From the gospel of John we read,
- “After these things Jesus went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee (or Tiberias). And a great multitude was following Him because they were seeing the signs which He was performing on those who were sick.” (John 6:1-2 – NASB)
The sixth chapter of John is a most intriguing chapter. The “multitudes” were “following” Jesus and the Scripture tells us it was “because they were seeing the signs He was performing.” Jesus was healing “those who were sick” and He was about to provide food for the entire group, doing so by increasing the “five barley loaves and two fish” into a great feast for thousands of these followers (John 6:5-13). Surely all of this should keep them around, right? Who would want to go away from this?
Wow! He had healed the “sick” and now, now He was providing a great amount of food from a little amount, feeding the masses! The “multitude’s” response?
- “When, therefore the people saw the sign which He had performed, they said, ‘This is of a truth the Prophet who is to come into the world.'” (John 6:14 – NASB)
This was it! The ” great multitude” had reasoned in their minds, having observed one miracle after another, that this Jesus was “the Prophet” that the Scriptures had promised, the One who would come and be king and heal them and feed them and ultimately, by His power, free them from the Romans. This was it, this Jesus was the man, the promised Messiah! They wanted to set Him on the throne right then. Jesus’ response?
- “Jesus, therefore, perceiving that they were intending to come and take Him by force to make Him king, withdrew again to the mountain by Himself alone.” (John 6:15 – NASB)
The “multitudes” were in a tizzy! They wanted to make this Jesus “king” and here it was that He “withdrew” from them. Can you imagine the confusion, the frustration, the anger of this mass of people? Well they didn’t give up, no sir-ree . . . they went after Him, intent on following this Man and accomplishing their will with Him.
What is so intriguing about this chapter of John’s gospel is what takes place between Jesus and this “multitude.” For from verses 16 to 65 we reach a point where it says,
- “As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew, and were not walking with Him anymore” (John 6:66 – NASB)
What in the world happened? How is it that this “great multitude,” these “disciples” who were so intent on making Jesus “king” now “withdrew, and were not walking with Him anymore?” What is the “this” that turned them away from Jesus?
Ahhhhh brethren . . . this chapter six of John’s gospel gives us the answer to our inquiry, clearly and boldly. We just have to get into it and read it. And I believe when you do you will want to read it again and again, and you will want to dissect it and understand it, and then you will arrive at the question Jesus put to “the twelve” who remained . . . . . .
- “You do not want to go away also, do you?” (John 6:67 – NASB)
The crowd was gone! Evidently what had appeared to be a successful ministry now seemed to be a wash! One moment there were thousands and now there were but a few. Surely this question posed to “the twelve” was a most challenging one considering all that had just taken place.
What would be your response if the masses around you rejected the one you were following? I know what mine would be! By God’s grace, as Peter replied to the Lord so I reply . . . .
- “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. And we have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.” (John 6:68-69 – NASB)
Jesus challenged “the great multitude” with the truth of who He was and what He had come to do, and what it was that He came to address, and after this, only a few continued with Him. Interesting is it not? Most intriguing! And let me add an additional note here for you to ponder . . . it wasn’t that Jesus needed them or the masses . . . . no, indeed, they needed Him!
Have a good day . . . . and as you go about the day I encourage you to get into God’s Word, get into this chapter six of John’s gospel and read it and study it and ask yourself, based on its content, “Do you want to go away also or are you convinced that Jesus is the only One with the words of eternal life, that He is the Holy One of God?”
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