SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- Jesus does an amazing miracle, feeding thousands of people with a boy's sack lunch. The people are impressed and decide to make Jesus their king, but Jesus removes himself from the situation before they can even attempt to take such action.
- Jesus then does another miracle, walking on water, and then has to confront the crowds about their desires for him.
- The problem is that they wanted to make Jesus a political king, and wanted to do so for selfish reasons. They assumed if Jesus were king he would ensure there was enough food, use his power to conquer the oppressive Roman military, and secure Israel as a dominant world power. But God had in mind something very different. Jesus came to be a spiritual king. He desired followers who were interested in knowing God and having eternal life rather than just having an easy life. Jesus uses an illustration about having to eat his flesh and drink his blood (which could also be a reference to communion) to show the people that they are after worldly things, while he was offering them something much better and more spiritual. The people reject him because they were only concerned with their selfish desires.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- Today we may not want to make Jesus a political king, or demand that he provide us dinner, but it still may be true that we're in this whole Jesus thing for selfish reasons. Jesus offers us forgiveness and eternal life without condemnation. He offers to answer our prayers. There are certainly benefits to following Jesus, but the benefits are not the point. Jesus is. We should want him and want to give our lives to him even if there are no benefits, even if we have to suffer for our faith.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- If you follow Jesus, take some time to reflect on why you follow Jesus. What do you think of as the reward for following Jesus? Is it having Jesus, or is getting what Jesus might give you? Are you willing to follow Jesus with no other benefits than him? Are you willing to suffer for him? Talk to God about all this...