Hungry for a King
If you have your copy of God’s word please open up to John chapter 6. I have Titled this message this morning “Hungry for a King” Ill give you just a moment to get there then we will pray…
The Feeding of 5000 is one of the most significant events in Jesus ministry. Many outside of the church or Christianity have heard of this miracle. This is the forth sign in the book John, the others were the healing of the lame man, the healing of the nobleman’s son, and the water turned into wine. This sign is in fact the only Miracle that is included in all four of the Gospels. If you want to compare the stories later on they are found in Matt 14:13-21, Mark 6:35-44, Luke 9:10-17.
Now dont confuse the feeding of the 4000 because this is a different miracle at a different time. This sign leads to some powerful conversations throughout the rest of the chapter and book, so we can’t miss the foundations of this sign as we move forward. John 6:1-15 says this…
1 After this Jesus went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias. 2 And a large crowd was following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing on the sick. 3 Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples. 4 Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand. 5 Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a large crowd was coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?” 6 He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do. 7 Philip answered him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread would not be enough for each of them to get a little.” 8 One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, 9 “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?” 10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, about five thousand in number. 11 Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted. 12 And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.” 13 So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves left by those who had eaten. 14 When the people saw the sign that he had done, they said, “This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!” 15 Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.
If you are taking notes the main point I have today is this.
Jesus feeding the 5000 shows that He is Prophet and King.
There had been much time between chapter 5 and chapter 6. It was probably 6 months later in the life and ministry of Jesus when they get to this point.
They were at the Sea of Galilee which is also known as the sea of Tiberias. Tiberias was a new city founded just a few years before in 26 AD, and was named after a Ceasar.
If you look at the other gospel time lines you would know Jesus had been doing a lot of ministry, showing people incredible signs, and doing amazing miracles before the people. And Jesus was getting quite the following as we see in our text.
The people followed him because he was doing things no man could do. He was a box office hit as we would say. The crowd was massive over 5000 men which if you included women and children it could be 15000 plus. Be like going to the Thunder Game when it is packed and all the people following Jesus to see what he was going to do. Maybe in hopes to get way from the crowd, Jesus went up on the mountain with his disciples.
But when he went up to the mountain he lifted his eyes and see a large crowd the crowd that I just said was over 15000 people. This was not just an ordinary day that Jesus was doing ministry either it was during the passover. This is the 2nd passover John has mentioned so far in this gospel. The passover was an important time of year, and ill revistit that later on in the sermon.
Jesus is about to show them a sign, and he is going to use there current circumstances to do that very thing.
In Marks account of this event, the disciples said these people needed food. Listen to marks’ words.Mark 6:35-36 And when it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the hour is now late. 36 Send them away to go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” The disciples knew the current circumstances, knew they didn’t have the capability of feeding all these people.
The disciples had the mindset send them away so they can eat, because we dont have the means to take care of them.
Jesus himself asked Philip one of his twelve disciples, “ Where are we to buy bread, so the that these people may eat?” Philip would be the logical person to ask because he was from nearby Bethsaid a town that was nearby. Maybe he would know of a place where they could get food. For the reader they may have known Philip personally and be able to connect this man.
But John alludes to the idea that Jesus was testing Philip’s faith here, and maybe Philip after seeing what God could do would ask him to do some miracle, but Philip said to Jesus something else.
Two Hundred hundred denarii worth of bread would not be enough for each to have a little. Now 1 denarii would be what the common worker or soldier would make in one day ( think of it as a minimum wage for a days work) ,so working 6 days a week it would be 8 months of wages just to possibly get everyone just a little food but still might not have been enough to cover it. A large amount of money indeed.
Andrew another one of the disciples maybe trying to be helpful said to Jesus...There is boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?
Just for us to understand the amount of food that is lets put into perspective just how little food this is. Barley loaves were not these giant loves of bread that could feed alot of people. It wasn’t like those loaves you see at walmart you can buy. It was a small piece of bread. Like a biscuit size. It was common among the poor to eat this bread. And the Fish the boy had was not a Giant Tuna it was more like the size of a sardine very small indeed. These fish were usally just there to add a little flavor.
Lukes gospel in the 11th chapter alludes to the idea that 3 of these loaves would be needed for just one person to have some food, so if there was 15000 people this would mean there would need to 45000 loaves just to have enough for the people. So pretty much Andrew is saying the small food I see here is nothing. It can’t even feed ourselves. As I mentioned from Marks gospel these people are hungry. They need food. They need something to eat..
Rather than panicking Jesus said, Have the people sit down.
1st point I want you to make note of is this..
Jesus uses physical circumstances for heavenly signs.
