Summary: Who was Jesus? This sermon explores the answer to that question.

A Mistaken Identity

John 6:4-15

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.

Read through the Gospels and you will be amazed

at the misunderstanding which surrounded the Savior.

Point #3. Some people believe Jesus was just a man.

In Mark chapter 6, Mark tells us what happened

when Jesus came home to visit His family, His friends;

the people who had watched Him grow into manhood.

Today it is customary, when a native Son makes good,

for the people of His hometown to proudly claim him.

On every major road that leads into the community,

the town puts up a sign which says: "The birthplace of..."

or "The boyhood home of..."

and then they name the famous individual.

I think Bone Gap should put up a sign

like that for Cy Warmoth.

He grew up in Bone Gap

and became a Major League baseball player.

He pitched for the Washington Senators back in the 1920s.

In one game, he struck out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.

The same Jesus who had taught great crowds,

who had driven out demons, who had healed many people;

who had cleansed a leper,

who had made a lame man walk again;

who had raised a dead girl back to life;

Jesus was coming home.

John tells us that the people who should have known Jesus best,

who had seen Him grow up, were pretty much unimpressed.

They turned to each other and asked, "Isn't this the carpenter?"

They said to each other, "Isn't this Mary's Son?"

The reference to Jesus being the "Son of Mary"

wasn't a flattering remark, either.

In the first century, sons were known by their father’s names.

To associate Jesus with His mother was a real put down.

The people of Nazareth weren't done.

They knew this guy; they knew His family,

and they weren't impressed.

It wasn't the first time Jesus had been misunderstood.

It certainly would not be the last.

Jesus came to fulfill His Father's plan to save us from our sins.

Jesus came to give His life as a ransom for our souls;

but people don't want to hear that.

They don't want to admit they are helpless

They don't want to confess that if they are going to be saved,

that salvation must be built completely and totally

upon the work Jesus completed upon the cross

and guaranteed at His empty tomb.

Jesus, for them, is misunderstood.


Jesus is the bridegroom coming some day for His bride, the church!

To be your Savior from sin is why He was born into this world.

To be your Savior, so you might be accepted into heaven,

Jesus put up with opposition, and misunderstanding,

far beyond anything we have experienced.

So you might live forever, Jesus died.

Jesus is your Savior.