Today’s reading is John 6.
Okay. I’m going to share something shocking. It goes against everything you are hearing today, not only from the world, but even from many people in church. Why did Jesus multiply the bread and fish? Not to feed the hungry. Not to serve the community. Not to love the crowd to the point of listening to Him. The key comes in John 6:14. When Jesus miraculously fed the people, they claimed him to be “The Prophet who is to come into the world.” The people correctly understood the reference of the miracle. Jesus is the fulfillment of Deuteronomy 18:15-19; He is the Prophet like Moses who was to come into the world. But they, like so many today, missed the point of the miracle.They thought the point was to feed them. So they wanted to make Him king so He would keep on feeding them. Nope. Go back and read the prophecy in Deuteronomy 18:15-19.* The purpose of the prophecy was to show who the people were supposed to listen to. But when He taught them. They didn’t like it. The didn’t listen. They left. Like so many today, they misunderstood what the mission of the Prophet and His Church really is. Neither Jesus’s goal nor the goal of His church is to feed people hungry for bread. Jesus is not like Moses; He is greater than Moses. Jesus doesn’t give bread, He is bread. Even though Jesus was actually greater than what they were expecting, He didn’t measure up to what they were expecting. They were willing to settle for a Messiah/King who would feed them. So they rejected the Messiah/King who would teach them. In fact, the only ones who staid were the ones who realized Jesus’s gift of life doesn’t come through any bread He might give, but through the Words He teaches. People today are no different. Many are attracted to churches who think their mission is to feed the hungry. Few are attracted to churches who think their mission is to teach the lost. Don’t be ashamed to be part of a church that won’t cave to the societal pressures to offer the mediocre service of filling physical needs. Yes, the world loves us when we do that. Yes, the community will be upset if our doors close if that is how we view or try to accomplish our mission. But that isn’t our mission. Be thankful to be part of a church that will offer the true service of passing on Jesus and His words of life. Yes, the world will despise us for it. Yes, most will reject it and us. Yes, the great majority will abandon us, even more so they will try to shut us down, and will throw a party if our doors close. But we will be walking in the footsteps of our Savior. And do not think we are to use the former (community benevolence and service) to get an opportunity to do the latter (share the gospel). That isn’t what Jesus was doing. And if it was, it failed. Why do we think it will work for us? Be unashamed of the gospel. Be unashamed to be part of a church that sees proclaiming the gospel as its mission.
Tomorrow’s reading is John 7.
A Word for Our Kids
Hey kids, I’d like to introduce you to a Bible study problem we all have to work hard to avoid. The problem is what we call “proof-texting.” Certainly, it is always appropriate to turn to a Biblical text in order to provide proof for truth. But when we say “proof-texting,” we are referring to finding a text that has some words or a sentence that seems to prove whatever point we are trying to make, but when we back up and look at the context, we discover that wasn’t the point being made in the text at all. I bring this up today, because many people, even some Christians, use today’s passage as a proof-text for having the local congregation get involved in community benevolence. They will claim that through having coat closets, food pantries, community meals, car washing ministries, and other community benevolence and service, they are simply following the example of Jesus when He fed the 5000. That, however, is not at all what the feeding of the 5000 is about. In fact, it is the exact opposite of what it is about. The feeding of the 5000 was not Jesus’s attempt to serve His community into knowing He loved them so they would possibly listen to Him present His gospel. The people He fed were already following Him. He didn’t attract them with it. Rather, when their following Him got them in hardship, He served them. Additionally, the whole point was to demonstrate how ineffective this work was as an evangelism tool, not to uphold it as an example of how to convict people. Yet, because the world loves us to diminish the work of spreading Christ’s gospel, but they praise us when we do this lesser work, many Christians get excited about making this the work. Don’t misunderstand, Christian do good for folks. They serve their neighbors. (See Titus 2:14; 3:14; Galatians 6:10). But when the church uses this passage as a proof for making the church’s mission providing benevolence to the community, they are proof-texting. They are not using the passage properly. And they end up doing something Jesus was actually showing is not His mission. This is simply an illustration. With every passage we read, study, and teach, we must keep it in its context so we can apply it accurately. You’ll learn more how to do this as you keep on reading.
*”The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers–it is to him you shall listen–just as you desired of the LORD your God at Horeb on that day of the assembly, when you said, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God or see this great fire any more, lest I die.’ And the LORD said to me, ‘They are right in what they have spoken. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. And whoever will not listen to my words that he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him.'”-Deuteronomy 18:15-19