Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel account of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ as written and recorded by the apostle John. More specifically, today’s passage is found in verses thirty-four through fifty-nine of the sixth chapter. When you come to this particular portion of scripture you will find a considerable amount of words and language which were spoken by Jesus the Christ. Much of the sixth chapter of the New Testament gospel of John is a wonderful and powerful picture of the words of Jesus the Christ—words which He would speak with and for a very specific purpose. As you read the sixth chapter of this New Testament gospel is laid out you will quickly come to the realization that it began in a different place than the second or fourth chapters of the same gospel. If you turn and direct your attention to the second chapter of this gospel you will find the apostle John writing concerning the first of all the miracles which Jesus the Christ performed while upon the earth—the miracle of turning and transforming water into wine. You will recall that when the second chapter of this New Testament gospel opened and began it did so with the apostle John describing a time early on in the public ministry of Jesus the Christ when He and His disciples were invited to a wedding—a wedding which His own mother was invited to. The account within the gospel of John goes on to describe how during the course of the festivities and celebration the wine which had been purchased and prepared for the celebration had run out. Upon noticing that there was no more wine the mother of Jesus was made aware of such a reality, and upon such news she decided to speak with her Son and make Him aware of the fact that they had run out of wine. Initially Jesus seemed to have balked at the words of His mother, for age asked her what He had to do with her, for His hour had not yet come. Mary—upon hearing the words of her Son—emphatically declared and instructed certain of those which were present at the wedding to do whatever Jesus instructed and commanded. The apostle John goes on to write how Jesus instructed certain servants at the wedding to fill six clay water pots which were used for cleansing in the Jewish religion to the brim. Once each of the water pots was filled with water, Jesus then instructed them to draw some water out of one of the clay jars and present it to the master of the ceremony. What happens within this passage is actually quite remarkable and astonishing, for when you think about and consider it you will find that while it was perhaps water which was drawn out of the clay water pot—by the time it reached the master of the ceremony it would become wine. What’s more, is that when the master of the ceremony tasted the water which had been transformed into wine, he emphatically declared that most will exhaust the good wine at the beginning of the ceremony, and once everyone had drunk enough and were perhaps intoxicated, the lesser wine would be brought out. The master would then state that those present at this wedding had saved the best wine for the last—not knowing that what he was tasting was actually water which had been turned into wine.
The turning and transforming of water into wine would be the first of the miracles which Jesus would show forth and manifest His glory in the sight of men and women during that generation. As you continue reading the new testament gospel of John you will come to the fourth chapter of the gospel and will find that when Jesus knew that the Pharisees has heard how He was making and baptizing more disciples than John the Baptist, He departed from Judaea and sought to journey unto Galilee. Upon traveling unto Galilee the apostle John writes concerning Jesus the Christ that He must needs travel and journey through Samaria, although the apostle did not write, nor did he mention why Jesus needed to pass through Samaria. The only thing we know concerning Jesus journeying to and through Samaria is that He must needs make the journey through this area and region which most Jews would stay away from and not venture into. What is so incredibly interesting about what we find and what we read in this passage of a dugouts is that not only did Jesus need to pass through Samaria, but scripture also seems to suggest that Jesus sought to make haste in order that He might come unto Samaria. We dare not and ought not miss this incredible and tremendous reality, for it would appear that not only did Jesus make haste to arrive at the well in order that He might minister unto the woman at the well, but scripture also seems to suggest that Jesus made haste to come unto this particular well at a very specific time in order that He might wait there for this single woman to show up and arrive. How absolutely wonderful and incredible it is to think about and consider the fact that this woman woke up and arose from her bed on this day not anticipating or expecting anything out of the ordinary, and yet then she came unto the well which she had always visited, the very Messiah and Christ would be sitting there waiting for her. What’s more is that it wouldn’t be until after Jesus would speak unto this woman concerning water and spiritual thirst, as well as worship, and even the fact that she had had five husbands and the man she was currently with was not her husband, Jesus would emphatically declare unto her that He who was speaking unto her was in fact the messiah and the Christ. The apostle John would go on to write concerning this encounter how when the disciples arrived at the well go find Jesus speaking with this woman, the woman left that place, and even left her water pot behind in order that she might return unto the men of the city to talk and speak with them about a man who had told her everything she had ever done.
