Jesus picks up the pace of his ministry regardless of the growing opposition of the Pharisees, the departure of some of his disciples and the spectre of the cross that awaits him at Calvary.
The 6th chapter of the Gospel of John calls attention to the authority of Jesus as Messiah, Christ and Lord. In the first 59 verses, he feeds more than 5,000 people, walks on water and declares he is the “bread of life.”
He gives short, yet specific, instructions. For example, seeing the thousands of people following him up the mountainside, Jesus asks Philip a simple question: “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” (John 6:5, New International Version)
We cannot tell if Philip was caught off-guard by the question, but he provides the Lord with a logical answer: “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” (John 6:7)
Using Internet resources and a calculator, I figured the disciples would need the modern-day equivalent of $32,000 to purchase enough food to adequately feed the 5,000 men plus the women and children. Thankfully, Andrew (Simon Peter’s brother) speaks up and says there is a boy with five loaves of bread and two fish.
Jesus takes command of the situation in verse 10. He instructs the people to sit down, blesses the loaves and the fish, and then instructs his disciples to distribute the food. (If you want further details about this miracle, you should read Matthew 14:13-21, Mark 6:30-45 and Luke 9:10-17.)
Sensing the crowd is ready to corral him and make him the king of Israel, Jesus withdraws to a solitary place in the mountains. Despite all of his activity in chapter 6, it is noteworthy to read in verses 15-17 that Jesus was still in solitude when the disciples attempted their fateful journey across the Sea of Galilee at night.
The sea is 8.1 miles or 13 kilometers wide. The disciples were in the middle of the sea as their Master approached them walking on the water. It serves as further evidence of his ability to control the environment.
Meanwhile, the people have figured out that Jesus and his disciples have crossed the sea to Capernaum. Once they find him, the crowd is greeted with these words: “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. 27 Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.” (John 6:26-27)
Now the Jews had spent thousands of years believing that they must do good works to earn God’s favor and approval. But Jesus provides a simple, but hard to accept answer: “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” (John 6:28)
Jesus goes on to explain that it wasn’t Moses who supplied the manna in the desert. It was God. When the people ask to always receive God’s bread, Jesus declares “I am the bread of life.” He then goes on to explain the unbreakable link between the Father and the Son of God.
By verse 48 of John 6, the people start grumbling because they cannot accept the possibility that Jesus, the son of Joseph the carpenter and Mary, is one with God. They reach their proverbial breakpoint once Jesus starts talking about the bread being his flesh (verse 51) and drinks his blood (verse 53).
It should come as no surprise that many in the crowd walked away after Jesus finished speaking, but it is unfortunate that those who traveled with the Messiah, saw him feed over 5,000 people and walk on water also deserted him.
It is left to Simon Peter to explain why he and 11 other disciples refuse to leave Jesus: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.” (John 6:68-69)
Read the 6th chapter of the Gospel of John.
You could also read Matthew 14:13-21, Mark 6:30-45 and Luke 9:10-17.
In preparation for the 21-minute period you’ll spend listening to God, meditate on the following ideas and concepts:
- Jesus and God ultimately provide consumable food and spiritual food.
- The feeding of the people and the walking on water serve as further proof of Jesus’ divine abilities to meet the needs of people.
- Jesus connects himself to an important commodity in his and any generation – bread.
- There will be people whose capacity to believe has been muted by the world.
- Jesus confirms his relationship with God the father.
Go to a place of solitude and just listen for 21 minutes. If you are struggling to be still and wait upon the Lord, then review the five meditation points noted above.
After you are done listening, pray for what God has revealed to you through the power of the Holy Spirit and what you learned from reading the 6th chapter of John.
Since one of our goals in the 21-day challenge is to reach out and spend time with people who don’t know Jesus Christ as Lord, you should pray for the people that you have met or will meet during this journey of faith.
What did I do on day #6 to ‘Be the Message’?
Sundays are often anything but routine. Our former youth minister and his wife were in town, worshiped with us and others and then we gathered at local restaurant to catch up and reminisce. One of the beauties of being a Christian is you can maintain or renew relationships at any time. God has brought us together and, through Christ, we can spend all of eternity together.
I hope, like Simon Peter, you not only witness the power of the risen Savior but also remain firm in your faith.