the push | John 6:14-15
When the people saw the sign that he had done, they said, “This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!” Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself. John 6.14-15 | ESV
Suddenly the reality of what just happened dawned on this Passover crowd. Another sign by Jesus. No, the sign. A chorus began rising within the crowd: “This is it! This is the time! And this is the Messianic Prophet, our Deliverer, coming into the world for such a time as this!” Jesus could see exactly where this was going – their next move wasn’t difficult to predict: they would force his hand and proclaim him their Anointed King! So he made a hasty exit, back up into seclusion on the mountain. Just Jesus. Alone. MAV
Thousands of hungry people eat.
Thousands of politically dissatisfied, religiously agitated people.
It doesn’t take long for them to make some connections. Elisha had done something similar to this (with him it was twenty loaves for one hundred men. “And they ate and had some left, according to the word of the Lord”) – but Jesus’ act dwarfs that.
Then their minds go to Moses and manna, but the manna had to be processed. This is ready to eat bread and fish! What else can this man do!?
The chords of political aspirations have now been struck, and the vibration is almost impossible to stop as a murmuring makes it way irresistibly through the crowd. Navi habba, Navi habba. The coming Prophet, the coming Prophet. Messiah. King. General. Conqueror.
The powerful combination of unrest in the wake of the Baptist’s death at Herod’s hand, anticipation at the prospect of Passover, and now a miraculous feeding of thousands. If this Man can multiply bread, could he not do the same with political victories and military triumphs? It’s a political powder-keg and they’re ready to light the fuse, so Jesus backs crowd, disciples, and himself away from it.
How confusing for the crowd filled with such expectations; how difficult for disciples who, with the crowd, were looking for more direct political solutions than the kingdom of God typically offers. And how often we fall right in with them expecting frontal assault power plays reversing political and social order in one fell swoop.
But the reluctant prophet seemingly skulks away after his disciples sail away. Reluctant Savior. Or so it would seem.
And so he seems to us still.
We want the direct intervention, the dramatic demonstration, the hand of heaven that reaches down and visibly rescues us from our besetting sin and circumstances. And with them, we are left scratching our heads when he disappears up the mountain, seemingly uninterested in joining our crusade, leaving us to toss and turn all night…until morning breaks and we stumble about in the dawn of a new day asking the same tired question:
“Where did that Savior of ours go?”
How often do you find yourself approaching Christ as your ultimate personal problem solver? What do you do when he doesn’t seem interested in solving your problems?
Lord, forgive me for using you to get what I need and want. Forgive me for treating you as not much more than a societal/political/cultural/religious toolbox to order and reorder the world as I see it needs it; give me the wisdom to go to a higher place so I can see more clearly with your eyes just how and when and where I need to step out with you. Through Christ.