Within the fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel of John you will find this woman coming unto the men of the city and inviting them to come and see a man who had told her everything she had ever done, and then suggested that this man might very well be the Messiah whom they were looking for and expecting. I am still thoroughly convinced that one of the main and underlying reasons why Jesus sought to pass through Samaria was because there were a people within this forsaken and abandoned region who were waiting for and looking for the messiah. The very fact that the woman spoke of and mentioned the Messiah, and the very fact that after spending two full days with Jesus the men of the city declared that Jesus was indeed the Messiah and the Savior of the world, suggests that there was a strong Messianic hope and expectation that was found to be present within the region of Samaria—perhaps within the very city where this woman lived and resided. It would be in the fourth chapter of the gospel which the apostle John wrote that we come face to face with the strong reality that there were those—even in Samaria—which were looking for and hoping for the messiah. There were those in this particular region which was forsaken and ignored by the Jews which were waiting and longing for the messiah to come. There is not a doubt in my mind that the main and underlying reason why Jesus the Christ needed to pass through Samaria was not merely to make disciples of those which were present within the city, but to reveal and demonstrate Himself that He was in fact the Messiah. I firmly believe that Jesus needed to travel and journey through Samaria in order that He might show up in the midst of messianic expectation and reveal Himself as the long awaited messiah which was expected. How absolutely wonderful and powerful it is to think about and consider the fact that Jesus not only needed to pass through Samaria, but He also needed to pass through I’m order that He might make disciples, and in order that He might reveal Himself as the Messiah which was to come. Please don’t miss and please don’t lose sight of this awesome and wonderful reality, for to do so would be to miss out on the absolutely wonderful truth that is contained within this passage—particularly and especially when you consider the fact that the passage opened up and began with Jesus speaking of water. What’s more, is that Jesus didn’t merely speak of water, but He spoke of living water—water of which when men and women would drink of and from it, they would never thirst again. How truly astonishing and remarkable it is to think about and consider the fact that what would begin as a conversation concerning water would transition to relationships, as well as worship, and would finally culminate in the awesome reality of Jesus emphatically declaring unto this woman that He which spoke unto her was indeed and was in fact the Messiah.
When you read the second and fourth chapters of the New Testament gospel which the apostle John wrote you will find that the second chapter speaks of water which had been turned and transformed into wine, while the fourth chapter speaks to the reality of living water and spiritual thirst which Jesus the Christ came to reveal and satisfy. The fourth chapter contains wonderful and powerful language which took place between Jesus and the Samaritan woman concerning this reality of living water which when one drank from and of it, they would never thirst again. It’s actually quite interesting that while the fourth chapter speaks to the reality of water—and not just water but living water—the sixth chapter speaks to something completely and much different. As you read the sixth chapter of the New Testament gospel of John you will find the chapter begin and open up with Jesus and His disciples going up into a mountain separate and apart from the crowds and multitude of people in order that they might find rest and refreshment for their physical bodies and souls. Of course—as was typical and ordinary during and throughout the public ministry of Jesus the Christ—the rest He intended on enjoying with His disciples could be interrupted by great crowds of people who would gather themselves before and unto Jesus in order that they might hear the words He would speak, and even receive healing for their physical bodies, and healing for that which plagued their bodies—perhaps even for years. As the sixth chapter of this gospel begins and opens, it does so with the apostle John writing that a great multitude followed Jesus because they saw the miracles which He did on them that were diseased. In this place where Jesus and His disciples would seek to receive and experience rest and refreshment, there would be a great company which would come unto Him—a company which Jesus would look upon, have compassion on, and ask His disciples how they would feed this entire company and multitude. If you read the words which are found within this passage of Scripture you will find that initially Jesus asked Philip—one of His disciples—where they would buy bread, in order that those before them might eat. What’s so incredibly unique about the question which Jesus asked Philip was that Jesus didn’t ask because He had any intention of purchasing and buying bread for this great multitude and crowd. Jesus had absolutely no interest or desire in going into the city in order that He might buy bread for the multitude of hungry people who were before Him. The apostle John goes on to write concerning Jesus that He asked Philip this question—not because He expected to enter into the city and buy bread, but rather to try and prove him, for He already knew that which He was going to do. The entire question Jesus asked Philip was one that asked in order that Jesus might prove Philip, for Jesus knew from the Father that which He must needs do on this particular occasion in order that the people which were present on this mountain before Him would and could be fed.
