Day 15 (March 11), John 6:16-34

John 6:16-34 

Context:  After feeding the 5,000 in miraculous fashion, the disciples row across the Sea of Galilee without Jesus.  He comes to them on the water in the middle of the night, calms a violent storm and brings them safely to land at Capernaum.  The crowds whom he fed followed him, too, along with others heading to the Passover or just fascinated by the stories about Jesus.  Jesus has a pointed conversation with the crowd (disruptive honesty as we discussed in last Sunday’s message) about their motivations in following him: was it to see a sign from God (and respond) or was it really just to gain some kind of blessing and benefits from his miracles?     

Observations:  Why did Jesus let the disciples go off in the boat on their own?  Why didn’t he come to them sooner?  Why do you think the crowd asked, ‘What must we do to be doing the works of God?”  Jesus points them to simply believing in God but the crowd points Jesus to the work of God in bringing the Jews manna from heaven.  They press him for a sign, why is that?

Application:  Is there a storm and circumstance in your life that is troublesome and very discouraging for you?  Use this story to cultivate trust in Jesus’ presence and His ability to work in and through it.  Ask yourself if you are ‘working for the food that perishes or the food that leads to eternal life.’  What adjustments does God want you to make?     

Prayer:  Ask God for his peace in the midst of your storms.  Remember and reflect on ways He has helped you in the past … and be thankful! Express it specifically to Jesus today.  Pray that Evergreen offers a growing sense of God’s peace that surpasses understanding during this season of coronavirus, stock market plunges, shifting values and overall uncertainty.

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Day 14 (March 10), John 6:1-15

Context:  Jesus returns to Galilee from Jerusalem after his Sabbath miracle at the Pools of Bethesda and ensuing ‘trial’ discussion with the Jewish leaders.  We know from the Synoptic gospels he came to Bethsaida where a large crowd gathered around him as they started their sojourn to Jerusalem for the Passover.  In fact, this would be the only Passover in his public ministry he did not spend in Jerusalem.  The crowds swelled to 5,000 men (most likely 20,000 people) and there he performed his fourth authenticating sign, or miracle, that he was, indeed, the Messiah.  The miracle only intensified his popularity in Galilee and people were calling him the great Prophet that Moses predicted would come to usher in a new era in Israel’s history (Deuteronomy 18:15).  Jesus, knowing their intention to make him ‘king’ withdrew again to the mountain.   

Observations:  Why did Jesus asked one of his disciples, Philip, where they could buy bread to feed the multitudes?  The boy mentioned in the passage had 5 barley loaves; this was considered the simplest of Jewish breads and the daily diet of commoners.  Is there a significance to that?  Why did Jesus make so many loaves and fish that there were 12 baskets leftover?  Who do you think distributed the food?

Application:  Reflect on something in your life that you truly NEED God to provide (e.g., finances, a job, relational healing, an open door, a change in your own heart and perspective). Trust Jesus to provide and also ask Him to show you what your part should be in seeing the miracle fulfilled!   

Prayer:  Ask God for his ‘daily bread’ and provision.  Ask him to help you ‘lift your eyes toward heaven’ as Jesus did when he multiplied the loaves and fishes.  Ask the Lord to provide Evergreen with the workers and the financial resources to help us get a New Place, develop New Leaders and see New People get connected to Christ and the Body of Christ.

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