Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. 1 Cor. 15:58


Friday, June 8, 2012

John 6 (day 354)

Blogging Through the Book of John

Chapter 6

(John 6:1-2)After this, Jesus crossed over to the far side of the Sea of Galilee, also known as the Sea of Tiberias.  A huge crowd kept following him wherever he went, because they saw his miraculous signs as he healed the sick.

Here's our scene: The news about Jesus kept spreading and people came from far and wide to see him. Unfortunately, a lot of these people didn't come because they believed he was the Messiah. They came because he healed people. When they people were desperate for help, they searched out God.

People haven't changed that much in 2000 years. Sometimes we forget about Jesus, until we need him. Then we 'use' him like a magical genie to solve our problems. That's not how Jesus' grace is intended to be used. YES, we are supposed to pray in bad situations. We are supposed to rely on him, but we also have to talk to him on our good days; when we are happy. A good praying relationship is essential in our relationship with Jesus. Don't just put him in a genie lamp and pull him out when you need a 'wish granted'.

(John 6:3-6)Then Jesus climbed a hill and sat down with his disciples around him.  (It was nearly time for the Jewish Passover celebration.) Jesus soon saw a huge crowd of people coming to look for him. Turning to Philip, he asked, “Where can we buy bread to feed all these people?”  He was testing Philip, for he already knew what he was going to do.

Jesus asked Philip this question because Philip was from that neck of the woods. If anyone would know where to get enough food to feed all of those people, it would be Philip (humanly speaking of course). Jesus knew exactly what he was going to do, but he needed the disciples to realize that a miracle was actually occurring.

(John 6:7-9) Philip replied, “Even if we worked for months, we wouldn’t have enough money to feed them!”
 Then Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up. “There’s a young boy here with five barley loaves and two fish. But what good is that with this huge crowd?”

We ask the same question, just in different circumstances. "I have a little talent, Lord, but what good will that do in the sea of others?"

"I have a little money to give, but what good would it do in this big crowd of other givers?"

"I want to help others, Lord, but there are so many. Where do I start?"

(John 6:10-11) “Tell everyone to sit down,” Jesus said. So they all sat down on the grassy slopes. (The men alone numbered about 5,000.)  Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks to God, and distributed them to the people. Afterward he did the same with the fish. And they all ate as much as they wanted.

5,000 plus people sat down to eat with Jesus and his disciples. All they had was little bread and fish. Jesus blessed the food, and they all ate at much as they wanted.

At my house, a lot of us have tummy troubles. Lots of foods hurt our stomachs. When we pray over a meal, one of the things we pray about is 'Please don't let it hurt our tummies.' It has actually helped in the amount of tummy upset we have.

What do you pray for when you eat? Do you pray over your food? What about when others are around? Do you still pray?

(John 6:12-15) After everyone was full, Jesus told his disciples, “Now gather the leftovers, so that nothing is wasted.”  So they picked up the pieces and filled twelve baskets with scraps left by the people who had eaten from the five barley loaves.
 When the people saw him[b] do this miraculous sign, they exclaimed, “Surely, he is the Prophet we have been expecting!” When Jesus saw that they were ready to force him to be their king, he slipped away into the hills by himself.

The people expected Jesus to be a political leader. They had no idea his purpose was much more than that.

He wanted the disciples to save the food so nothing is wasted. I need to do this more at my house. We throw away way too much food. We would save a lot of food (and money) if we did more leftover.

(John 6:16-21)That evening Jesus’ disciples went down to the shore to wait for him.  But as darkness fell and Jesus still hadn’t come back, they got into the boat and headed across the lake toward Capernaum.  Soon a gale swept down upon them, and the sea grew very rough. They had rowed three or four miles when suddenly they saw Jesus walking on the water toward the boat. They were terrified,  but he called out to them, “Don’t be afraid. I am here!”  Then they were eager to let him in the boat, and immediately they arrived at their destination!

I had to look this up: The Sea of Galilee is 650 feet below sea level, 150 feet deep, and surrounded by hills. It has sudden windstorms which cause extremely high waves.