What I still so love about this passage of Scripture is that there exists within this passage—not only an invitation to partake in the provision of the Christ, but there was also an invitation to fellowship and community. This passage would begin and open up with Jesus and His disciples going up to a mountain where they might undoubtedly receive and find rest for their physical bodies and souls, and yet it would quickly transition to a place where a great company and great crowd of people would gather themselves unto and before Jesus the Christ. We learn from the apostle John that the total number of souls which were present on this particular occasion was five thousand, and this didn’t even include women and children. What began with Jesus and His disciples would continue to a place where it would no longer be Jesus and His disciples, but rather a great company of people which would gather themselves before and unto Jesus. I have previously written that Christian community and Christian fellowship does not begin in the New Testament book of the Acts which the beloved physician Luke wrote. There would be a great many men and women who would choose to believe that Christian community began on the Day of Pentecost after and when the Holy Spirit was poured out and released upon the one-hundred and twenty in the upper room. There would be those who would assume that Christian community did not begin un to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and until the days of the early Church. I am thoroughly convinced that this isn’t the case, and that Christian community began with Jesus the Christ and the twelve individual men whom He hand picked and deliberately and intentionally chose to walk with and follow Him. There is not a doubt in my mind that true Christian community did not begin in the New Testament book of Acts with the early church, but began in the four gospel accounts of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ and with Jesus and His twelve disciples. The interesting reality concerning and surrounding how the sixth chapter opened up and began is that it seemed and appeared to open up and begin with Christian fellowship which existed between Jesus and His twelve disciples. If we are truly going to understand the reality and concept of fellowship we must understand and recognize that fellowship begins with Jesus the Christ, for true fellowship begins and opens up with fellowship with the Father and the Son whom He sent as the living Bread and as the living Word. Any and all forms of fellowship which exist among us in this generation and in this day flow forth from the reality and place of fellowship with Jesus the Christ and with the Father who sits upon the throne in heaven. We dare not and cannot miss this truly incredible point for to do so would be to miss out and misunderstand the true reality and concept of fellowship and community.
As you read the sixth chapter of the New Testament gospel which the apostle John wrote you will quickly come face to face that when Jesus instructed the disciples to have the multitude of people sit down in the grass in groups and companies of fifty, that which He was doing was inviting them into a place of fellowship and community. It would be very easy to think about and consider the fact that what took place was merely a miracle of provision, as Jesus the Christ would take five loaves of bread and two small fish and would bless them, give thanks, break them and then distribute them to the disciples who would in turn distribute them among the companies of fifty which were before them. The truth of the matter is that this simply isn’t the case, for even more than a miracle of provision which is found within this passage is the ultimate reality of fellowship and community which is found—not only in the presence of Jesus the Christ, but also in the company of others. What you find and what you read within this passage is quite astonishing and quite intriguing, for not only do you find an invitation to fellowship with Jesus the Christ, as the great multitude was instructed to sit down in the grass, but you also find a great and wonderful invitation to fellowship and community with others who were present on this day. I still cannot help but believe and be convinced of the tremendous reality that the very fact that Jesus instructed the disciples to arrange the multitude in groups of fifty was in order that He might establish community and fellowship between and among themselves there at the mountain where He and His disciples were present. There is not a doubt in my mind that the partaking of the bread and the fish which Jesus blessed, broke and distributed among the great multitude did not occur in silence, and there was a great many conversations which took place as men, women and children sat on the grass eating until they were filled and eating until they were satisfied. There is a wonderful picture in this passage—not only concerning being satisfied in the presence of Jesus, but also begin satisfied in the presence of Jesus in the company and presence of others. I absolutely love that the apostle John wrote that all those which were present on this particular day not only ate, but also ate until they were full and ate until they were satisfied. What’s more, is that each of the gospel authors wrote and declared that even after the great crowd and multitude of people ate until they were full and satisfied, there were still twelve baskets full of the fragments of the miracle. Even after each and every one of the men, women and children on this particular day ate until their were full and satisfied, there were still fragments which were left over. Pause for a moment and think about and consider the fact that after the provision was over, after the fellowship was over, after the community was over, after each and every person was satisfied, there were still twelve baskets left over, which were the remnants of that which took place in the presence of Jesus, and that which took place in fellowship and community.
