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Testing Faith

John 6:1-7

Surrounded by a crowd of over 5,000 in a remote location, Jesus asked Philip how all the people could be fed.  It was a test of Philip's faith; and the prelude to important teaching to the disciples about how Jesus is the essential source of life for those who want eternal life - the Bread of Life (John 6:25-59).  Philip's answer could have expressed faith in Jesus, or focussed on the practical logistics of finding supplies as there were no towns close by; but instead, he calculated the cost per mouthful!

God Multiplies His Grace

John 6:8-11

Andrew had found a little food; but rightly thought it would not feed 5,000 people.  So instead of seeing its value in the hands of Jesus, Andrew thought it was virtually useless.  But Jesus knew otherwise.  He made His disciples seat the crowd on the grass in groups (Mark 6:40); and they obeyed, even though they did not know what would happen next.  Then Jesus said the Jewish prayer of thanksgiving for the food (Christians call this prayer before meals 'grace').

More Than Enough but Nothing Wasted

John 6:12-13

Jesus had just fed 5,000 people from five small bread rolls and two dried fish – the picnic for a boy (John 6:8-9). Jesus had the power to multiply the food so that there was more than enough for everybody.  The twelve trainee apostles had the joyful task of distributing the food, but their work was not yet over; nor was the object lesson Jesus was teaching them.  

Not Deflected From His Purpose

John 6:14-15

It was an amazing miracle.  Feeding 5,000 men, and many other women and children, had shown everybody that Jesus had supernatural power.  Some of the Jewish people identified Him as the 'Prophet' who Moses spoke about (Deuteronomy 18:15-18).  In other words, they recognised that Jesus was on a mission from God, to bring people back to honour God's covenant.  But Jesus knew that their primary interest was not simply to listen to the Word of God: they wanted to make Him fulfil their ambitions, making Him their leader in a public uprising against the Roman occupiers.

Goodbye To Fear

John 6:16-21

After a very busy day feeding the 5,000, the disciples got into a boat for the journey across Lake Galilee to Capernaum.  Jesus had told them to go on ahead of Him, while He climbed further up the mountain to pray.  The boat was only half-way to their destination when it got dark; the wind was so strong that they took down the sail and rowed in the increasingly rough water.  Rowing the heavy boat in such conditions for several miles was very hard work, and they were getting exhausted (Mark 6:45-52).

Searching for Jesus

John 6:22-24

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.

Ambitions: Temporary or Permanent

John 6:25-27

After the miraculous feeding of 5,000 people, the crowd were hungry for more of Jesus.  But when they found Him, Jesus told them the truth about their motives.  They were only seeking Him because of what they could get out of Him!  They were not looking for the divine source of His miraculous power, but were hoping He would keep on providing them with free meals.

What Must We Do To Please God?

John 6:28-29

Human beings are naturally very religious (Acts 17:22-23).  Although many in the Western world claim to be atheists or agnostics, they easily invent idols to worship – possessions, relationships, experiences, ideas and feelings, and themselves.  However most people believe that there must be someone or something bigger than them and that they are accountable (Ecclesiastes 3:11).  

Bread From Heaven

John 6:30-36

The miraculous feeding of a huge crowd, from a boy’s picnic lunch of five small rolls and two little dried fish (John 6:9), seemed like manna in the desert.  When Moses could not feed God's people on their journey from Egypt to the Promised Land, God provided food every day (Exodus 16:1-35).  So, the people thought that Jesus must be a leader like Moses who could give them all they needed.  They wanted Him to do that bread-producing miracle every day.  But Jesus said He was not like Moses (and anyway Moses did not provide the manna, but God).  The most important nourishment they needed was

The Journey to Heaven

John 6:37-40

Jesus had been telling the crowd that He is the Bread of Life, who had come from heaven … He sustains all who believe in Him, and will never reject them (John 6:35-38).  They will be kept strong until heaven calls.  On that last day Jesus Himself will give them new bodies which will last for all eternity (Philippians 3:20-21).