The Crowd That Decided To Force Jesus
So Jesus just finished feeding the 5,000 and there are all these baskets filled with leftovers floating around. And the people realize he performed a miracle to produce food to feed them. So this miraculous provision of bread and fish brings to their minds the miraculous bread Moses called down from heaven, the manna. And it also brings to mind something Moses once said. He said: “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers–it is to him you shall listen…” (see Deuteronomy 18:15-18) And this idea runs through the crowd, people are saying to each other, “This is the guy. This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world!” (John 6:14-15)
And they’re right. Jesus is the prophet Moses was referring to. But then another idea runs through the crowd, they decide to make Jesus king by force. This was something that happened occasionally in those times. The people would gather around a popular person who they wanted to be their king, and if the person was unwilling, they would make him king anyway. They would take him by force and make him their king. That’s what the people decided to do with Jesus. They decided to force him to be their political leader, the head of their government. After all, this king can provide food for the hungry on demand.
When I Force Jesus
But what the Israelites wanted to do that day went against the will of Jesus and his Father. Jesus would later say that his kingdom was not of this world, not political in nature. He didn’t want the top position in a government organization. Jesus didn’t want to be king in the way the Israelites wanted him to, but that didn’t stop the Israelites. They decided to make him the king of their government anyway. It was only because Jesus withdrew into the mountains that they didn’t.
This speaks to me in a deep and profound way, because I do the same thing, and maybe, if you’re honest about it, you do too. Like the Israelites, I want Jesus. I don’t want to get rid of him, I don’t want him out of my life. But I want him in the way I want him, regardless of what he wants.
I want him to wave his hand and make my thing happen. I want him to make my world what I want it to be. I have my vision, my plan, my program, my agenda, and I want to force Jesus to get on board–with what I’m doing and how I believe my world should be. I even want him to make the people around me behave in the way I feel they should behave. I want Jesus but I want to keep him in his place, the place I’ve decided to put him. I want him to be my king, but on my terms.
Man, that is so messed up.
“Lord, forgive me.”
“Lord, forgive us.”
“And please, intervene in our lives and do whatever You know to be best, to cause us to love You so much that our own agendas fall away. Intervene and help us to love You so much that we live to do Your will, that we live to bless You, that we live to please You. Take away our expectations. Bless us with an enthusiasm for whatever you bring our way in life. Fill us with Your Holy Spirit and direct our steps to walk in Your ways. And help us to let go of our way. In Jesus name.”
Image via runran – Creative Commons