I have to admit that when I read the sixth chapter of the New Testament gospel of John—not only do I see and witness a wonderful and powerful picture of an invitation to fellowship and community, but I also see a truly remarkable picture of the remnants of that fellowship and community. I read the words which are written and recorded within this passage and I can’t help come face to face with the truly astonishing and truly remarkable reality that when all was said and done, and when each and every soul ate until they were satisfied, there were still twelve baskets which were filled with and filled by the fragments of fellowship, community and provision. TWELVE BASKETS OF FELLOWSHIP REMAINING! TWELVE BASKETS OF COMMUNITY STILL REMAINING! TWELVE BASKETS OF PROVISION REMAINING! It is truly remarkable to think about and consider the fact that when you read the words which are found within this passage—not only do you find a wonderful and powerful picture of fellowship and community, but you also find there being twelve baskets which would remain after everyone had their fill and after every one was satisfied. I so absolutely love that which is found within this passage of Scripture, for what we find within this passage is a truly awesome and engaging picture of fellowship and community, as Jesus not only invited men and women to engage themselves in fellowship with He and Hid disciples, but He also invited men and women to engage themselves in fellowship one with another. If you read the account of the feeding of the five thousand you must not only read it in terms of provision, but you must also read it in terms of an invitation to fellowship and community, for it is in the breaking of bread where Jesus is truly known before and among us, and it is in the breaking of bread where we ourselves are truly known before and by those before and around us. The two men who experienced Jesus on the road to Emmaus returned to Jerusalem and declared unto them how Jesus was known unto them in and by the breaking of bread—a reality which I am convinced is manifested in the New Testament book of the Acts. If you turn and direct your attention to the second chapter of the New Testament book of the Acts of the apostles you will come face to face with the awesome and incredible reality that during the days of the early church they not only had all things in common, and gathered themselves together, but they also devoted themselves to the breaking of bread in each other’s houses. I firmly believe that what we find taking place at the mountain where Jesus and His disciples was a picture, a shadow, and a foretaste of what would take place in the New Testament book of Acts, for the great multitude would be broken down into individual companies and communities if you will. It would be in those individual companies and communities where they would partake of the bread which had been blessed and broken, and where they would partake of the fish which had been blessed and broken. What we find in the account of the feeding of the five thousand is a truly astonishing picture of community and fellowship, as men and women were invited into a place of fellowship and community with each other, and into a place where they would enjoy fellowship and provision one with another in the company and presence of Jesus the Christ.
