Summary: Have you found what you’re looking for? The people in our passage today thought they found what they were looking for in Jesus. But He wouldn’t have anything to do with them. Why was that? Because they were looking for a king, but they were looking for
One of the most popular music groups over the past 25 years has been a band called U2. The lead singer of U2 is a man named Bono. It seems like every couple of years it gets reported that Bono is a professing Christian. I don’t know whether he is or not. I do know that several years ago, he wrote a song that is still one of their most popular songs. It’s called “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.” Throughout the song, he tells of all the experiences he’s had in life, but still hasn’t found what he’s looking for. He’s climbed the highest mountains. He’s scaled city walls. He’s had physical relationships. He says that he’s even spoken with the tongue of angels. But he still hasn’t found what he’s looking for. Then he says something even more interesting. He says that he believes in the Kingdom Come. And then he says, “You broke the bonds and you loosed my chains. Carried the cross of my shame. You know I believe it.” But what does he follow that with? “But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.” Isn’t that sad? To have a head knowledge that Jesus died on the cross to break bonds and loose chains and bear shame… to have that head knowledge and still say, “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.” That’s sad, but how many people do we know who are like that? People who have an understanding of Jesus. They know the Bible stories. They know the basics of the Gospel. But that’s not really what they’re looking for. They’re looking for something else. Just like Bono, they still haven’t found what they’re looking for. We’ve come to a place in our text this morning where we see a group of people who are like that. This great crowd of people had chased Jesus to the Eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee for one reason. Verse 2 says that they followed Jesus there because of the signs that He performed. He had done lots of miracles and they wanted to see more. And when they got there, Jesus had compassion on them and performed another miracle. He fed them. He took five small barley cakes and two small fish and re-created them into enough food to feed 15-20 thousand people. Now the people had their bellies filled. Now they had their needs met. And they liked the feeling. That’s what takes us to our passage this morning. Once the people had their bellies stuffed, they liked that feeling so much that they tried to take Jesus by force and make Him their king. That’s a good thing, isn’t it? We talk all the time about making Jesus our King. So why did Jesus react the way that He did in verse 15? Verse 15 says that when Jesus saw that they were going to make Him their king, “He departed again into a mountain Himself alone.” The word that’s translated “departed” can carry the idea of “fleeing”. In other words, Jesus got outta there in a hurry. They wanted to make Jesus king, but He wasn’t going to have anything to do with the idea. Now, why was that? Because the people wanted to make Jesus the wrong kind of king. They thought they had found what they were looking for. But they were wrong. Because they were looking for the wrong thing. They were looking for a king. But they were looking for the wrong kind of king. So what kind of king were the people in the crowd looking for?
First, they were looking for a king who would fill their stomach. I heard one person describing the crowd as looking for the ultimate welfare program. It was almost as if these people thought that they had won the lottery. I remember when I was little. My friends and I would fantasize about what it would be like to find a genie’s lamp. You know how it goes. If you find a genie’s lamp and rub it, the genie comes out and has to grant you three wishes. We would always talk about what three wishes we would ask for. Well, I have to admit that I ruined the game. I ruined it because I wasn’t satisfied with only three wishes. So I would pick my first two wishes, and then for my third wish, I would ask for three more wishes. I thought it was a good enough plan. When you think about it, that’s what this crowd was doing. They weren’t satisfied with the food they had just eaten. And they just knew there was more where that came from. All they had to do was get the guy that had made it and make him their king. If Jesus was their king, they wouldn’t have to worry about food ever again. It would be just like manna from heaven. They’d have bread all the time. As a matter of fact, that’s why they called Jesus “that prophet” in verse 14. They were referring back to some of Moses’ final words in Deuteronomy 18:15 where he said, “The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken.” They were thinking that Jesus was the coming prophet that Moses talked about. And do you know what? They were right. He was that coming prophet. But even though they got the person right, they got His purpose all wrong. They saw Jesus bring food. They remembered the stories about manna from heaven during Moses’ time. I’m sure they also remembered that when Israel was wandering in the wilderness that their clothes never wore out. And their shoes didn’t wear out. And they had water when they needed it. I’m sure that they remembered how God provided all of Israel’s needs while they were in the wilderness. So when they saw Jesus, they were looking for the same thing. “Jesus, be our king so you can meet all of our needs.” “But not only so you can meet all of our needs, but so we won’t have to make food any more. So we won’t have to make or buy clothes any more. Jesus, come and be our king so our pockets can be as full as our bellies are.” Some things haven’t changed much in 2000+ years, have they? People are still wanting Jesus for what He can do for them. You see it all over the TV and all over our community. It’s called the prosperity gospel. Jesus is here to make you prosperous. If you send in your “faith-seed” of $100, Jesus will give you back ten-fold. Sounds a lot like that genie I was talking about, doesn’t it? If you just rub Jesus the right way, He’ll give you anything that you want. Do you know how Jesus responds to that? The same way He responded to the crowd. He goes away. He will not be your King if that’s the kind of king you’re looking for. If all you want Jesus for is to pay your bills or give you a better job or put nice cars in your garage, He will depart from you alone. The crowd was looking for a king who would fill their stomach. Many people today are looking for a king who will give them their physical desires. Is that the kind of king you’re looking for? But that wasn’t the only kind of king the crowd was looking for.