Summary: Who was Jesus? This sermon explores the answer to that question.
A Mistaken Identity
4 Now the Passover, a feast of the Jews, was near.
5 Then Jesus lifted up His eyes, and seeing a great multitude coming toward Him, He said to Philip, "Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?"
6 But this He said to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do.
7 Philip answered Him, "Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little."
8 One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to Him,
9 "There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?"
10 Then Jesus said, "Make the people sit down." Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. 11 And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted.
12 So when they were filled, He said to His disciples, "Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost."
13 Therefore they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten.
14 Then those men, when they had seen the sign that Jesus did, said, "This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world."
15 Therefore when Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone.
Mistaken identity is not an uncommon thing.
Our Bible passage today in the Gospel of John
is a case of mistaken identity.
Jesus is not who they thought he was.
Point #1. Some people believe Jesus was just a wise teacher.
Imagine you are a Jew in Palestine more than 2,000 years ago.
You hear about a man named Jesus
who is teaching and healing people.
You decide you want to hear him.
Is he really a man sent from God?
You don’t know.
You only know him by reputation.
You want to find out for yourself.
So you go to where Jesus is teaching,
ut the meeting lasts longer than you expected.
Jesus keeps teaching and healing people into the afternoon.
People are sitting there in awe at his wisdom.
It’s all you had hoped it would be and more.
However, your stomach is beginning to growl.
You came expecting that the event would last an hour or so.
You hadn’t even thought to pack a lunch.
Is there a village nearby where you can grab a sandwich?
Then you notice the Teacher talking to one of his associates.
The Teacher asks, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?”
One of the Teacher’s associates, a man named Philip,
can see how hopeless the situation is.
“It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”
You’re thinking, We’re on top of a mountain.
How are you going to get the food up here
even if you had the funds to buy it?
But everyone starts sitting down.
Then the Teacher does something unbelievable.
The Teacher takes 5 small barley loaves the boy had with him,
says a prayer over them,
and then starts passing the bread among the crowd.
Five thousand men, no telling how many women and children?
Five tiny barley loaves?
Who’s he kidding?
Then he does the same with the small fish.
But something miraculous is happening.
The more bread that is eaten, the more bread there seems to be.
The same thing is happening with the fish.
Five barley loaves and 2 small fish
and thousands of people are being fed.
“That’s impossible,” you think as you reach out for your share.
What’s happening here?”
People came to see a carpenter who built cabinets and tables
and instead they found themselves
in the presence of the one who created the universe.
Make no mistake about it.
Jesus was more than a wise teacher.
Point #2. Some people believe Jesus was a law breaker.
Many people today believe
we should observe all the Old Testament laws.
They think heaven awaits those who obey those old laws.
They simply cannot accept the grace offered to them
through faith in what Jesus has done for them.
Jesus was misunderstood by the Pharisees
who considered Him a blasphemer, heretic,
who was trying to rewrite God's Scripture
and disregard His laws.
The priests of Jesus' day thought of Jesus as competition,
a false prophet, guiding the people down a path of destruction.