Summary: To introduce Jesus as the source of abundant life.
[S] My wife and I were talking on the porch the other morning about some of the trips we’ve taken to our childhood homes and how different they were compared to what we remembered. The house I grew up at in Downers Grove Illinois was a large three story brick home with a large separate two car garage and a large backyard with a big oak tree and a two level tree house that my dad built. Well, when I went back to the Chicago area for a visit I drove by that home and discovered it had shrunk to a two story with a small yard. Going back to see old homestead put it back in proper perspective for me.
It’s interesting how a person’s memory changes over the years isn’t it?
It’s been my personal experience that the same phenomenon happens when it comes to other matters like who Jesus is. A long time Christ follower, Philip Yancey wrote a book titled “The Jesus I Never Knew” where he confessed that the Jesus he knew wasn’t as much like the real Jesus as he thought. And for someone who claims to be a disciple that can be very detrimental.
Today we conclude the series entitled “Jesus as They Knew Him.” A series designed to take the family on a trip back to the homestead contained in the gospels that will help us see Jesus as he really was instead of who he has become, and to realign our lives around this Jesus.
The idea has been to ask the four gospel writers, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, to tell us about the Jesus they knew by asking each of them the following question, “If you could tell us one thing about the Jesus you knew, what would you want us to know?” Today, it’s John’s turn. And I think John would reply by saying, [S] “Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” (John 20.30-31, NIV)
The Jesus that John knew was the promised Messiah who came to give eternal life to those who would buy in to who he is. And John came to that conclusion because that is what the signs pointed to.
[S] Signs come in many shapes and sizes. Take road signs for instance. There are blue signs, brown signs, green signs, orange signs, red signs, yellow signs and white signs. Signs don’t exist for themselves. They typically point to something beyond themselves; a rest area up the road, a state park at the next exit, construction ahead or an intersection to stop at.
John saw the miraculous deeds of Jesus as signs. The miracles were not done so that people would think he was a miracle-worker or a faith healer but were intended to point beyond the immediate event to him as the promised Messiah who had come to offer and provide a better way of life.
One of those signs is found in chapter 6 where Jesus feeds 5,000-20,000 hungry people with a five loaves of bread and a couple of fish. After the event he and the disciples headed to the other side of the lake. The next day the crowd went looking for him.
Reading from 6.25-35 [S], “When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?” Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”
Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” So they asked him, “What miraculous sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? Our forefathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’’”
Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
“Sir,” they said, “from now on give us this bread.” Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” (John 6.25-35, NIV) [S]