Call to worship: Psalm 107:17-32
Text: John 6:1-21
Given opportunity to expand upon the Father's testimony to His divinity, Jesus takes occasion by a great crowd near Passover to do, perhaps, His greatest work prior to His death and resurrection. All four Gospels record it and, again, it will serve as an object lesson, an attention-grabber for the identity of Jesus and the word of His cross. As the disciples find themselves confronted by an impossible task, given the resources at their disposal, Jesus displays the sufficiency of His power and grace for every deed by this great one. As it's accomplished, He further demonstrates His mission by refusing to be taken king and captain by the people. His Kingdom is not of this world. While He distances Himself and His disciples from the hysteria, they head to Capernaum without Him. A storm assaults them on the sea. In their trouble, so often the gift after great works, Jesus comes to them, walking on the sea. He comforts them and brings them safely to shore. Another miracle has occurred and, in the process, we're taught that for every deed and time of need, Jesus is all-sufficient. May we lay it lastingly to heart.
- The setting of Christ's divine sufficiency. (6:1-4)
- The question of Christ's divine sufficiency. (6:5-9)
- The exercise of Christ's divine sufficiency. (6:10-13)
- The misapprehension of Christ's divine sufficiency. (6:14-15)
- The reaffirmation of Christ's divine sufficiency. (6:16-21)
- Read John 6:1-21. In tandem, read Psalm 107:17-32 in light of the Exodus account.
- In 6:1-4, how does John set up this miracle of Jesus? What details does he include, and how do they hint at what this miracle teaches us about Jesus? Keep 5:36 also in mind. An apologetic matter: for much of the last 300 years, it's been common to explain away the miracles of Jesus. When people do that, what else are they necessarily doing?
- In 6:5-13, what do you suppose Jesus is after by His question (testing) of Philip? As His disciples look out on the world, what is one thing we must absolutely know and always keep in mind? How does this miracle rebuke, exhort, encourage, etc. our 'meager resources' in light of the great task Christ has set before us? Are we more or less mere pragmatists, or prayerful doers? Is our capacity for ministry and its impact strictly in relationship to our capacity or more? If we restrict what we can do by what we can do, or root the efficacy of our ministry in our own man-strength, have we made an idol? Why or why not? How so? What does Jesus do in this miracle? How do the disciples participate? What lesson do you take away from it?
- In 6:14-15, the beneficiaries of His divine sufficiency do grasp that something monumental has happened. How do we know that? What do they say of Jesus? Is it a sufficient understanding of Him? What do they want to make of Jesus? How does Jesus respond? How is His response the same as His response to Satan in the temptation narrative? What is the temptation here, and why is our salvation wrapped up in Christ's refusal?
- In 6:16-21, John compresses the equally famous narrative of Christ's walking on the sea. How might it connect to what's just preceded it? What tends to follow mountain-top experiences for Christ's disciples? How would you describe the situation here? What's the difference between their situation before and after Jesus shows up? What does Jesus say to them? What is the effect of His presence? What comforts do you find in it?