As you continue reading the sixth chapter of the New Testament gospel of John you will find that after the miracle and provision of the feeding of the five thousand, you will find the disciples in the midst of a boat out on the open sea being tossed about and tossed to and fro by reason of a great tempest which arose upon the sea. Upon seeing the disciples laboring and toiling in the midst of the storm, He came unto them walking on the water—walking in the midst of the storm which raged all around them. Initially and originally the disciples perceived and assumed that it was a ghost or spirit which was walking upon the water in the midst of the waves of the sea, however, upon hearing Jesus declare unto them that it was He who was walking among them, they willingly invited Him into the boat. Immediately after Jesus entered into the boat the wind and the waves died down, and the ship arrived at its destination safely without and damage to the ship or harm to the disciples. Immediately following the feeding and fellowship of the five thousand we find the disciples finding themselves in the midst of a storm, and finding Jesus coming unto them walking in the midst of the storm completely unhindered and unaffected by the wind, the waves, the rain, and perhaps even the thunder and lightning. Pause for a moment and consider what it must have looked like for it to be dark upon the sea, and with each flash of lightning the image of Jesus would flash before the eyes of the disciples Consider the fact that as Jesus drew closer to the boat, and with each flash of lightning, His image would become clearer before the eyes of the disciples. Oh, I can’t help but imagine what it must have looked like as the lightning flashed all around the disciples as they were in the midst of the ship, and as each flash of lightning caused the image of Jesus to be made clearer before them and in their eyes. It’s so incredibly interesting to think about and consider the fact that the feeding and fellowship of the five thousand would be followed by the storm of the disciples—a storm in which Jesus would come unto them walking on the water, and walking in the midst of the wind and the waves. How awesome it is to think about and consider the fact that while it was true that after departing from a place of fellowship and provision the disciples would find themselves in the midst of a storm, they would also find Jesus in the midst of the storm, as Jesus walked to and unto them in the midst of the storm upon the water. What a truly wonderful and powerful picture it is to think about and consider the fact that Jesus would come walking unto the disciples in the midst of the storm upon the water and in the midst of the waves which would undoubtedly crash around and perhaps even crash upon the boat in which they were sailing in.
If you move further along into the sixth chapter you will find that what began with Jesus feeding the five thousand with loaves of bread and a few small fish would eventually culminate and come to a head when the great multitude of people realized that Jesus was on the other side of the sea, and that He was no longer in the place where He previously was. The apostle John writes in this chapter that when Jesus learned of the great multitude of people seeking after and searching for Him, He declared unto them that they did not seek Him because of the miracles which they saw, but because they did eat of the loaves, and were filled. What’s more, is that Jesus would go on to emphatically declare unto those who were present before Him on this particular day that they ought not labor for the meat which perishes, but for that meat which endures unto everlasting life—that meat which the Son of man would give unto them. This concept of laboring for meat which does not perish is quite interesting, for if you remember back to the encounter Jesus had with the disciples immediately following the departure of the Samaritan woman at the well, He declared unto them that He had meat they knew not of. Curious and perplexed concerning the meat which Jesus spoke of, Jesus would emphatically declare unto them that his meat was to do the will of the Father. We must understand and recognize this concept of the meat of the Son being to do the will of the Father—particularly and especially when we consider Jesus’ words unto the Jews when He spoke unto them concerning laboring not for that meat which perishes, but that meat which endures unto everlasting life. There is not a doubt in my mind that the meat which Jesus spoke of when speaking unto the Jews was the meat of doing the will of the Father, and doing the will of He who sent Him into the earth as the living Bread. Jesus declared unto those who searched for and sought after Him that they sought for Him—not because they witnessed the miracles which He performed before them and in their midst, but rather because they ate of the loaves of bread and were filled. These words which Jesus would speak would immediately be followed by the Jews asking Him what they might do that they might work the works of God—a question to which Jesus declared unto them that the work of God was to believe on Him who the Father had sent into the earth. It’s actually quite interesting to consider the reality of the meat of the kingdom which is to do the will of the Father, and the work of the kingdom is to believe on the One whom the Father sent into the earth as the living Bread and as the Light of the world. Thus far within the New Testament gospel of John—not only do we learn that unto those who believed on Jesus Christ Jesus would give power to become sons of God, but we also learn that the meat of the kingdom is to do the will of the Father, and the work of the kingdom is to believe on Jesus the Christ, and the One who sent Him into the earth as the. Living Bread and as the Living Water.