*Side note: I VERY MUCH DISLIKE deep water. If it's over 20 feet (if I'm in the boat) I don't like it. At all. The deepest I've ever been was almost 100 feet and I don't like it. It makes my legs woozy. And that's with the latest technology to let me know what's under me (which can be good and bad). I can't imagine being out 3-4 miles away from shore, in 150 feet of water, in a storm! I would have been scared to death!

Apparently the disciples were too. They were professional fisherman (most of them) and they were scared. I would have been terrified.

With the waves tossing them and crashing them from all sides, they looked out and saw something walking on the water. It's no wonder they were terrified.

Then Jesus said something that I bolded because it fits both their situation and ANYTHING we are going through: "Don't be afraid. I am here!"

Whatever it is you're scared of, don't be. "I am here," says Jesus.

(John 6:22-25) The next day the crowd that had stayed on the far shore saw that the disciples had taken the only boat, and they realized Jesus had not gone with them.Several boats from Tiberias landed near the place where the Lord had blessed the bread and the people had eaten.  So when the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into the boats and went across to Capernaum to look for him.  They found him on the other side of the lake and asked, “Rabbi, when did you get here?”

What they were really asking was, "HOW did you do it?" Remember, there was only ONE boat and they knew the disciples took it sans Jesus. They had no idea how he made it to the other side. I dare say they never imagined he walked there.

(John 6:26-27) Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, you want to be with me because I fed you, not because you understood the miraculous signs.  But don’t be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man can give you. For God the Father has given me the seal of his approval.”

To say that Jesus doesn't understand human nature would be a great mistake. He DOES understand it. He knew exactly why people were following him. It's like when people become rich all of a sudden and the 'friends' come out of the woodwork. These people only followed Jesus because they needed something from him. Don't fall in step with them! Don't go to Jesus just because you need something. Talk to him other times too.

(John 6:28-29)They replied, “We want to perform God’s works, too. What should we do?”
29 Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.”

God has made our role in the world very easy, but we make it so hard. The only thing we have to do to perform God's works is to 'Believe in Jesus (the one he as sent).' That's it.

So, if *that'* all you have to do, why do good works after you are saved? Because you are the only Bible some will ever read. If you act  like you did before you were saved, they won't see a reason to be changed. You have to show change (positive change) for others to question what happened, and how can they get it.

Will you trip up sometimes? Of course! You're are human. But thankfully, we can ask Jesus for forgiveness and move forward.

(John 6:30-33) They answered, “Show us a miraculous sign if you want us to believe in you. What can you do? 31 After all, our ancestors ate manna while they journeyed through the wilderness! The Scriptures say, ‘Moses gave them bread from heaven to eat.’[g]
32 Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, Moses didn’t give you bread from heaven. My Father did. And now he offers you the true bread from heaven. 33 The true bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

After everything Jesus had done, the people still asked for a sign. Their reason was that even Moses gave them food (like Jesus had).

Jesus gave them the truth real quick. He told them it wasn't Moses who gave them the food. Moses was just a man. Instead, it was God who gave them the food.

He told them that God was offering them a different kind of food-- Him-- to give them life. But they had to accept it.

(John 6:34-40) “Sir,” they said, “give us that bread every day.”
Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. But you haven’t believed in me even though you have seen me. However, those the Father has given me will come to me, and I will never reject them. For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do my own will. And this is the will of God, that I should not lose even one of all those he has given me, but that I should raise them up at the last day.  For it is my Father’s will that all who see his Son and believe in him should have eternal life. I will raise them up at the last day.”

Like the woman at the well, they didn't understand this. The woman wanted water every day; these people wanted food every day.

The food he was talking about was-- Him. Eternal life for believing in him. A life in Heaven with him and his father.

It is God's will that no one goes to Hell. Like any parent, he wants all of his kids home. But it's not up to God, it's up to us all to accept him and be saved. He's given us that choice.

(John 6:41-42)Then the people[h] began to murmur in disagreement because he had said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 42 They said, “Isn’t this Jesus, the son of Joseph? We know his father and mother. How can he say, ‘I came down from heaven’?”

