John 6:8-11 One of the disciples—it was Andrew, brother to Simon Peter—said, “There’s a little boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But that’s a drop in the bucket for a crowd like this.” Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” There was a nice carpet of green grass in this place. They sat down, about five thousand of them. Then Jesus took the bread and, having given thanks, gave it to those who were seated. He did the same with the fish. All ate as much as they wanted.
I know you are familiar with this story. A little boy had five loaves of bread and two small fish. This by all accounts was a low class meal – not PF Chang’s oolong sea bass or the mahi-mahi (but I’m not all that hungry so I’ll just take one mahi!). This was the equivalent of a Hebrew lunchable. Jesus takes it and multiplies it to where everyone in the crowd also gets what the little boy was having for lunch. Question… Was the boy the only one who brought a lunch that day? There had to be others. I’m sure many didn’t volunteer their lunch because they were only interested in their own stomachs. I can only assume that some people’s picnic baskets were also full of better tasting food. If it were offered to Jesus, the multitudes could have had an extravagant meal that day, but instead, Jesus worked with what was given to him.
So, what’s in our picnic baskets? Are we keeping it for ourselves or are we giving it to Jesus so that he can bless and multiply it?
John 5:39-40 You have your heads in your Bibles constantly because you think you’ll find eternal life there. But you miss the forest for the trees. These Scriptures are all about me! And here I am, standing right before you, and you aren’t willing to receive from me the life you say you want.
In our quest to know about God, we can never forget that the point is to know God. We not only seek knowledge, but more importantly, we are pursuing a relationship with our God. Experiencing Christ is not about how many Bible studies we are a part of or how many scriptures we have memorized; but instead, it’s about putting his words into practice. If not, we miss the forest for the trees.
John 5:1-9 Soon another Feast came around and Jesus was back in Jerusalem. Near the Sheep Gate in Jerusalem there was a pool, in Hebrew called Bethesda, with five alcoves. Hundreds of sick people—blind, crippled, paralyzed—were in these alcoves. One man had been an invalid there for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him stretched out by the pool and knew how long he had been there, he said, “Do you want to get well?” The sick man said, “Sir, when the water is stirred, I don’t have anybody to put me in the pool. By the time I get there, somebody else is already in.” Jesus said, “Get up, take your bedroll, start walking.” The man was healed on the spot. He picked up his bedroll and walked off.
Jesus yet again does the miraculous. He takes a man who has been paralyzed from birth and heals him. Instantly, the man is up and walking. Now think about this… This man has never walked before in his life. Shouldn’t there be a learning curve? But instead, this man not only gains strength in his legs but his equilibrium as well.
As great as this miracle was, I can’t help but wonder about the hundreds of other sick people who were at the pool that day as well. Of all those who were sick, why did Jesus only heal one? What about the others?
John 4:23-24 “It’s who you are and the way you live that count before God. Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. That’s the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship. God is sheer being itself—Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration.”
True worship extends way beyond what we sing during a church service. It’s more than closing our eyes and raising our hands. Worship is a way of life. It’s who we are and what we do. True worshipers worship not only in spirit but also in truth. The truth is how we act once we leave the church. If not, our worship is just an act. We are simply singing lies. Authentic worship is when our spirits, hearts, hands, and feet align with our lips. This is the kind of worshiper our father seeks.
John 3:30 This is the assigned moment for him to move into the center, while I slip off to the sidelines.
Jesus is central to our faith and wants to be the center of our lives. When we live Christ-centered lives, everything we do revolves around him. He is in the middle of every decision that we make. So, as John the Baptist does in this verse, let’s get out of the way and let Christ take center stage.
John 3:17 God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again.
Many people have the wrong perception of God. Some think he is out to get us. That when we mess up, he is just waiting to pound us with his fists. However, this is not God’s nature. He didn’t send his Son to condemn the world, but to save it. He’s not pointing an accusing finger, but instead, he has both arms wide open, hoping for our redemption and restoration. If God’s nature were to condemn us, he certainly would have never sent his Son in the first place. Instead, his nature is to put the world and us right again. This is why he sent his Son. And because of this, we don’t have to worship God out of fear but out of gratitude.
John 2:15-17 Jesus put together a whip out of strips of leather and chased them out of the Temple, stampeding the sheep and cattle, upending the tables of the loan sharks, spilling coins left and right. He told the dove merchants, “Get your things out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a shopping mall!” That’s when his disciples remembered the Scripture, “Zeal for your house consumes me.”
Most of the paintings I see of Jesus today make him look like such a wimp. He is depicted as a frail, pretty boy that couldn’t hurt a fly. I think that is why I like this scripture so much. Jesus makes a whip from scratch. He doesn’t just pick up a whip; he makes one with his own hands! He then cleans house and no one dares challenge him. Jesus was a bad dude in a good way!