Musings From the Gospel of John – Number 12

In John 6:15 we are told that Jesus knew that the people were going to come and try by force, to make Him their king so He withdrew, by Himself, to the mountain side. This would be right after the feeding of the 5000, so we are talking about a considerable number of people. You recall that Jesus told us in John 18:36 that His kingdom was not of this world, not of this realm. God the Father had a greater purpose for His Son and of course Jesus, who perfectly followed the will of the Father, knew it and so He withdrew, alone, by Himself, to the mountain side. John doesn’t tell us what Jesus did during His time alone on the mountainside but I’m thinking, as Jesus so often did, He would have been spending time communing with His Father, in prayer.

Where Jesus explains that His kingdom is not of this realm, in John 18:36, continually draws us to the realization that the physical material reality that we so often focus our attention on, is not the greater reality, where God our Father is. Bridging that gap between the physical and spiritual realities, is one of the reasons why God our Father, sent us His Son. And of course, time and time again, Jesus continually draws our attention to the contrast between the two realities. And as you also recall, many of the Jews were looking for the Messiah, who they presumed, would free them from their Roman conquerors, as presumedly foretold by the Prophet Isaiah. I am including a link here, which provides a short overview on the dualism of Christ’s coming, and the misunderstanding that many of the Jews held about the Messiah’s kingdom. What is noteworthy to observe is that Jesus did not validate their misunderstanding.

Next we have John’s record of what transpired while the disciples were making their way across the Sea of Galilee to Capernaum.

John 6:16-21 NASB

“Now when evening came, His disciples went down to the sea, and after getting into a boat, they started to cross the sea to Capernaum. It had already become dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. The sea began to be stirred up because a strong wind was blowing. Then, when they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near to the boat; and they were frightened. But He *said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.” So they were willing to receive Him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.

John doesn’t make mention of Peter’s attempt of walking on the water as recorded in Matthew 14:26-31 but John does indicate that once Jesus got into the boat, “immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.”

Here, once again, we see an instance when Jesus demonstrates His authority and control over the normal physical limits of our physical realm. Try to put yourself in their shoes. A strong wind was blowing and the sea was rough and they had rowed about half way across the sea when Jesus approaches them, walking on the water. Matthew, Mark and John all record this happening (Mark 6:45-52). They are all taken aback at what they see and frightened or afraid, which is understandable. Peter calls to Jesus so that he can be with Jesus on the water, Jesus calls Peter, Peter succeeds for a while and then starts to fall into the water and Jesus reaches out and grabs him and Peter and Jesus get into the boat. The wind calms down and then they are immediately transported to their destination on the shore, which is a distance of approximately three miles without rowing.

Matthew, Mark and John all attest to this and their testimony says that all the disciples were in the boat. This is their written witness. This is their testimony. This is their experience. They had all just seen Jesus feed a huge number of men, women and children with 5 loaves of bread and two fish and now they see Jesus walking on water AND once He gets into their boat, the storm calms down and they immediately arrive at their destination. Just off the top of your head, had you been there, what would you be thinking?

I continually try to comprehend the realizations that must have been going through their hearts and minds as they witnessed these things. These realizations are accumulative, culminating in the crucification and resurrection of Jesus. And as we all are aware, the accumulative list of miracles, healings and especially the words of truth that Jesus both spoke and demonstrated, paint a picture of Jesus that simply defies all common logic of Jesus being just an ordinary human being.

John 6:22-25 covers the movement and the mindset of some of the crowd that were at the feeding of the 5000 until they located Jesus and the disciples on the other side of the Sea of Galilee. Their question to Jesus is logical because they had seen the disciples depart from the other side of the sea without Jesus.

John 6:26-29 NASB reads as follows: “Jesus answered them and said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.” Therefore they said to Him, “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”

It’s interesting to note that Jesus indicates that they were seeking Him, to see signs or for spiritual enlightenment or understanding but rather to have their physical requirements of food, met. Considering that these were some of the people that wanted to make Jesus king, this observation on Jesus’ part is noteworthy. Their focus was wrong and short sighted and Jesus immediately points to the spiritual realm reality, where His words, when believed, lead to eternal life.

Jesus addresses Himself as the “Son of Man”. Here is a link that provides the background on this terminology that Jesus frequently uses about Himself.

Then note that Jesus tells us that God the Father has set His seal on Him (the Son of Man). What does this mean? It means that everything that Jesus says, everything that Jesus does, literally comes via the Father (John 14:9-11). Not only that but three times within the Gospels it is recorded that God the Father voices His approval for the Son and commands us to listen to Him (Matthew 3:17, Luke 9:35 and John 12:28).

And then finally, for this particular post we have one of the most important statements that Jesus ever made, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”

Our righteousness, in God the Father’s eyes, is the righteousness of Jesus, that is imputed onto us, when we believe in the Son, whom He has sent.

Romans 3:21-26 NASB

“But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”

Through our faith in Christ, the righteousness of God is given to us. This is called “imputed” righteousness. To impute something is to ascribe or attribute something to someone. When we place our faith in Christ, God ascribes the perfect righteousness of Christ to our account so that we become perfect in His sight.

2 Corinthians 5:21 NASB

“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!

12 comments

  1. Thank you, Bruce, for this wonderful narrative of GOD the FATHER’s love to us through JESUS CHRIST His SON. This set of verses attest that JESUS–the Son of Man, is trully the SON of GOD and that He is clearly was sent by GOD the FATHER; that we should believe in JESUS as our Lord and Savior. Also, for those who wanted for a political messiah, it was not time for them yet to see the light why the FATHER sent His SON. Everything was and is according to His will so His divine purpose will prevail that JESUS will be and is the propitiation of our sins.

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  2. Thanks, Bruce. Sadly, millions upon millions of souls are attempting to merit their salvation under the banner of “Christianity,” but what they’re practicing isn’t Christianity at all.

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    • Hi Tom, I understand what you mean. I spent a couple of years studying the history and a good number of the doctrines of the RC church a few years ago, but it’s been a while. Consequently I applaud you for the continuous effort and study that you do and especially for the tone that you maintain. I don’t necessarily make a judgement on all RC’s because I do think that there are some Christians within their fold but it is “in spite of” and not “because of” their doctrines and practises, especially with regard to the sacraments and the priesthood. I don’t know how you feel about that. I think I still have a couple of pretty thick books on the RC church in my library. Like you obviously know, one can easily spend one’s life just keeping up with it. Blessings Tom.

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      • Thanks, Bruce. I appreciate your comments. The Lord brought me out of the RCC and gives me the desire to continue to examine its theology, history, and current developments in comparison to God’s Word. I certainly agree with you that there are undoubtedly Catholics who read or hear the genuine Gospel from an outside source and accept Jesus Christ as Savior by faith alone, but the Holy Spirit will eventually lead them out. The Gospel has never been preached in a RC church. Many evangelicals recoil at such a statement, but they don’t know Catholicism.

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      • “In spite of and not because of their doctrines “ this could be said of the many denominations or non denominations.
        I find it odd that protestants are quick throw out “there’s no perfect church” when those of their own stripes and beliefs make “mistakes”. And yet, that grace is never passed down to the catholic church.
        If you can’t condemn all religious factions, you shouldn’t condemn any.
        Either the RCC is the mother of ALL the harlots or she’s like the rest of them, imperfect and trying to follow Jesus as best she can. Either way, she’s the first to take Christianity mainstream.

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