The Master and the disciples had been experiencing great success in the areas around Galilee. The events recorded in John 6 are: 1. The sign in the wilderness, (John 6:1-14); 2. The storm on the sea, (John 6:15-21); 3. The sermon on the shore (John 6:22-71). The sermon shows the sudden, tragic end to the great crowds hanging on every word of the Good Shepherd. The evening before the Teacher had fed 5,000 using the lunch of a young boy, thus clearly showing He had created matter out of nothing. The crowds were astounded at the creative power of the Galilean Teacher and decided they would take Him by force (John 6:15) and make Him king!
Jesus, knowing the crowd’s intention, sent the disciples away in a boat to sail to the west side of the Sea of Galilee. The disciples encountered a life threatening storm on the sea. Jesus came to their rescue walking on the sea and delivered them safely to their destination.
The next morning Jesus taught a lesson that ended His ministry to large crowds. “As a result of this many of His disciples left, and would no longer walk with Him…” Jesus must have been deeply disturbed at the loss of so many followers. It was a difficult lesson to teach. The lesson made clear that the Master would not cater to the ambitions and desires of people whose only desire was to have His power at their disposal to insure the success of their wishes.
The crowd saw the miracle in the sign but did not see the sign in the miracle. John, writing his Gospel in the Greek language, always used the Greek word for sign when writing about one of His miracles, not the Greek word for miracle used in the other Gospels. Jesus was making a profound statement concerning His identity when He created so much food from such a small meal designed for one child. He was demonstrating His identity as God the Creator. His purpose in giving them the sign was to have them worship Him as God the Creator, not to have them seize Him and have Him lead them in a war to expel the Roman army from their country.
The lesson here is that we are not to think the Good Shepherd exists to use His powers to do our will. Rather, we exist to do His will. Today, may each of us see the sign in the miracle and may each one of us sing joyfully Isaac Watts beautiful words as follows:
My dear almighty Lord,
My Conqu’ror and my King,
Thy scepter and Thy sword,
Thy reigning grace I sing:
Thine is the pow’r; behold, I sit
In willing bonds beneath Thy feet.