Summary: This sermon examines the crowds reaction to Jesus’ miracle of feeding the 5000 and his teaching that followed. Their transition from an "excited" crowd to a "grumbling" crowd to an "offended" crowd is traced.
What Happened to the Crowd?
Fortifying the Foundations #15
In John 6 a large number of people begin a journey with Jesus. They have experienced His goodness. They are among the 5000 men plus women and children who enjoy loaves and fishes courtesy of the King of Kings.
Can you imagine the excitement they felt when Jesus multiplied the loaves and fishes?
What an experience! They had already heard Him speak as no man had ever spoken. They had already seen Him heal the sick and deliver the oppressed. They were thrilled at what Jesus has done and eager to see what He will do next.
We begin this morning with the
I. Excited Crowd.
They are so excited they want to make Jesus their king. He must be their king. They will insist that he lead them as king.
Notice what they are saying in verse 14, “Surly this is the Prophet who is to come...”
Moses had prophesied that God would raise up a prophet like himself to lead God’s people into liberty.
Deut 18:15 “The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to him.”
Surely this is the Messiah. Surely this is the One we have been waiting for.
Surely Jesus will free us from the tyranny of Rome, just like Moses freed Israel from the tyranny of Egypt. This is exactly what we need.
Their Excitement is based upon what?
To some extent it was based upon what they had already seen Jesus do—the healings, the miracles, the feeding of the five thousand.
But mostly their excitement was based upon what they EXPECTED Jesus to do for them.
If you’ve got a leader who can supercede the laws of nature— if you’ve got a leader who can heal sick bodies and multiply food supernaturally, you’ve got a good start toward great success.
Life could really get good under Jesus’ leadership.
It’s a wonderful thing to be excited about Jesus. Every one of us should live with a sense of expectation and anticipation of God’s goodness. God is good—all the time.
He is a good God and it is His good pleasure to give us the kingdom.(2)
But the assumptions behind the excitement are crucial. If I am excited about becoming a millionaire this afternoon at 1:00 o’clock, that is good cause to be excited.
But if that excitement is based upon a false assumption then what is going to happen?
If I have assumed that Donald Trump is sending a representative to give me a million dollars this afternoon and if Donald has no intention of doing any such thing, how am I going to feel this evening?
This crowd is excited—but their bubble is about to be burst.
Their excitement is based upon some false assumptions about Jesus—the assumption that Jesus has come to be their political leader, the assumption that Jesus has come to make life easy for them, the assumption that Jesus has come to give them what they want.
How does Jesus respond to their excitement?
First, he sends the disciples away.(3) Why? Because they are vulnerable to the influence of the crowd.(4) They too want Jesus to be a political activist. They too want to move from the bottom of the social ladder to the top. They too want earthly power and influence. That will be evident when the mother of James and John makes her request that each of her boys sit on the right and on the left of Jesus. The disciples’ response to that request and the disciples’ argument over who will be greatest in the kingdom give us a glimpse inside their minds.(5) For their own good Jesus sends them across the lake away from all this excitement.
Then, instead of seizing the momentum of the crowd, Jesus withdrew to the mountain by himself. This crowd saw Jesus send the disciples away on the only boat to the other shore.
They knew Jesus had not gone with them.(6) They did not know about Jesus walking on the waterand rescuing the disciples in the storm. They did not know about how the boat miraculously, immediately arrived at the other side as soon as Jesus joined the disciples.(7)
Eventually the crowd got into boats in search of Jesus. They are looking for Him everywhere.
“How, Jesus, are we going to make you our king when we can’t even find you?
It is a good thing when people search for Jesus. I’m glad for every person sitting in a church this morning. But if there is one thing this chapter teaches us it is this—why we are there searching for Jesus is also important. These people were not apathetic. They were passionately and aggressively trying to find Jesus. They are an excited crowd. You and I would like their church services—lots of energy in the air, lots of enthusiasm, lots of expectation.