Jesus uses physical circumstances for heavenly signs.
The people are sitting down, in the grass waiting for something to happen. What would Jesus do next they may have wondered. I think about how this crowd grew over time did Jesus show them sign after sign and the people couldn’t help but see what he would do next, and overtime the crowd got bigger and bigger.. But what was about to happen would be incredible and as I said in the intro would be the 4th sign in the gospel of John.
These 15000 plus people were about to see something not seen by the Jews in over 1000 years see heavenly bread. Turning these 5 loaves and 2 fish into enough food for everyone. And what he did first was give thanks.
Jesus took the loaves and gave thanks for them. Jesus used a form of Jewish thanksgiving. according to scholars the prayer was something like this.. Blessed art thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who bringest forth bread from the earth.’ Jesus ‘blesses’ God, i.e. he thanks God; he does not ‘bless’ the food. He thanks God for what is about to happen.
Today we would think about giving thanks or during the Lord’s supper or a meal. Jesus is thanking the Father for what is about to take place. Notice it says he distributed the food to those who were sitting, this was thousands upon thousands of people who were eating this meal that came from 5 barley loaves and 2 fish. A true miracle before there very own eyes.
Not only did Jesus provide them with something to eat, but he made sure all of them had there fill. That if they needed they could come back for more. It was all you could eat. Jeremiah 31:14 says..
14 I will feast the soul of the priests with abundance, and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness, declares the Lord.”
The people where truly satisfied. Because there food came from God. Not a belly was hungry.
But notice Jesus after everyone was done. He told disciples to get all the left overs. This was a Jewish custom to take the leftovers.
This feeding of the five thousand sounded to be more like a thanksgiving feast then just eating cheap bread and low quality fish. Goes to show you the power of the Lord. He truly makes something out of nothing. Showing his power as the prophet and the King.
But the details of these leftovers are clear. They must gather up the leftover fragments that nothing may be lost. The miracle that started with nothing ended up with abundance.
Each and every disciple had a basket to fill. Twelve baskets are filled with leftovers: ‘after all have been satisfied there is more left over than there was at the beginning!’
One man said, That there were twelve baskets is almost certainly significant: the Lord has enough to supply the needs of the twelve tribes of Israel. Jesus truly supplies every need the people could ever have.
After this feeding something truly incredible happens. The people finally admit that Jesus is the prophet, and want to make him king!
2nd thing I want you to make note of is this.
Jesus is the true prophet and king.
Jesus is the true prophet and king.
Jesus is known as prophet, priest, and king. Because he fulfills all those roles. In todays text we see two of those things, even though we see the the audience doesn’t fully understand there complete meaning at this time and have there own twisted version of what that looks like.
I did not touch on this much in beginning because I wanted you to first see the miracle but following the progression of the text we land at this point where we see the recognition by the people who just witnessed this event and believe at least at first that this is the prophet. Jesus is the true prophet. A better moses, one who moses wrote about, one who as we saw last week was a witness for Christ, like we learned in Deuteronomy 18.
This sign is much like the manna is the wilderness. The manna was given after the passover, after God saved them from Pharoah, after he did the amazing signs in Egypt and the manna that gave them life, when they had no other provisions, this manna from heaven took care of there bodies when they had nothing else. Bread alone is not really sustainable in the body but the one sent from heaven was. The manna ultimately was a precursor for the one who is the bread of life Jesus. Jesus offers this bread that is more than enough to take care of his children. Jesus is a better Moses who provides in abundance.
Listen to how one man put this, “the time of the feeding of the five thousand, which precipitates the bread of life discourse, in which Jesus identifies his flesh as the true bread that must be given for the life of the world, Church family we see this in John 6:33
33 For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
we see it again in John 6:51
51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
The bread that must be eaten if people are to have eternal life. (Not in a literal since like some believe, but believe in the bread of life who is Jesus)
but listen to what this scholar says the connections become complex: the sacrifice of the lamb anticipates Jesus’ death, the Old Testament manna is superseded by the real bread of life, the exodus typologically sets forth the eternal life that delivers us from sin and destruction, the Passover feast is taken over by the eucharist (Or as Baptist know today it the Lords supper) (both of which point to Jesus and his redemptive cross-work).
The Jews did the passover as a reminder of what God had done in Egypt, we do the Lord’s supper as a reminder what Jesus did on the Cross.
This chapter is going to have movement from the miracle to the discourse, ( Chapter 6 is known as the bread of life discourse, and explains how Jesus is the bread of life) But let us notice how the text will also shift from Moses to Jesus. Lets jump down a few verses and ill preach on this in a few weeks.
