Summary: This sermon looks at how many have selfish reasons for following Jesus. The premise is that many say that they love Jesus, when in reality they don’t love Him per say but really only for what He gives them.
Maybe you were one of the millions who were glued a few months back to their television sets to watch the final episode of the Fox reality show, “Joe Millionaire”? The premise of the show was that they would take an ordinary guy making a working man’s salary, clean him up, put him up in a castle in France and then tell a number of ladies that he was heir to a fortune and whoever he picks will be his girl. The test would be that when the last girl is chosen, the truth would be told that he was not really a millionaire and we would see if she loved him for who he was or for his money.
Now if you watched the conclusion of that show, you know the woman did choose to stay with Joe millionaire, even though he was really only Joe hourly wage earner. For this choice, the show gave both the girl and the guy a million dollars to split between them. It had seemed true love had blossomed but soon after the show ended, their love quickly dissolved.
Now what made that show so appealing to many is that they knew that those women could have cared less if it was Joe, Tom, Dick or Harry…as long as millionaire was his last name, and they wanted to see their response when they found out who he truly was. Because we know that so many relationships are not built on love for the other person, but on a selfish motive focusing on what can I get from it.
You might remember the reaction people gave former Guess Jeans model Anna Nicole Smith when she married Texas millionaire J. Edward Marshall who was old enough to be her to be her Great Grandfather, and when she told the world she married him not for his money, but because she loved him. People simply laughed and said, “Right.”
I love you not because of who you are, but rather what you can do for me. Does that sound familiar? We don’t say it, but we are often guilty of it. We’re guilty of building relationships based on selfish motivation.
Perhaps it’s with somebody at your work. If you get in good with him, he’ll help you get to the top. And though you can’t stand his attitude or lack of morals, for your career sake you call him your friend. Or you seek out a friend who is well known so that you could become part of the hip crowd. We often do things for less than honorable reasons. When I was a kid, I once became friends with a guy simply because I thought his sister was cute. I’m not proud of that, especially since she never took a liking to me, but like others, I sought a relationship not because I cared about that person, but because of what I could obtain from it.
Today, we heard the story how the people flocked to Jesus. It was wonderfully read I must say, and it’s wonderful to hear how once word spread about Jesus how the people came to Him. And when the crowds swelled and followed Jesus to a distant spot, the bible says that He looked at them and had compassion for them. I love that phrase. And since it was to far for them to get home for supper, Jesus decided to feed them then and there.
And here is where we see the miracle of the fish and loaves. Jesus took two fish and five loaves of bread and fed 5000 men. Some commentators say that when you count the women and children who were present that number could swell to nearly 15,000, and they still had left-overs. That night Jesus walked on the water and crossed the lake with His disciples, and the next morning when the crowd awoke, the sought out Jesus. That’s the good news. They wanted to be with Jesus. That’s good. But what is not so good is why they wanted to be with Jesus.
The bible makes it clear that Jesus knows the hearts of all men. That means that He not only knows what you do, but He also knows why you do it. He knows what the hidden motive of your actions, and whether they are pure or impure, and Jesus knew why these people had followed Him.
In John’s gospel, we find the same account, but with some added details. John 6:25-26 says, “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.”