I must admit to feeling a bit like a prospector sifting through rocks seeking precious gold as I read through familiar verses. I let my imagination run wild as I closed my eyes and tried to picture each scene being played out. The narrative in my head went from how Jesus was with them to how he is with me.
3 Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples.
Here he is, sitting on the ground among his followers. I, too, am a disciple of Jesus. He is my teacher. How many times have I felt his presence? Some of my favorite times with him were when he just sat with me. He always gives me quality time.
11 Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.
12 When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” 13 So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.
14 After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.” 15 Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself. (John 6:11-15) NIV
Jesus models gratitude. He thanks God for the food and the ability to feed all these people. Yet, nowhere does it say the people were grateful for being fed. Isn’t that me? Hasn’t God done amazing miracles in my own life and yet I’ve taken it all in stride—like I deserve it. Oh Father, forgive me for the times I take you for granted. How much more could you multiply my prayers if they were offered with gratefulness?
43 “Stop grumbling among yourselves,” Jesus answered. 44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day. 45 It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me. 46 No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. 47 Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. 50 But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” (John 6:43-51) NIV
It was never Jesus’ goal to be king of this world, he already had a kingdom in Heaven. He didn’t need to prove himself to anyone. His message was constant. He was sent by God to save us. Jesus, the great I Am, our bread of life. “This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” That sentence jumped out at me this time. Here he is telling them of the sacrifice he will make for all of us. This act of offering “bread (his body)” feeds us even today, thousands of years later. It never runs out, there are baskets left over.
“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them . . .” That is the beginning of my story with Jesus. God drew me to Himself when I was at the lowest point in my life. His heart had compassion on me, his Spirit breathed life into my empty, dead soul, and he set me on the narrow road walking alongside me as I journey home.
68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.” (John 6:68-69)
Like Peter, I can imagine no other life. I have come to believe and to know that Jesus alone is the Holy One of God. Jesus fills me when I am empty. Comforts me when I’m sad. Corrects me when I’m heading in the wrong direction (I can’t go far if I’m yoked to him). He has the words of eternal life.
6 So he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty. (Zech 4:6) NIV
Lord Jesus, thank you for the sacrifice of coming to the world to offer yourself for us—and not only all the world I know you did it for me. There are times I am filled with sadness to think of the lashes you took for me because of my sin. Other times, I am filled with gratitude and thanksgiving knowing it was always your purpose. Forgive me, though, for the times I take it for granted. Your love is beyond anything I can comprehend but I embrace you wholeheartedly. In your precious name I pray, Amen