This is what made the people start question his sanity and claims. This was Jesus, little Jesus. The carpenter's son. They knew him, grew up with him. They probably remembered when Mary brought him back from Bethlehem. There was no way he came from Heaven! Obviously, in their mind, he'd lost it.

(John 6:43-51)But Jesus replied, “Stop complaining about what I said.  For no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them to me, and at the last day I will raise them up. As it is written in the Scriptures\‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me. (Not that anyone has ever seen the Father; only I, who was sent from God, have seen him.)
 “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes has eternal life. Yes, I am the bread of life!  Your ancestors ate manna in the wilderness, but they all died. Anyone who eats the bread from heaven, however, will never die.  I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever; and this bread, which I will offer so the world may live, is my flesh.”

Jesus told them to stop complaining about the 'small' things. Not to take all of their faith away because they couldn't understand one part. We won't understand everything, and that's ok.

We just have to believe that Jesus is our living bread. That he came to save us. And that he is our only way to Heaven.

To the people around him, this kept getting weirder and weirder. This man was talking about eating... his flesh to live forever. This didn't appeal to the people (nor does it me to be honest... there are enough 'cannable' 'zombie' stories in the news now--)

So, while they were going 'ewwwww' Jesus explained what he meant.

(John 6:52-59)Then the people began arguing with each other about what he meant. “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” they asked.
 So Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you cannot have eternal life within you.  But anyone who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise that person at the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.  Anyone who eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. I live because of the living Father who sent me; in the same way, anyone who feeds on me will live because of me. I am the true bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will not die as your ancestors did (even though they ate the manna) but will live forever.”
He said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.

Jesus, of course, didn't literally mean to eat his flesh and drink his blood. He meant that accepting Jesus makes him become theirs: that they were united. It means we accept Jesus and become united with him. We do that 2 ways: 1) by believing that he died and came back to save us and 2) by devoting ourselves to him and trusting in the Holy Spirit for power and understanding.

This was hard for the people to grasp. He hadn't died yet, of course, so they had no idea what 'Crazy Jesus' was talking about. Speaking the truth cost Jesus some disciples...

(John 6:60-66) Many of his disciples said, “This is very hard to understand. How can anyone accept it?”
Jesus was aware that his disciples were complaining, so he said to them, “Does this offend you?  Then what will you think if you see the Son of Man ascend to heaven again?  The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.  But some of you do not believe me.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning which ones didn’t believe, and he knew who would betray him.) Then he said, “That is why I said that people can’t come to me unless the Father gives them to me.” At this point many of his disciples turned away and deserted him.

It's sad to think of people who had followed Jesus so completely, turning and leaving him. It happened then, and it happens now.

Jesus said human effort accomplishes nothing. It doesn't get you into Heaven; being saved does. But we've already talked about WHY you should put effort in doing the 'right thing': because non-Christians see you and even though they aren't Christians, they 'know' how one is 'supposed' to act. If they see you going to church on Sunday, but getting drunk, cussing, reading bad books, etc other days, they start to question why anyone needs to be saved. That's not what we want.

(John 6:67-71) Then Jesus turned to the Twelve and asked, “Are you also going to leave?”
 Simon Peter replied, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life. We believe, and we know you are the Holy One of God.”
Then Jesus said, “I chose the twelve of you, but one is a devil.” He was speaking of Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, one of the Twelve, who would later betray him.

Ouch, "I chose the 12 of you, but one is the devil."

Can you imagine the looks they gave each other? The wondering who it was; if it was them! Of course, we know that ultimately, it was Judas who betrayed him.

Thanks for hanging with me on this one. I know it was long, but it had a lot of great verses/lessons in it. I hope you are enjoying this series. I've really learned a lot writing it.

Remember, Saturday and Sunday will be Wordless Weekends. Blogging through John will resume on Monday. Thanks for the prayers, support, and reading this blog :)

Imperfectly Yours,


Other chapters in the John series:
Chapter 5
Chapter 4
Chapter 3
Chapter 2
Chapter 1

Do you have a blog post about any verse in John? Link it HERE

Have a great day :)

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