Today’s Scripture Focus: John 6:1-21
Have you had any long days this week? During the spring, daylight hours grown longer. We think of this in a positive way, but when we talk about having had a “long day”, we seldom mean it in a good way. Long days usually mean we’ve had to work especially hard, or travel a long distance, or go through some special circumstances. Even on long days that are good, we usually end them exhausted and ready for sleep! Today’s scripture focus details a very long spring day in the life of Jesus and the disciples. In it, Jesus will minister to 5,000, spend time in seclusion on a mountain, and walk on the water in a storm—all in a 24 hour period.
Remember that John is the “feast” gospel and the “sign” gospel. It contains seven signs that prove Jesus is God, and most of them take place during feasts or special occasions. In other words, there’s a lot of eating and drinking in the book of John. In chapter six, Passover is drawing near again. This is the second Passover spoken of in John. This time, instead of traveling to Jerusalem, Jesus is on the east side of the Sea of Galilee. A crowd of 5000 has gathered there. Such a large crowd would normally only be seen at Jerusalem during a feast, but this time they are skipping the festivities to follow Jesus.
Phillip was from Bethsaida, the closest town, so it makes sense that Jesus would ask him where to buy bread. Any time Andrew is mentioned in scripture, he is bringing someone to Jesus. This time he brings a boy with a meal. Barley was the food of those who couldn’t afford the more nutritious and better tasting wheat. Jesus gave thanks for it, then performed a miraculous sign before the crowds by giving them more than enough food. The crowds still didn’t recognize Him as God. They wanted to make Him their king so He could keep providing for them, so Jesus withdrew to a place He knew He wouldn’t be followed.
In ancient times, there were two areas people believed were controlled by demons—mountain tops and seas. In today’s scripture, Jesus shows He is Master of both. At the end of this very long day, the disciples were fighting against a terrible storm. Jesus walked on top of the raging sea and spoke to them. Here’s the best translation of what Jesus said: “I AM”. He wasn’t simply saying “hey guys; it’s me, Jesus.” He was saying “I’m God, and there is no reason to be afraid, for I’m in control.” Jesus had been with the disciples that day on the mountain and in the storm, and had showed them that He was the great I AM.
- Go around the table and share prayer requests. Have someone lead in prayer.
- Let everyone who would like to share anything exciting from their week.
- Ask these three questions. Let as many answer each one as they would like.
Why do you think Jesus gave thanks before breaking the bread? Who was Jesus thanking?
So many of Jesus’ miracles involve food and water. What does it mean to be spiritually hungry?
What “long days” have you had recently? Were they long for good reasons, bad reasons, or both? How does it help to know that Jesus is God of the long days?