Bible Reading: John 6:1-14;
When you sincerely offer to Jesus something that is costly to you, He will always use it for His glory and cause it to multiply. The excitement is not so much in what is multiplied, but the sense that He graciously uses what we offer Him. Can you imagine that excited little boy running home and saying to his Mum, Jesus fed the whole crowd with my loaves and fish? It is amazing that Almighty God chooses to honour us as we honour Him [1 Samuel 2:30].
The response of the crowd to the miracle of the multiplied loaves and fishes was to recognize that Jesus was the Prophet who was to come into world [v.14]. The people remembered that Moses had said that a Prophet would come [Deuteronomy 8:15], and tried to make Him king by force. They had a perception of Jesus but did not have a true spiritual understanding. They were looking for an earthly king who would overthrow the Romans, but Jesus later made it clear that His kingdom is not of this world [see John 8:36]. Aware that this was a dangerous moment, Jesus departed again to the mountain to be alone. He never courted popularity, and He recognised that to do so would have endangered His mission and His purpose for coming to earth.
In contrast to the faith and generosity of the young boy we see the crowd, whose motive was not so much to give but to get. The morning following the feeding of the five thousand, the multitude was looking for Jesus and crossed the Sea of Galilee to look for Him in Capernaum, but they only really followed Jesus for what they could get out of Him. Their motive was basically selfish. Jesus told them that they wanted Him because He fed them, but they did not understand the miraculous signs. They were spending all their energy on perishable things but had no real spiritual hunger. Our motives must be pure. We don’t follow Jesus to become prosperous, gain prestige or simply for our own comfort. True believers follow Jesus simply because they know that He has the truth and His way is the way to life.
We are prone to selfishness. In a recent prayer meeting we were asking the Lord to send the fire of the Holy Spirit. I was reminded of the words of Amy Carmichael, who wrote: “Let me not sink to be a clod; Make me Thy fuel, O flame of God.” As we prayed I found myself asking, “How much do you want it, Michael?” How much is your passion for Jesus, and not just what He can give you or do for you? Let’s seek the pure heart of the young boy who gave his loaves and fish, and guard against the selfishness of the crowd.
What does it mean in practical terms to honour God?
What specific spiritual lessons have you learned from today’s word? Why are our motives in following Jesus so important?
What can we learn from Jesus about avoiding popularity and getting alone with His Father? Why should we always be careful of men’s opinions and of politically correct opinions? How can this be a problem for Christian leaders?