What did I learn about Jesus?
- Jesus uses the phrase “I am…” in John’s gospel to teach important truths about himself.
- I will never be hungry or thirsty if I feed on “the bread of life.”
What did I learn about disciple-making?
- Disciples will sometimes stop following Jesus because of his “hard sayings.”
- When we worry, are afraid, or angry we stop believing in Jesus.
Extended thoughts and observations from Pastor Mark:
Good morning disciple-makers:
Here’s a question for you: which miracle, besides the resurrection, is the only one to appear in all four gospels? Answer? The miraculous feeding of the 5,000. I wonder…why did the gospel writers think that was more significant than, say, the raising of someone from the dead or a spectacular healing or the casting out of demons? There must be a teaching point that Matthew, Mark, Luke and John all felt was critical. What was it?
And with John, since he wrote his gospel perhaps 40 years after the first gospel written (Mark) and since he clearly picked and chose what he wanted to include since he has many stories unique to him (Nicodemus, Pool of Bethesda, raising of Lazarus, etc.)…he obviously intentionally included the feeding of the 5,000 which was NOT unique.
I would urge you to read 1-15…and just pause and answer that question for yourself before continuing with the rest of the chapter or with my thoughts. Why was this miracle essential?
Notice that John uses most of chapter 6 to interpret the miraculous feeding. And here he introduces the first of the “I Am” statements. There are seven of them. Remember, “I Am” is the translation of the divine name of God revealed to Moses on Mt. Sinai: Yahweh. John is very intentional: seven times in John’s gospel Jesus uses the divine name, which is another way of reiterating what John starts with in chapter 1: that Jesus is the divine, eternal Son of God.
What does Jesus mean when he says “I am the Bread of Life?” Isn’t it similar to what he said to the Samaritan woman at the well about being the living water? Only HE can fulfill our deepest hunger. Only he can nourish and sustain us. Do we believe that?
Two more things I notice:
– In verse 1, the crowds are chasing after Jesus because he healed the sick. In 14, they are ready to “forcefully” make him king because he fed them miraculously. Then, by verse 60, “many of the disciples” are complaining that “this is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” And by 66, “many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.” So, WHAT do you think was the hard teaching that turned the crowds from wanting to make him king into those who were abandoning him? And what about you and me? Are we those who are willing to work through the “hard teaching” of Jesus in our lives…or do we turn tail and run when it feels like he stops doing good stuff for us and starts expecting something more of us? In other words, do we run when things get hard following Jesus? God help me to be faithful.
– Last thought…and very important. Notice what the work of God is in verse 29? You ought to memorize this. What is the work of God? To believe in Jesus. The work of God for us is to simply believe. A friend told me yesterday, we ought to install a spiritual smoke alarm in our heads. Every time we worry, get angry or get afraid, it should go off in our brain, screaming to us, “Your ONE job is to believe in Jesus…and if you are anxious, mad or nervous, it’s a sign that you do NOT really believe in me.”
OK…lots to think about. Your turn.