We are in the Christ Stream reading from The Living Bible.
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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis
Jesus, this is amazing. You are amazing. Let us remain amazed at your marvelous deeds and your love for us. Amen
5 – It had been a year since Jesus cleared out the Temple in John 2. He was back in Jerusalem now and ready to make more statements about God, man’s need, right and wrong, the illicit leadership that was abusing people versus serving and blessing them. His occasion at this juncture is to heal a man unable to walk for 38 years. This is one of the 7 miracles that The Apostle John depicts Jesus doing in his gospel. [We’ll give the list before year’s out]. Jesus asks the man if he wants to get well. His reply is “I can’t”. –> Jesus did not ask him about his ability to get well. He asked him about his desire to get well. <– Remember, Jesus blesses and uses us on the basis of His ability to work through us and upon our desire to be used not our ability nor our works. The gifts of God are about God. He grants healing. Be that as it is, Jesus deliberately walks into this encounter that stirred from his healing this man on the Sabbath. Once the religious leaders catch up with Jesus, ‘the dialogue is on!’ Jesus tells them He was there to do good. They accused Him of breaking the Sabbath, a rule they manipulated instead of honored. He asserted that God was His Father, that He was there to work miracles (which verified both truths!). And notice that in Hebrew culture, a father/son relationship was an equation of unity. Jesus talks about resurrection, honor, Himself as an authority, judgment, His perfect teamwork with God the Father, the witness of truth and its confirmation, and their rejection of Jesus’ testimony. Jesus then closes with a zinger about their total dereliction of spiritual duty in rejecting all the teaching of Scripture that they falsely claim they are honoring in their occupation. That one stung ’em and stung ’em good. “How can we kill him” became their obsession from here.
6 – Jesus went back north after this – yes he left Jerusalem abuzz and let the whole city ponder what he had done during this; His latest drop-in. Back in Galilee, He crossed Galilee/Tiberias to the north side. [The Hebrew name was Chinnereth from ‘kinneret’; a name that went back over 1300 years to Joshua’s time. The Greek form of Chinnereth was Gennesaret. Galilee was the name that was tagged the body of water because the area was called “Galilee”. The “Sea of Tiberias” was named as such by the contemporary Herod who was honoring Caesar Tiberias who ruled in Rome 14-37 A.D. because Herod was feverish to remain on good terms with Tiberias while he had jurisdiction over Galilee. Tiberias was the Caesar during Christ’s ministry and crucifixion. OK, all that was T.M.I.! Jesus lands in Galilee and such a crowd gathered and stayed so long that a food crisis became the issue. Jesus’ scheme of choreographing the setting for this feeding miracle is genius. He asks Philip a question that merely proves that the disciples are inadequate -even too fearful to work out a remedy. Mathematically, financially, geographically, this is a mess and there is no human solution in sight. Welcome to ministry, people! Then Jesus collected a small boy’s lunch. He gives thanks to God (this is why we pray before eating), and lets the disciples make the 5,000 deliveries. With wives and children and elderly, there were likely 20,000 that were fed. It easily could have been 30,000, maybe more. And stop to think here, did the disciples have any confidence to work a miracle? And yet where did the bread and fish multiply? IN THE HANDS of the disciples! The miracle happened in their hands. Read it again. God does much of His miracles by way of us. He operates the same way now. So each disciple is starting with 40% of a small barley loaf and 1/6th of a fish. Then after feeding 1,000-3,000 people each [to the level of being packed full!], they gather the leftovers and each disciple has a basket of food. n this, Jesus is telling them. “i’ll give you enough to feed the whole world…”
That night He walks on water and calms His disciples’ fears along with amazing them. The situation they were in was approaching fatal in terms of its consequences. Again Jesus had to do something – and He did.
In all this today, John is insisting that we put our faith in Jesus; yes, find Him and follow Him too. Let Him touch your chronic pain and frustration, feed you, assist you, rescue you, guide you. Jesus heals chronic paralysis, amazes with His brilliant theology and understanding. He feeds thousands of people from a bag of scraps. He walks on water, calms storms. We know enough to pledge our lives to Him. All excuses for dawdling are gone.
John, by writing all this down, has touched more lives as an evangelist than anyone. It’s Powerful Stuff.