John 6:14-21

Sunday Morning Bible Study

October 15, 1995

Introduction

Jesus has just done an incredible thing, feeding a huge multitude, at least five thousand men, not to mention the women and children.

And He did it all with five small loaves, and two small fish.

Now that's learning to stretch what's left in the pantry!

:14-15 Jesus avoids kingship

:14 that prophet

Moses wrote:

Deuteronomy 18:15-AV The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken;

The ancient Jews understood this to be a reference to the Messiah.

These people have got the right idea, but they're going to go about it the wrong way.

:15 take him by force, to make him a king

They've heard about Jesus healing people.

They've seen Him feed five thousand men with just a few loaves and fish.

That's enough for them.

Let's make Him king!

:15 he departed again into a mountain

Why would anybody pass up such an opportunity?

Why didn't Jesus just go with them to be their king?

They wanted Him to be king for the wrong reasons.

They saw that He had power to heal them.

John 6 2 And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased.

They found it pretty cool that if you followed Jesus, you'd get a free lunch.

John 6 26 Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.

They were more interested in having their stomachs full than to stop and think what these miracles meant that Jesus was doing.

They couldn't care less that He was the Son of God.

They didn't have a clue yet as to His real reason for coming.

Lesson:

Why are you following Jesus?

You may have come to Jesus for many reasons:

You may be coming to find out more about Jesus because you've heard that people are physically healed by Jesus.

You may be coming to Jesus because you've heard that He takes care of all the needs of those who believe in Him.

You may be coming to Jesus because you have heard people tell about how Jesus can heal their broken hearts.

But I'm telling you today, those aren't the main reason that Jesus wants you to come to Him.

If all you come to Him for is those things, you've settled for only the peripheral things, and not the heart of the matter.

If you're following for the wrong reasons, you might find that Jesus has left you standing there alone.

Why did Jesus come?

John 12:27-AV Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.

2Corinthians 5:18-21 NAS Now all [these] things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were entreating through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 He made Him who knew no sin [to be] sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

He came with a special mission in mind, to make the way for men to once again have fellowship with God by paying the price for our sins.

 

Lesson:

Our way of doing things isn't always God's way.

If I were one of these people following Jesus, I must admit that I'd want to do everything I could to put this guy on the throne.

Just imagine! Free food! No more sickness!

Jesus had the same goal as the people, to be king.

But Jesus' methods were a little different than the peoples.

He didn't come just to fill people's bellies.

But Jesus came with the specific method of going to the cross and dying for the sins of the world.

He came to remove the very thing that keeps us from knowing God and living with Him for eternity.

He came to pay for our sins by dying on the cross.

In our lives, sometimes we think that the quick, direct approach is the best one.

But sometimes God wants to do it a different way.

Application:

I can think that if I'm called to some kind of full time ministry, that all I need to do is go take a few classes in school, and "bing", I'm in ministry.

But I think that God wants to do more than just educate a few brain cells.

God doesn't make people in ministry the way we think it ought to happen.

We'd like to take people and force them into the mold. But God has another way.

God wants to teach us things like character.

That can only be done by putting us through many trials.

That's why Paul says:

Romans 5:3-4 NAS ... we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; 4 and perseverance, proven character ...

God wants to teach us things like how to pray.

And that only comes by praying.

Reading books and taking classes is fine, but the real learning is done by doing it.

What kind of a man does God use? God uses a man of prayer.

God wants to teach us things like total dependance upon Him.

And that sometimes can't be taught until He takes away everything else we depend upon.

To the man who depended on his money, Jesus said:

Mark 10:21-AV ...One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.

God wants to teach us things like servanthood.

And that only comes by learning to lay aside our fancy clothes and getting on our knees and washing feet.

After having washed His own disciples' feet, Jesus said:

John 13:13-17 AV Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for [so] I am. 14 If I then, [your] Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. 16 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. 17 If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.

Summary:

Our way of doing things isn't always God's way.

:15 into a mountain himself alone

Matthew tells us what Jesus was doing on that mountain alone.

He was praying.

Matthew 14:23-AV ...he went up into a mountain apart to pray...

After having an exhausting day of ministry, Jesus went off to be alone and pray.

When I'm tired and wiped out after a long day, if I can't go to sleep, I read a magazine or play on my computer.

I think I have quite a ways to go in my own walk.

He also was watching.

Mark records that from where He was praying, Jesus could see the disciples out in the boat.

Mark 6:47-48 AV And when even was come, the ship was in the midst of the sea, and he alone on the land. 48 And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them: ...