Listen to John 6:32-35 I already read 33 but listen to this.
32 Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 34 They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.” 35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.
If you remember, we learned all the way back in John 1:17 that the law came from moses but grace came through Christ, Listen to the exact scripture.
17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
And as we see this progression in the grand plan of God, we will see the bread to flesh. Jesus body becomes the representation that was once given to the bread. Law becomes grace. And he fulfills in himself things like John 19:36
36 For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken.”
and Exodus 12:46
46 It shall be eaten in one house; you shall not take any of the flesh outside the house, and you shall not break any of its bones.
as well as numbers 9:12
12 They shall leave none of it until the morning, nor break any of its bones; according to all the statute for the Passover they shall keep it.
Jesus is indeed the prophet, but he is also the bread of Life. Jesus gave the bread only God could give, a prophet whos words come true indeed, but he is more than the prophet more than the bread of life. He is also the king, and the people wanted him to be King.
But the king they wanted was not the king Jesus. They wanted a King who would free them from there current situation. They were truly hungry for a king, and saw all that Jesus was doing as an opportunity to make him there king.
Listen to R.C. Sproul give his thoughts on what was going on. Remember that at this time in Jewish history, when the people of Israel were under Roman occupation, the Passover was not just an exciting and important religious festival, it was the supreme celebration of national pride. Americans’ celebration of the Fourth of July is not worthy to be compared to the Jews’ experience of Passover, when they reaffirmed their hope that God would deliver them from the tyranny of Rome. So while this frenzy was going on, stoking the people’s hopes for someone to deliver them from the yoke of Roman tyranny, the perfect political candidate appeared on the scene. He even provided that which wins political votes everywhere—a chicken in every pot, or a loaf and a fish in every lunch. It doesn’t get any better than that. The people said, “This is the kind of king we want—one that will care for us from the cradle to the grave.” But Jesus read their hearts, and He knew that the kind of king they were looking for had nothing to do with the kind of kingdom He had come to inaugurate. They were looking for the kingdom of man; He came to bring the kingdom of God. It was His mission to provide His people with so much more than bread and fishes.
Jesus knew what was going on, because he knew there very own hearts. Those 15000 people wanted a king that could offer all that Jesus could offer. But if he became King that day he would not do the work the Father would have sent him to do.
Rather the way he would show that he king of kings and Lord of Lord, was not by beating the Romans in battle, but defeating death on a cross by rising from the dead on the third day.
The King the people needed was a king who would die for them not in a bloody battle with armies, but a blood battle on the cross. Resulting in a victory over sin and death, rather than victory over armies and kingdoms.
But for now Jesus knew it was not time to die, rather he withdrew again to the mountain himself.
The text shows us that the people were hungry for a king, Hungry for a savior. They wanted a king that would show up and rescue them to provide for them to give them all there physical needs. Rather a king came, the prophet, the bread of life, who’s mission was to rescue not only in a physical way but in a spiritual way, and they missed him again.
Jesus is the bread of life we will see that more clearly in the upcoming weeks…
The text shows us that we can seek after God but if we come wanting only what he can give us we will miss him.
I want to pose you with a few questions I found during my study and its this?
Are you willing to follow Jesus into the desert: that is, into the demanding experience of an authentic and holy Christian life?
When you come to him, are you forsaking the world and your worship of its pleasures and treasures, staking your hopes not on earth but in heaven?
Or are you mainly interested in the practical benefits that Christianity can give you now? (those seem to be disappearing in this secular world.)
The first exodus called for Israel to leave the realm of sin and engage in a difficult wilderness journey of testing and trial, relying on the supernatural provision that God promises. The new exodus in Christ is no different. Jesus calls us to forsake sin and worldliness, and follow him on the difficult path of holiness. Luke makes this point most clearly. It was just after feeding the five thousand that Jesus told his close disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23). This is the only true Christian life: trusting Jesus for forgiveness and new life, following Jesus to the cross and through this desert world, and entering with Jesus into a Promised Land beyond. Is it difficult? Yes. Is it worth it? Absolutely! Moreover, it is the only life of true satisfaction, simply because it is Jesus who leads us. Everything Jesus calls us to do he has done before us, and the Savior who died for our sins will strengthen us with his mighty, compassionate grace.
If you dont know him today the bible says today is the day of salvation if you repent of your sin and trust in him for salvation you can have eternal life.
Every week we have a time of response. If you have made a decision to trust Jesus either in person or online let us know. We want to help you become faithful followers of Jesus. If you are a believer and have not been baptized and wish to do so, or join this church or just need prayer respond however the Lord leads you today.
Let us be a church who responds to the word of God.