My Favourite Stories #19

A Day in the life of Jesus.

We have only parts of 44 days of Jesus’ life recorded in the gospels, of these days there are only two stories that are recorded in all four accounts. One of those stories is the feeding of the 5,000. (Actually, according to John 6:10, 5,000 men, so there were a lot more if you account for women, adolescents, and children.) You know the story so I will not recount it here. But here are some lessons you can take away from the story.

John 6 is an account of one entire day out of the life of Jesus so it must be significant. John’s gospel is mostly original and there is clear evidence that when he wrote his eyewitness account, that he had the other three gospels in front of him and he simply inserted things that he felt were important, that the other accounts had left out.

From the story we can extract the following lessons. When told to feed the crowds by Jesus, Philip looked at the problem and declared it to be impossible. Are we looking at the problems or are we looking to Jesus? Andrew also failed by declaring the resources inadequate. However the little boy looked to Jesus, gave Him what he had (5 Barley loaves and 2 fish) and the job was done.

We can compare this with today’s seemingly impossible task of ‘feeding’ the multitudes with the ‘bread of life’ on inadequate shoe-string resources that the mission field survives on. However, we should note, that the main problem was the messengers themselves. Philip looked at the circumstances instead of looking to Christ. Andrew, in surveying the resources, also leaves out Christ. The little boy looks to Jesus, gave Him what he had, which wasn’t much, and the job was done. 

But the story doesn’t finish there! Jesus leaves! He retreats up a mountain to pray (6:15). The disciples are instructed to get in the boat and go to Capernaum. The night turns dark and a typical strong wind for the sea of Galilee comes up. There are two stories going on here.

Remember, this was the time of the Passover. The time of the crucifixion, the breaking of bread is the bread of life in the ‘other’ story. The multitudes being feed is indicative of the gospel going to the world. Christ ascending on high to pray is His intercession on our behalf in the court room of heaven. Meanwhile the disciples are toiling on the sea just as the church has toiled through the ages against great opposition. The great storm represents the final time of trouble, of which there are warnings all around us. Christ finally comes, in the dead of night, with the waves under his feet. When Jesus gets in the boat, John says, “immediately the boat was at land.” (6:17)

Notice how Jesus uses the Divine title in v20. English translators trying to make sense of the Greek usually translate it as “It is I.” But the Greek is the middle infinitive of the verb to be, literally, “I am.”

This is reinforced by Matthew’s account of the same event. Matthew 14 begins with the execution of John the Baptist by Herod. This left his disciples in despair and brokenness. The road ahead for them seemed dull and dark and they did the only thing that was possible and something we should learn; they went and told Jesus (v12). When life seems hopeless, problems increase, or loneliness seems about to become our perpetual companion, when betrayal leaps from unexpected quarters, or when death is hanging over us, or the mortgage dues are threatening foreclosure, what can we do? Go and tell Jesus! We should always share with Him the good news and the Bad news.

Notice Matthew 14:22ff. When the sea is rough and your boat is tossed to and fro, life becomes a struggle, and fear overwhelms us. But Jesus is always there to help and save. Notice Jesus 3-fold faith saving formula, “Take heart, it is I; have no fear.”(V22). Take note, that between the charge to be courageous and the counsel to fear not, stands the person of Jesus “It is I ” or “I am” in the Greek – the title in the Old Testament for God Almighty. This is the name by which God’s self-disclosure is so often affirmed.

Reflect on vs 34 – 35. This is a new earth glimpse – no sickness – everyone was healed!

Jesus claimed to be the I AM in many ways. With the great I AM by our side, the burning bush does not burn up, the Bread of Life satisfies all our needs, the Light of the World keeps us away from darkness, the Door ensures our entry into the kingdom, the Good Shepherd provides us eternal security and we are grafted into the vine. Then Christ says to us as surely as He did to the disciples on that stormy night on the lake, “Take courage! I AM. Don’t be afraid.”

Walking the path of discipleship without fear requires that the disciple’s eyes be fixed on the I AM. Notice V:29 – even in failure Peter knew where to reach.

John 6:21 declares the work will not finish until Christ gets in the boat! It is the story of the church through ages – problems will always multiply. Our story need not be that of Philip or Andrew.  Be the little child in the story. Life is short, eternity is very long, WHERE WILL YOU FOCUS? On your problems or Jesus.

As your problems multiply consider this snippet from my past of 25 years ago. I was set with troubles. One day I walked to the Robertson cemetery from my house. It had a fantastic view across the valley. As I sat on a raised tomb and contemplated, this thought came to my mind as I looked around me. Where they now are I will soon be and in the light of eternity does it really matter?

No Comments

Post A Comment