purpose in caring for the poor is so that we can bring them to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
After all that transpired during the previous 24 hours, it may surprise you to learn in verse 60 it says, Therefore, when many of his disciples heard this, they said, “This teaching is hard. Who can accept it?” Then in verse 66, it says that from that moment many of his disciples turned back and no longer accompanied him.
Jesus had over twelve Disciples. Many followers were being discipled by Jesus. At this point in His ministry, many of His disciples left. They said His teaching was too hard, they could not follow it. They came for the handouts and to be told feel-good stories.
I know that chapter and verse numbers were added to the Bible centuries after they were originally written. But I find it more than coincidence that 666 is the number of man (Rev 13:18) and John chapter 6 verse 66 is about many disciples putting their own interest ahead of God’s and they stopped following Jesus.
Jesus then turned to the twelve and asked, “You don’t want to go away too, do you?” Peter spoke up for the twelve and said, “Lord, to whom will we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God” (John 6: 68-69).
It was finally at this point, after all the events of the past 24 hours, the twelve finally put their faith in Jesus as their Savior and Lord.
There is nothing too big for God to handle. Jesus showed that in the miracles He performed. Our problems are never too large for God to handle. Looking at them, Jesus said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God, because all things are possible with God” (Mark 10:27).
Neither should Christians believe their resources are too little to serve God. Like the little boy’s snack that Jesus used to provide a banquet for thousands, He will use your offerings to minister in ways beyond our imagination. Far too often we focus on what we lack, not enough money, not enough time, our church is too small, etc. instead of focusing on God and His power. God always begins where we are and uses what we have. And that is always enough!
Are you like the multitudes and disciples who turned away? Looking for a handout and a warm fuzzy feeling from a pastor preaching feel-good sermons. Or are you like the twelve in need of a Savior? Willing to make a sacrifice and give what you have to Jesus. Then obediently serving Him and see how His ministry flourishes.
God, through the prophet Isaiah, asked, “Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy?” (Isaiah 55:2).
God still asks that question today. Jesus is the Bread of Life, and only He can satisfy the spiritual hunger in our hearts. Isaiah continued, Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, declares the Lord (Isaiah 55:6-8).
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