Keep in mind, as we're going to see the disciples struggling in the boat, Jesus is watching.

Lesson:

Jesus sees. He understands.

He knows what you're going through.

He's not unaware of your situation.

You might feel like you've been forgotten while waiting on "hold", but you're not.

Hebrews 4:15-16 AV For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as [we are, yet] without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Jesus even knows what it feels like being all alone.

Remember what He cried on the cross?

"My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?"

Illustration:

Her little girl was late arriving home from school, so the mother began to scold her:

"Why are you so late?"

"I had to help another girl. She was in trouble."

"What did you do to help her?"

"Oh, I sat down and helped her cry."

 

-- Anonymous from Forbes Magazine, July 17, 1995, p. 344.

:16-21 Walking on water

:16 even was now come

King James for, "evening had come"

:16 his disciples went down unto the sea

Matthew tells us a little more about what happened:

Matthew 14:22-23 AV And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away. 23 And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.

Jesus had actually sent the disciples off in a boat, then He sent the people away by Himself.

:17 toward Capernaum

Capernaum was kind of the "home base" for Jesus during most of His ministry.

Capernaum is on the north west coast of the Sea of Galilee.

It is about 4 1/2 miles west of Bethsaida, and about 7 1/2 miles north of Tiberias.

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:17 Jesus was not come to them

Probably what happened was -

Jesus had ordered the disciples to go on without Him.

They had got into the boat.

When it got dark, and Jesus hadn't arrived yet, they finally cast off, setting sail for Capernaum.

:18 the sea arose by reason of a great wind that blew

Matthew again tells us:

Matthew 14:24-AV But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary.

Not only are the guys being tossed around by the storm, but they're rowing against the wind too.

The west wind, which often picks up at evening, caught them in the open water.

The Sea of Galilee is notable for its sudden and severe storms.

:19 five and twenty or thirty furlongs

Literally, 25 or 30 stadia

Stadia (stadium) - A Greek measure of distance, equal to 600 feet.

Or, three or three and a half miles.

In other words, they're about 3/4 of the way to Capernaum

:19 ... they see Jesus

Matthew tells us:

Matthew 14:25-AV And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.

The night was divided into four watches, and the last, the fourth was from 3:00 a.m. until 6:00 a.m.

The men were out in the sea all night, and at the end of the night, Jesus will show up.

Why did Jesus wait so long before showing up?

I'm not sure it was anything like a punishment for the guys because He was waiting for them to pray or something.

You can't take this as some kind of picture of what it's like when we go out on our own and leave Jesus back on the shore, though it's a lot like this.

Remember, Matthew told us that it was Jesus Himself that sent the guys out into the sea in the boat.

Lesson:

Sometimes we just have to keep rowing.

Maybe there's just going to be times when we have to learn to keep at the task, even all night if we have to.

Sometimes we just don't understand our circumstances, but we know we have to keep going, we have to keep rowing.

Psalms 42:1-5 AV <<To the chief Musician, Maschil, for the sons of Korah.>> As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. 2 My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God? 3 My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where [is] thy God? 4 When I remember these [things], I pour out my soul in me: for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday. 5 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and [why] art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him [for] the help of his countenance.

Psalms 30:5-AV ... weeping may endure for a night, but joy [cometh] in the morning.

Galatians 6:9-AV And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

Illustration:

Two frogs fell into a can of cream

-- or so I've heard it told

The sides of the can were shiny and steep,

The cream was deep and cold,

"Oh, what's the use?" said No. 1,

"tis fate -- no help's around --

Good-bye, my friend! Good-bye, sad world!"

And weep still, he drowned.

But No. 2 of sterner stuff,

dog paddled in surprise,

The while he wiped his creamy face

and dried his creamy eyes.

"I'll swim awhile, at least," he said

-- or so it has been said --

"It wouldn't really help the world

if one more frog was dead."

An hour or two he kicked and swam --

not once he stopped to mutter,

But kicked and swam, and swam and

kicked, then hopped out, via butter.

Illustration:

A page from John Wesley's Diary reads as follows:

Sunday morning, May 5, preached in St. Ann's, was asked not to come back anymore.

Sunday p.m., May 5, preached at St. John's, deacons said, "Get out and stay out."

Sunday a.m., May 12, preached at St. Jude's, can't go back there either.

Sunday p.m., May 12, preached at St. George's, kicked out again.

Sunday a.m., May 19, preached at St. somebody else's, deacons called special meeting and said I couldn't return.

Sunday p.m., May 19, preached on the street, kicked off the street.