The sixth chapter of the New Testament gospel of John is truly remarkable and astonishing, for while it begins with literal and physical bread which Jesus used to feed five thousand souls which were before Him there at the mountain, it would transition to Jesus speaking unto them concerning a greater bread—a bread which was entirely and altogether different from that which they partook of there at the mountain. It was true that the five thousand souls which were present before Jesus and His disciples partook of literal, physical and natural bread, however, Jesus would go on to speak unto them concerning an even greater bread that would be available unto them. This reality is quite similar to that which we find in the fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel of John, for what would begin with earthly, physical and natural water would transition to Jesus speaking about a living and spiritual water—water which could only be provided by He who was and is the Son of man. Here in the sixth chapter we find it beginning and opening with Jesus feeding five thousand souls with physical and natural bread, and yet as the chapter transitions and progresses we find the Jews speaking unto them concerning the bread and manna which their father Moses provided for their forefathers in the wilderness. This is actually quite astonishing for there appears to be a comparison between the manna which Moses provided for the children of Israel in the wilderness and the bread which Jesus provided for the five thousand souls which were present before both He and the disciples on this particular day. What makes this even more intriguing and interesting is that Jesus declared unto them how they sought for Him because they ate of the bread and were filled, and yet how they compared Jesus to Moses who fed the children of Israel in the wilderness with bread from heaven. This is actually quite astonishing when you consider the fact that it wasn’t even Moses who provided the children of Israel with manna and bread from heaven, but it was the living God and Father who provided them with bread and manna from heaven. What we find in the sixth chapter of the New Testament gospel of John is a truly wonderful and powerful picture that although Jesus did in fact feed them with earthly, physical and natural bread, there was a different and greater bread that was available unto them—a bread that was not physical and natural in nature, but was spiritual. Jesus would go on to declare that while their forefathers partook of bread in the wilderness, that bread was earthly and natural bread—bread which even though they ate and partook of it for forty years, they perished and went the way of their fathers. While Jesus would in fact feed five thousand souls with physical and natural bread in the realm of time and space, there was a different bread which was available unto those who were before Him on this day—namely, the bread which came down from heaven. Although Jesus fed the multitude with physical and natural bread, there was an even greater bread which would be available unto them—a bread which would come down from heaven and be manifested unto them.
What I so love about this particular passage is that while it begins in the physical and natural realm with physical and natural bread—bread which Jesus Himself blessed, broken and provided to a great multitude of people—it would eventually and ultimately culminate with a spiritual bread which would come not from this earth but from heaven. In fact I would dare say that the entire reason Jesus chose to provide the five thousand with physical and natural bread was to prepare them for the awesome and incredible reality of a heavenly and spiritual bread which would come down from heaven, and would be made available unto them. I firmly believe that the earthly and natural bread which they partook of was to prepare and bring them to a place where they would potentially be willing and able to receive the true and living bread which would come down from heaven. Jesus would satisfy their earthly and natural desires with physical and natural bread, however, there was an even greater manifestation of bread that would be available before and unto them—namely, that bread which would come down from heaven. In all reality, I would dare say that what we find within this passage of Scripture was a wonderful and powerful picture of that which pointed to an even deeper and even greater hunger that was present within the hearts and souls of men and women—namely, a spiritual hunger for bread which is not of or from this world, and is bread which comes down from heaven. Just as Jesus would begin with physical and natural water with the woman at the well in Samaria, and yet would transition to a living and spiritual water which was available unto them, so also would Jesus begin in the physical and natural realm with earthly bread, and yet would transition to the place where He would speak of a bread which would come down from heaven—a bread which would not only satisfy them physically, but would satisfy them spiritually. All those who partook of the bread which Jesus blessed and broke there at the mountain would eat until they were full and satisfied, but there was a different bread that would satisfy men and women even more—bread which would come down from heaven and would be available unto those who truly and desperately desired and longed for it. The entire point of this chapter is not to bring us to the place where we appreciate physical provision and understand physical need, but to the place where we appreciate spiritual and supernatural provision, understand spiritual need, and labor and strive for that which does not perish, and that which does not sustain us in the natural realm, but provides for and unto us eternal life. Oh that we would labor—not for that bread which is present in the physical and natural realm, but that bread which comes down from heaven and satisfies the spiritual longing and desire within our hearts and souls.