Topic: A twisted testimony Text: John 6:14, 41-43
Who is Jesus in Your life? Do you agree that Jesus’ identity has always been a problem with many people even to this day and age. When Jesus was on earth, people did not really know Him nor did they know who He was. Even to this present day, there are people who have doubts regarding Jesus’ true identity. Some doubters and unbelievers will ask Is He really the Son of God? The world has its own perceptions of who Jesus is.
Ones perception of Jesus has a direct influence on how the person relate to Him. Jesus Christ is God in human flesh. Therefore if you perceive God the Son in the wrong way, then your knowledge and appreciation of Him will be wrong. However, if you have a right perception of Him, then your knowledge and relationship with Him will be good. The people who watched Jesus grow up as a young boy had the wrong perception of Jesus. They saw Jesus as “the carpenter’s son” and not as the Son of God. They thought that Jesus was merely a flawed human just like His brothers or siblings. They saw Jesus in the natural and not in the spiritual and such a wrong perception caused them not to honour Jesus for Who He really was.
Chapter 6 opened with the feeding of 5,000. Twelve large baskets were gathered as left over from the five barley loaves. The crowd clapped and danced to do homage for him as king. Read John 2:23-24. Something is wrong with their hearts. Jesus had given them bread as Moses did in the wilderness. They concluded that he was the promised prophet to lead the despised race into truth (Deut. 18:15). They reasoned let us crown Him and proclaim Him king.
What was Jesus stand towards this popular movement? No, he did not say a word, but withdrew into the wilderness. Why did Jesus withdraw? He had no wish to build an earthly kingdom. The crowd failed to understand the aim of the miracles and signs. He could not consent to be crowned by men, knowing that they would cry ‘Hosanna’ one day, and ‘Crucify him’ the next. Christ knows our hearts, and is never led astray. Is he not a king? He is. At the end of his life, Pilate asked him in John 18:33 “Are you the King of the Jews?” and Jesus answered in verse 36, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” In other words, yes, I am a king, but not the way you think I am.
When Jesus says that, he doesn’t mean that this world doesn’t belong to Him. It does. He made it. He will come again to claim it. What He means is: I have come into the world the first time to rule men’s lives not by being their military captain, but by being their bread. I am going to triumph not by subduing armies, but by satisfying souls. I am going to conquer not with the power of armed forces but with the power of radically new appetites. That’s the fundamental mistake of the prosperity gospel. Leave people untransformed in what they crave, and simply add the power of Jesus as the way to get it. That is not the gospel. It is a kind of acclamation that Jesus walks away from. Read John 6:15. He walks away.
Now Jump to verses 41 and 42
John explicitly identifies the problem the Jews had with what Jesus was saying: The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, "I am the bread which came down from heaven." 42 They said, "Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?"
These are people who just the day before ate miraculous bread that was multiplied from just a few loaves to provide an abundance. Their tradition and scripture tell them that in the desert the manna simply appeared every morning. They have no problem conceiving of the idea that bread might appear or be multiplied. What they have a problem reconciling is that Jesus came down from heaven. They know he is a man, they watched him grow up. They presume that the things of heaven are not material and “real”. They are not flesh and blood.
Then look what happens: Jesus answered them, “Do not murmur among yourselves … (John 6:43-45)
Jesus forbade the crowds murmuring against divine revelations. The stubborn spirit hears nothing of God’s Kingdom. As always Jesus is shedding new light on the scriptures. He is saying that the things of Heaven are real. Jesus has not only identified himself as the Messiah but, he is implying that he is God himself. The Jews found it difficult to believe that He is God. You can almost see their faces and some said, "What does he mean? What is he talking about? We know him." They knew his family. His father is Joseph the carpenter, a simple man, untalented in prophetic or special gift. And Mary is his mother, she is not different from other women. They immediately forgot all the wonderful things they had heard Jesus say and do. They forgot the healings, the miracles of restoration, even the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand. They forgot their testimony in verse 14 (messiah, prophet). You can see distortion of a divine fact. This is deliberate attempt to twist or distort facts or evidence. Do you know that there were many in that crowd of people who were now questioning his words, some who had been fed by his hand. In a moment they had forgotten his penetrating wisdom, his gracious words. They began to regard him as an ordinary man. Is my Jesus an ordinary man? No.
Their reaction was to doubt his claim because, of course, they, like many today, were the victims of incomplete facts. They did not have all the evidence they needed, and they were not looking for it either. So soon they had forgotten everything about Jesus, his birth, baptism, temptation, miracles and so on. Even if they knew about all these they had forgotten it.
As I conclude, Jesus answered them, "Do not murmur among yourselves…
Do you think Moses gave you the Manna from heaven? No it was God who gave it. I am not merely another Moses. I am not merely another prophet. I am like Moses. But I am as much greater than Moses as God is greater than Moses. I don’t just give bread of life; I am the bread of life.