We all know the story about when Jesus performed the miracle of multiplying the loaves and fishes, but there is a more profound aspect of this event which far surpasses the miracles themselves. Unfortunately, this aspect is usually lost or overlooked by those who read or teach about this wonderful work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Let’s pick up the story in John 6:11:
“And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would. When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost. Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten.” (John 6:11-13)
As one can imagine, this miracle had a earth-shattering effect upon those who were partakers of it. So much so that they wanted to make Jesus king:
“Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world. When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.” (John 6:14-15)
Of course, it was not the Father’s will that Jesus would be made their king in a political sense. God had something far greater for them … if they could only believe! Let’s find out what it was, shall we?
That night, the disciples went down into the sea and Jesus walked on the water and met them. When they had received him into the boat, the boat itself was immediately transported to the land that they were rowing to! As great as these two miracles are, they still wane in comparison to the “greater issue” at hand!
The day following, the people came back to the place where Jesus multiplied the loaves and fishes, but they couldn’t find him. So,…
“When the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, neither his disciples, they also took shipping, and came to Capernaum, seeking for Jesus. And had found him on the other side of the sea, they said unto him, Rabbi, when camest thou hither?” (John 6:24-25)
“Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.” (John 6:26)
Do you see already the wicked motivation that they had in following Jesus? They just wanted Jesus to fill their bellies … bless them with healings … satisfy their carnal desires for signs, wonders and miracles! Sound familiar? It should. Many Christians in these last days are doing the same thing! So, in his great mercy and compassion, Jesus tries to encourage them with the truth. He said unto them:
“Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you:” (John 6:27)
How did these future would-be Christians respond?
“Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? (John 6:28)
Yep! There they are … begging Jesus to tell them how they can perform all the signs and wonders that Jesus did! And why? So that they could satisfy all their ungodly lusts without going through Jesus Christ!
“Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” (John 6:29)
Still not getting it, …
“They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? What dost thou work? Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat.” (John 6:30-31)
Do you see them tempting Jesus to perform another miracle?
“Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.” (John 6:32-33)
They just couldn’t understand that the Bread of Life is a person that a true disciple eats in order to fulfill their spiritual hunger … not a thing or a miracle that a person consumes to satisfy their own carnal desires!
“And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger;” (John 6:35)
“For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.” (John 6:38)
You see, those phony disciples wanted the power of God for themselves, so that they might be able to accomplish their own will instead of having to humble themselves in and through the obedience of Christ to do only their Father’s will!
“The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven.” (John 6:41)
“Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves.”
“Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: … and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” (John 6:43, 49-51)
Now this last statement really torqued the hearers out! Because they…
“… strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” (John 6:52)
Jesus went on to say:
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.” (John 6:53)
It’s important at this juncture to point out one important fact:
Though Jesus Christ instituted the symbolic memorial which many Christians observe as the “communion service”, the above scripture of John 6:53 has absolutely nothing to do with the eating of a physical piece of bread or drinking a thimble-full of grape juice! The ceremony we know as “communion” is observed by Christians in a respectful manner as a “remembrance” of Jesus’ death on the cross and his subsequent resurrection. Christians world-wide obey this command as often as the opportunity presents itself. But this ceremony is not the “eating of his flesh” and the “drinking of his blood” referred to in John 6:53! They are two different things: one is symbolic and one is real!
And the real is way more powerful than the symbolic! Read on:
“Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life;” (John 6:54)
“He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.” (John 6:56)
“For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.” (John 6:56)
With this statement, the disciples got really shook up! To them, this sounded like cannibalism!
“Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?” (John 6:60)
“From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.” (John 6:66)
Yep! They just turned around and went back home … one to his job, one to his money, one to his religion, one to his synagogue, one to his traditions, one to his politics, one to his etc … etc … etc! But where they refused to go was to Jesus Christ Himself, the Bread of Life! As Jesus said:
“And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.” (John 5:40)
OK … so, we have reached that point now where we need to find out what it really is to eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood! Because, according to Jesus Christ, if we don’t … then we have no life in us!
Are you starting to realize the “greater issue” here … greater even than the multiplying of some loaves and fishes, walking on water or even the teleportation of a boatload of frightened disciples?
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