John 6:1-14 Heavenly resources come by way of one with a heavenly mentality
John 6:1-14 Heavenly resources come by way of one with a heavenly mentality
After these things Jesus went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee (or Tiberias). A large crowd followed Him, because they saw the signs which He was performing on those who were sick. Then Jesus went up on the mountain, and there He sat down with His disciples. Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was near. Therefore Jesus, lifting up His eyes and seeing that a large crowd was coming to Him, said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these may eat?” This He was saying to test him, for He Himself knew what He was intending to do. Philip answered Him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, for everyone to receive a little.” One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to Him, “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are these for so many people?” Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. Jesus then took the loaves, and having given thanks, He distributed to those who were seated; likewise also of the fish as much as they wanted. When they were filled, He said to His disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments so that nothing will be lost.” So they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten. Therefore when the people saw the sign which He had performed, they said, “This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.” John 6:1-14
A large crowd followed Jesus because they saw the miraculous signs that He performed. The crowd occasioned an opportunity to teach the disciples about a heavenly mentality through which they can fulfil the needs of the world. Even with so many needs and so little resources, Jesus employed the resources of heaven and fed 5000 people. This sign not only taught the disciples about a heavenly mentality, the people also saw the signs and testified that Jesus is indeed the Prophet who has come to save the world. Today’s devotion teaches us: Heavenly resources come by way of one with a heavenly mentality.
A large crowd followed Him, because they saw the signs which He was performing on those who were sick.
A large crowd followed despite Jesus going to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. The author recorded the reason: because they saw the signs... People were astounded by the display of supernatural acts which stirred their curiosity. Signs are visible and historical events that carry a message in order to illicit a response of repentance. These signs that Jesus did involve the healing of incurable diseases. And Jesus was about to perform another sign which bear the message: “This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.”
“Where are we to buy bread, so that these may eat?”
Jesus was in fact asking the disciples the question: How are we to provide food for thousands of people when we have so little on our hands? Jesus wanted to invoke in the disciples’ minds the issue of the existential lack of earthly resources and the unlimited resources of heaven. Indeed, there are so many needs and yet so little resources! With so little time, so little manpower, so little resources… how can we start or even begin to tackle the problem. The disciples said in despair, “Two hundred denarii… and five barley loaves and two fish… but what are these for so many people?” Even if they had the resources, it was logistically impossible to gather so much food in so short a time.
Jesus then took the loaves, and having given thanks, He distributed to those who were seated.
How Jesus approached the task of feeding 5000 people with virtually no resources is unbelievably simple: Jesus gave thanks and distributed the food. There is no hint of Jesus even calling out to the Father to multiply the food… He simply gave thanks for God’s provisions.
“This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.”
After the people saw the signs, they concluded that Jesus was indeed the Prophet sent from God to save them. This acknowledgement was for the people the first step towards entering the kingdom of God.
Heavenly resources come by way of one with a heavenly mentality
Jesus has proven to the disciples that He is able to solve world hunger by employing resources from heaven. For Jesus, to feed 5000 with just five barley loaves and two fish is indeed child’s play. However, what is in short supply are not miracles or God’s willingness to perform miracles but men of heavenly mentality. Men of heavenly mentality are the requisite to bringing upon the earth the unlimited resources from above. However, it is only human to look at or be constrained by earthly resources. The way the disciples responded to Jesus’s question was very telling that their minds are still earthly.
What are the features of a regenerated mind that can bring forth the unlimited resource of heaven?
- Heavenly motives… to reveal God to the world. Our motives must first be made right, for many harboured the selfish agenda to serve themselves rather than to serve the community.
- Heavenly Wisdom… to understand divine wisdom, and to discern truth and falsehood. Jesus was tempted by the devil to turn stones into bread (see Matthew 4:3-4). But Jesus understood divine wisdom and rejected the devil’s suggestions. God will not entrust authority to one without divine wisdom and discernment.
- Heavenly inclinations… to see and to become familiar with the supernatural and the workings of the angels. Many read the word, but cannot assimilate the supernatural and heavenly workings of God through scripture. Their minds throw up many questions hindering them from experiencing the things beyond the mainstream, beyond what they can see and understand with their human rationale.
- Desire to encounter God… to communicate with Him and His angels through a myriad of ways. Many are satisfied with the way they communicate with God and are not willing to go out of their comfort zone. Many of such heard the written word (logos) that contains God’s truth. But they cannot hear the spoken word (rhema) readily that contains God’s directives and divine perception for any situation.
God’s communication with men necessitates the use of physical signs
Jesus spoke to the people concerning Himself. But the fact is: most men will not believe that Jesus comes from God until they see signs and wonders. Jesus said to the people,
“Unless you people see signs and wonders, you simply will not believe.” – John 4:48
Nevertheless, God has been using physical signs and the gifts of the Spirit to speak and confirm His message to men. And He has been making known His truth and His directives through physical signs in the Old Testament, and has been doing so in the New Testament era. Hebrews says,
How will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, God also testifying with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will. Hebrews 2:3-4
Therefore, it is important to understand that God’s communication with men necessitates the use of physical signs. Signs carry two purposes:
- To prove that a man is divinely sent by God.
In Acts 14, Paul and Barnabas healed a lame man at Lystra. When the people saw what Paul has done, they said, “The gods have become like men and have come down to us.” (see Acts 14:11b). But Paul replied, “Men, why are you doing these things? We are also men of the same nature as you, and preach the gospel to you that you should turn from these vain things to a living God.” (see Acts 14:15).
- To prove that a directive is divine in nature.
Paul was guided in his missionary journeys by means of signs directed by the Holy Spirit (see Acts 16:6-10).
Many Christians supposed that the bible is all sufficient and that, God no longer speaks outside of the written word. Such have gravely misunderstood the role of scripture in their lives. The written word is that which sets the foundation for truth for sanctification; it is the standard of faith. However, that does not negate the fact that we need circumstantial guidance to make the right decisions. Hence, God still uses miraculous signs to direct believers in the way they should go. The way Paul was directed in his journey by a vision in Acts 16 is a classic example. Until believers are open to physical signs as a means to receive divine directives, we remain unsure in the decisions of life.
Are you overloaded with so many needs? And with so little time, energy and resources that you are falling sick often? Employ a heavenly mentality in choosing your ministry carefully. Discern with divine wisdom, for not all who cry for help ought to be helped. Start small and build deep by gathering those who are hungry for the word and disciple them. Read the word, take time to explore spiritual gifts and learn to work with the angels. Much work can be done through the angels without your direct involvement.
Be relentless in seeking out a minister who is able to operate in miraculous signs and serve under his ministry. A heavenly mentality involves acquiring right motives, divine wisdom with discernment and the ability to communicate with God through the gifts of the Spirit.
Dear Lord, create in me a pure heart. Reveal to me divine wisdom as I meditate on your word. Show me more of your glory and your power through your angels. Speak to me continually so that I may know you and see you more clearly. In Jesus’s name I pray. Amen.