Reflection on John 6:16-24

Scripture

Then they were willing to take him onto the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading.

Observation

At evening time the disciples cross the lake in a boat. A storm rises up and they have to strain to row.

After some time, Jesus comes to them walking on the water. At first they are terrified, but Jesus tells them not to be afraid. They let Him on board, and immediately they arrive at their destination.

The next morning, the crowds discover that Jesus and the disciples are missing, and so they head off to Capernaum by boat.

Application

The disciples find themselves on a boat on the water without Jesus at night. In John’s gospel the night time represents the world that is not surrendered to God, that is satan’s realm.

When Jesus comes on to the boat, He immediately calms the storm and the boat arrives at its destination.

When I try to control my “boat”, that is my life, it all gets very chaotic. Like the disciples rowing, I can work hard and not make much progress. Satan will resist me at every turn.

When Christ is on board, my life has purpose and direction, and satan’s resistance starts to be overcome.

It is not always effortless, even when Christ is steering my boat. Sometimes it seems that satanic efforts to impede me just increase. Even so, I need to obey Christ’s command, “Do not be afraid.”

The storm will subside. The boat will arrive at its destination. As long as Christ is the captain of my life.

Prayer

Thank you Lord for the knowledge that you are in control. Even in the greatest storm I can know your peace. Help me to surrender control to you so that I can know your direction and your assurance. Amen.

Reflection on John 6:1-15

Scripture

When Jesus saw that they were ready to force him to be their king, he slipped away to the hills by himself.

Observation

Jesus goes across the lake, and he climbs a hill in order to teach His disciples. A crowd starts to gather, and Jesus asks His disciples where they might buy bread to feed them all.

Philip says it would take months of wages to feed them.

Andrew brings a young boy and his lunch. Jesus takes the lunch, gives thanks to God, and then everyone has enough to eat. The leftovers are enough to fill twelve baskets.

The people are amazed and try to force Jesus to be their king. He leaves and goes alone to the hills.

Application

Jesus will not be hijacked for human political programs.

The people wanted to make Him king, but an earthly kingdom is not what He intended; at least, not yet.

“My kingdom is not of this world,” He would later say to Roman governor Pontius Pilate.

The name of Jesus gets dragged into all kinds of causes- some of them good, but others not so good.

Whether it is climate change or refugees, or as a tool in a political campaign, the name of Jesus is often appropriated by activists and politicians.

Jesus will not be co-opted by any human political project. He refuses to be a King in that kind of way.

The kingship of Jesus is the opposite of political power. He seeks to change hearts, one at a time. He looks for people who will surrender everything to Him.

Out of that surrender, some people will be moved to work for political change. It will not be by appealing to Jesus as a political weapon. The weapons of the follower of Jesus are faith, compassion, prayer and persistence.

Prayer

King Jesus reign in my heart and mind. May my life be transformed by you. Amen.

Reflection on John 5:31-45

Scripture

“You read the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me! Yet you refuse to come to me to receive eternal life.”

Observation

Jesus is telling the Jewish leaders that He is not testifying on His own behalf. John the Baptist testified about Him.

The Father also testifies concerning Jesus. Only those whose hearts are open to Him can hear His testimony.

Moses also testified about Jesus through the (Old Testament) Scriptures. The Scriptures testify about Jesus, and by rejecting Him they reject the Scriptures and therefore reject Moses.

Application

The Scriptures, both the Old and New Testaments, testify to Jesus as the Messiah or Son of God.

All scripture is breathed by God, and is interpreted to us by the Holy Spirit. Because it is God’s word, it all points to Jesus.

The Bible is not a magic guidebook t the afterlife . Reading it, learning it, and quoting it do not make you holy or bring you to eternal life.

The Bible is God’s love letter to us, and as such, it is meant to draw us to Him. If my thoughts and affections do not turn to God when I read the Bible then I am not doing it right.

Reading a passage or a devotional book to tick off our daily “To Do” list will not point us to Christ. Studying it for secret codes and messages will not bring us to eternal life.

Every time we read God’s word, our hearts should be raised in praise and worship to our glorious heavenly Father.

Prayer

Thank you Lord for the Holy Scriptures that bring us to you, the source of eternal life. May I never be tempted to read your word as a religious ritual or academic exercise, but always find you in its message. Amen.

Reflection on John 5:16-30

Scripture

Jesus gave them his answer: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can only do what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does, the Son also does.”

Observation

The Jews are trying to find reasons to have Jesus killed, and they are offended by His references to God as His Father.

Jesus tells them He can only do what the Father does. Just as the Father raises people from the dead, the Son will do this too.

Whoever hears Jesus’ words and believes Him has crossed from death to eternal life. The time is coming when all who are in graves will come out- the righteous to eternal life, the wicked to be condemned.

Application

In Jesus we have a perfect representation of God. He and the Father are one, totally united in love.

Jesus only does what He sees the Father is doing. The deeds of Jesus are the deeds of the Father.

In Jesus we see a God who heals the sick, raises the dead,forgives sinners who repent, has compassion on the poor, loves everyone (especially the outcasts), and speaks out against all forms of evil.

As followers of Jesus- imitators of Christ- we should do the same kinds of things.

We can’t be like Jesus unless the Holy Spirit teaches us and empowers us to do the things Jesus did. Of course everyone who is a true disciple has the Holy Spirit living in them, transforming them to be like Jesus.

So Jesus does the work of the Father. The Holy Spirit makes it possible for us to imitate Christ and so to do the deeds God has called us to do.

Prayer

Lord, you are awesome! You show us in Christ what it means to live a life in communion with you, and you give us your Holy Spirit to enable us to do this. Thank you. Amen.