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Searching for Jesus

John 6:22-24
The next day the crowd that had stayed on the opposite shore of the lake realised that only one boat had been there, and that Jesus had not entered it with his disciples, but that they had gone away alone. Then some boats from Tiberias landed near the place where the people had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks. Once the crowd realised that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into the boats and went to Capernaum in search of Jesus. (NIVUK)

Lots of people were searching for Jesus.  Why?  They had enjoyed a free meal when Jesus fed 5,000 people miraculously from five rolls and two fish (John 6:1-13): they thought if He could do that for them, then they could ask Him to do anything.  They had tried to force Him to be their revolutionary leader (John 6:15), but He refused to be part of their political agenda.

Having sent the disciples across the lake in a boat by themselves, Jesus stayed to pray (Matthew 14:22-24). But shortly before dawn, He joined the boat, miraculously walking on the water (Matthew 14:22-33).  But the people thought He was still on the east side of the lake, so they searched there, until finally they realised He had gone.  And so, like addicts, they were obsessed with finding Him - and searched frantically for Him.  But, why?  They wanted to be free from the Roman occupying forces; they wanted free meals; they were fascinated by His miracle and His teaching made sense.  They wanted Him for what they could get out of Him, but when they realised that He was not going to fulfil their wishes, they wanted Him to be executed (John 19:14-16).

There is no doubt that anybody who amazes us will keep on attracting our attention; especially if we think we can benefit in some way.  Millions who have heard of Jesus admit that He is interesting or fascinating.  But motive is everything. If we think that He is there to fulfil all our desires and to agree with our agendas, then He is not interested.  He has come to save us from ourselves, our sin and our shame.  But if we do not want to be thoroughly rescued (Matthew 23:37), then Jesus will become an embarrassment and eventually we will want Him to move aside so we can enlist others to help in our grander plans.

Jesus is not flattered by the attention of proud, self-seeking people.  He said, " I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." (Luke 5:32), and “… for the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” (Luke 19:10).  As you share the truth about Jesus, do not flatter those who want Jesus to fulfil their plans; but encourage humble and broken people who want to be saved, changed and forgiven.  Some of these are also seeking Him (Acts 17:24-27), and those who seek will find Him (Luke 11:9) and those who want Jesus to reign over them will find that He gives them all that they need (Luke 12:31).  Isaiah 55:6-7 urges everybody to seek Jesus for the right reasons: “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near.  Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts.  Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.”

Almighty God. Thank You that Jesus is King over everything and everybody. I am sorry when I have tried to use Him to please my selfish plans. Please help me to accept that He is the Lord and not me: that He knows what is best and not me. And help me to seek out those people who are seeking Jesus for the right reasons. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams