Sandwiched between two amazing miracles is a Bible verse that has transformed my way of thinking about my life and how I react to others. John 6:1-21 tells the famous story of Jesus feeding the five thousand and then walking on water to join the rest of the disciples. The other gospels simply say He fed the people, told the disciples to go ahead of Him and He went into the mountains to pray, but John gives a different perspective. John 6:15 offers a deeper insight into why Jesus went alone into the mountains and why He sought solitude after such an amazing miracle.
Let me provide some context. In Chapter 5 of John we are introduced to the man at the pool of Bethesda. Jesus heals him and the Pharisees miss the miracle of a healed man and focus on the ‘work’ he does by carrying his mat. This blame is then transferred to Jesus who is not only breaking the Sabbath but also claiming to be equal with God (V18). Jesus then proceeds to tell them from V19-47 that they refuse to believe Him despite the presence of a witness in John the Baptist and the prophets of old who spoke of Him. He makes it clear that even though they have read and know the scriptures they still lack the belief in Him.
YOU CAN KNOW ABOUT GOD YET MISS HIM WHEN HE’S RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU BECAUSE OF UNBELIEF.
The people who doubted Jesus were looking for more and more signs that He was the Saviour however they refused to believe Him. The Jews were looking for a mighty saviour who would deliver them from the oppression of Rome, they did not realise God was offering a more permanent form of deliverance. Preoccupied by the need to get salvation from Rome, they sought to find a way to make Jesus the King that would deliver them.
In Chapter 6, now we see how Jesus shows the ability to feed a multitude of people when He uses 5 loaves and 2 fishes from a little boy. Not only did He manage to feed everyone in attendance, there were leftovers. There are a myriad of lessons we can learn from that miracle, however, it is very clear (John 6:14) that those who were in attendance saw and started to believe in Jesus’ ability to be the Saviour they needed. They started to harken back to the Scriptures which said a prophet would come to this world. The words of Moses (Deuteronomy 18:15,18) started to come to mind and they started to believe that they finally had their saviour. After all those years of their people being oppressed and after foreigners taking over their land, they would finally have someone to deliver them. Hope was back again, and Jesus was to be the King that would see them break free from the grip of Rome.
YOU CAN KNOW ABOUT GOD AND MISS THE BIGGER BLESSING RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU BECAUSE YOU WANT HIM TO BEND TO YOUR WILL.
We now know that Jesus had come for a different purpose but we have the luxury of hindsight which they didn’t, but how often do we do the same thing and try to get Jesus to defeat our version of Rome whilst rejecting his offer to give us eternal life.
Now that we have the back story, let's dive into verse 15. John 6:15 – “When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone” (KJV). Jesus saw that these people were finally accepting Him but for the entirely wrong reason, so He leaves and goes to be in solitude. They saw Jesus do something miraculous and sought to employ Him to apply that same miraculous power in their own lives. Jesus is very much aware of this and instead of indulging them, He goes away from the whole situation.
There are so many times when I claim Jesus doesn’t want to help me, however, He has been trying for the longest time, to improve the bigger picture and I’m getting mad that He won't fix the thing I’m perceiving to be big. Jesus had just fed the five thousand then He departed into solitude. It is clear that Jesus wants to meet our needs but not at the expense of us losing our salvation. The feeding of the five thousand did not stop humanity’s salvation but Jesus taking on the mantle of earthly king would have done just that. So sometimes we see God do a miraculous thing in one part of our lives but not the other and instead think He has forsaken us. We need to think about whether or not the thing we are asking for is going to serve the will of God, if not, then it makes sense why the Lord would choose to have no part in it.
God has granted us with individual gifts, talents, personalities and experiences that are amazing in their own right. He has also put within us a purpose and has a will for each of us. People, whether it be friends, family or strangers, will notice the gifts we have and the miraculous things God is doing through us and with us, and may seek to exploit them for their own gain. For example, many grow up being pushed to be a doctor, lawyer, pastor or engineer because that is the expectation of the family/society they are born into. Just like the people forcing Jesus to be king meant well, our families and friends can also have good intentions but that doesn’t mean we should bend to their will and reject God’s calling on our lives. IF YOU ARE BEING FORCED TO DO OR BE SOMETHING THAT TAKES YOU AWAY FROM GOD WILL FOR YOUR LIFE – DEPART! Jesus understood that His mission was to come and offer salvation for all those that believed in Him. Jesus was to fulfil the will of God and complete His role in the plan of salvation. It was only because of His understanding and dedication to the fulfilment of the will of God that Jesus had the strength to walk away. You need to understand what God has in store for you, the knowledge of the will of God will give you the strength to walk away from anything else that isn’t aligned.
The reason this verse was so powerful to me when I read it is because I know how hard it is to want to meet the expectations that others place on you. Some of these might be implied and some expressed, but I have definitely felt the weight of these from a very young age. I based my self-worth on my ability to meet expectations from external sources. I got the good grades in school, I was active in church and did all the things on paper that met the expectations set on me whilst I ignored the will of God. The worst thing is, people see these things and see it as an opportunity to get you to help them fulfil their needs since you look capable of doing so – a vicious cycle.
God did not give me intelligence for me to become a smart sinner, He gave it to me so I could use it to better fulfil His will. I was not given the church leadership positions so my parents could be proud of me but so I could serve God and His people. Just as Jesus had the power to perform miracles and used it to fulfil God’s will, we should be doing the same thing. No matter how much it might seem like you are disappointing people, it is so much more important to do the will of God.
YOUR VALUE IS NOT BASED ON YOUR ABILITY TO MEET EXTERNAL EXPECTATIONS.
Jesus saw it fit to die for you, you were worthwhile to Him without having done anything. Remove yourself from anything that tells you otherwise, depart from anything else that forces you into someone you aren’t meant to be and run away from that which turns you away from doing the will of God.
About the Author
My name is Tinopuwanashe (Tino) Masanga. I am a singer/songwriter from Nottingham with a passion for sharing what God has done for me through music and now through writing. I love planes, dad jokes and connecting with people.
Even though I grew up in the church, it took me a while to develop my own relationship with God. Chasing after Him and growing that relationship has been a humbling and transformative experience. I look forward to sharing all that I am learning and experiencing so if you wanna be a part of the journey:
find me on Instagram @_tino.masanga