Sunday a.m., May 26, preached in meadow, chased out of meadow as a bull was turned loose during the services.

Sunday a.m., June 2, preached out at the edge of town, kicked off the highway.

Sunday p.m., June 2, afternoon service, preached in a pasture, 10,000 people came to hear me.

:19 walking on the sea

Was Jesus really walking on water?

Of course.

What do you expect from God?

Note: The very things that we struggle with and that hold us back, it's those things that Jesus can just walk right over.

Our biggest trials aren't a big problem to Him.

Lesson:

We have an awesome God

Your problems won't look so overwhelming once you get a fresh look at how BIG God is.

Isaiah 40:12-15 NAS Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, And marked off the heavens by the span, And calculated the dust of the earth by the measure, And weighed the mountains in a balance, And the hills in a pair of scales? 13 Who has directed the Spirit of the LORD, Or as His counselor has informed Him? 14 With whom did He consult and [who] gave Him understanding? And [who] taught Him in the path of justice and taught Him knowledge, And informed Him of the way of understanding? 15 Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, And are regarded as a speck of dust on the scales; Behold, He lifts up the islands like fine dust.

Isaiah 40:21-31 NAS Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been declared to you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? 22 It is He who sits above the vault of the earth, And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in. 23 He [it is] who reduces rulers to nothing, Who makes the judges of the earth meaningless. 24 Scarcely have they been planted, Scarcely have they been sown, Scarcely has their stock taken root in the earth, But He merely blows on them, and they wither, And the storm carries them away like stubble. 25 "To whom then will you liken Me That I should be [his] equal?" says the Holy One. 26 Lift up your eyes on high And see who has created these [stars,] The One who leads forth their host by number, He calls them all by name; Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of [His] power Not one [of them] is missing. 27 Why do you say, O Jacob, and assert, O Israel, "My way is hidden from the LORD, And the justice due me escapes the notice of my God"? 28 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth Does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. 29 He gives strength to the weary, And to [him who] lacks might He increases power. 30 Though youths grow weary and tired, And vigorous young men stumble badly, 31 Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up [with] wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.

Hey, what's one more bill to the Lord?

:19 they were afraid

NAS on Matthew's account:

Matthew 14:26-NAS And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were frightened, saying, "It is a ghost!" And they cried out for fear.

This is an incredible thing they're seeing.

:20 It is I; be not afraid

There is another way of expressing what Jesus is saying,

Literally, He says, "I am".

There's a whole lot to that...

Sometimes when Jesus shows up to help us, instead of being grateful, we're terrified.

Yes, Jesus may be wanting to make some changes in your life, like cleaning the house up a bit.

But there's nothing to be afraid of.

:21 they willingly received him into the ship

When they realize it's their Jesus, they let Him on board.

thelo - to will, have in mind, intend

So often, we've seen several times in the gospel of John that one of the biggest issues that keeps man from God is the "will".

Man wants to be "self-willed", and doesn't like to think that he needs to give up control of his life to God.

We saw several weeks ago:

John 5:40-AV And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.

Philosophy is fine to discuss. And sometimes people have real, legitimate questions they need answered.

But don't hide behind it when the real issue is that you just don't want to give yourself up to God.

lambano - to take; to admit, receive; to receive a person, give him access to one's self

John 1:11-12 AV He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name:

We have such a great illustration of this concept in our verse.

To "receive" Jesus means to let Him come into your boat.

You've been the captain of your own boat for quite a while.

Now Jesus wants to come on board and take over.

Matthew gives us another flavor for this event:

Matthew 14:33-AV Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.

:21 immediately the ship was at the land whither they went

eutheos (from 2117, euthus straight, level) - straightway, immediately, forthwith

They were instantly at Capernaum.

They suddenly found the shortest route to where they were going.

Lessons:

1. Just get Jesus into the boat!

Without Him you can do nothing.

With Him, there are no limits to what can happen.

2. As long as Jesus is in the boat, you're where you're supposed to be!

Hey, as long as He's with us, what are we worried about?

Extra notes:

:17 Jesus was not come to them

Gill - as they expected, and therefore were obliged to set sail and go without him.

Gill kind of gives the idea that the disciples had waited for Jesus awhile on the seashore, but when He hadn't shown up at sunset, they set sail.

The verb tenses also kind of give this indication.

"entered", "it was now dark", and "was not come" are all pluperfect tense.

1. They had entered.

2. It had been dark.

3. Jesus had not arrived.

"went over" is an imperfect tense.

4. They were going over, as a result of the above three conditions.