Object Lesson: What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?
Several crucial events have taken place. Jesus has been rejected by the people of Nazareth - "a prophet without honor" in his hometown. John the Baptist has been beheaded after a time of imprisonment - surely creating despair among his disciples, many of who followed Jesus. Jesus has now caught wicked Herod's attention. And Jesus has progressed in his training program, sending out the disciples in pairs to begin ministering on their own.
You will note that John presents the unfolding events of this day as a pivotal time in Jesus' ministry. He alone records Jesus' discourse (sermon) on the Bread of Life. He also makes it clear that a crisis developed that resulted in the desertion of many disciples. (John 6:66) Jesus had confronted the misdirected faith of the crowds, which were seeking temporal blessings rather than eternal life. (See John 6:14,15) It was also a time of testing for the Twelve. Were they ready to live by faith rather than sight? And to trust Him rather than appearances?
Jesus was seeking solitude and a place to pray. But the crowd followed after him, in such haste that they failed to take provisions with them.
How did Jesus react to this crowd? (34) and why?
How and why did Jesus put the faith of his disciples to the test? (Cf John 6:6) To those with faith, were the loaves and fishes enough?
Visualize the orderly process by which Jesus fed the multitude. The arrangement of the people in groups. The baskets full of scraps.
The feeding of the 5,000 is a misnomer because they only counted the men. The women and children present were not counted. Considering the arrangement of the people in groups, it must be an accurate count.
Put yourself in the the sandals of the twelve. What lessons would you have learned from this event?
The boat was 2-3 miles from land, bucking a strong head wind that often sweeps across the sea of Galilee. It is dark and a storm has developed. The fourth watch would be between 3 and 6 A.M. Rowing, their backs towards the bow, they were facing the direction Jesus was coming from. And in this frightening situation a figure looms out of the darkness like a Ghost! And unlike the previous time, Jesus is not in the boat with them to still the waves.
How did they react when they saw him? How did Jesus calm their fears?
What a picture for us! Jesus praying on the hillside, interceding for his disciples rowing into the storm. Jesus coming to them in the midst of the tempest. The Lord is with us all the time.
When Peter had his eyes fixed on Jesus, he walked on water. But when he saw the wind, and was afraid, he began to sink. Jesus relates it to a small faith, and doubt.
Ponder and Comment on these verses.
Faith is trusting in God rather than what we see. What are some "big, seemingly impossible" things God calls you to do? What are some examples appropriate for children.
By faith, we know Jesus is always with us, even though He may not be seen. He watches over us and can still the storms that threaten us. Think of some examples where this truth might be an encouragement to a child.
You of little faith, why do you doubt?
Acts 2:22 uses three words:
Characteristics of Jesus' miracles:
Miracles often, where faith and repentance was lacking failed to accomplish their purpose of establishing Jesus' authority as God's Son. Jesus himself sometimes confined the working of miracles to situations where some degree of faith was already present; and often used them to strength faith in Him.
See Trench. Notes on the Miracles of Our Lord. Edersheim. The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah. for more on Jesus' miracles.