John 6:1 ¶ After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias. 2 And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased. 3 And Jesus went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples. 4 And the passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh. 5 When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat? 6 And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do. 7 Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little. 8 One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, saith unto him, 9 There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many? 10 And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. 11 And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would. 12 When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost. 13 Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten. 14 Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world.
That sixth verse is emphasized above in order to draw the reader’s attention to the source of our title. It is the only time that this proving of Philip is mentioned in the entirely of the Scriptures. Neither Matthew, Mark, nor Luke make mention of it. It is only made known to us by the hand of the Apostle John. He is said to be the disciple whom Jesus loved. (John 21:20) And love is the source of faith. Galatians 5:6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love. And faith provides the ability to evidence things not seen. Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Therefore John had not only been given ability to perceived this, but also was given opportunity by the Holy Spirit to make a record of it to be included within the Holy Bible.
And we know that all scriptures speak of the glories of the Lord Jesus Christ, and that they are profitable for our spiritual maturing. John 5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. 2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: Therefore let us see just what the Lord intends for us to learn as we apply Philip’s lesson to our own hearts.
First we must understand that these disciples of Christ had just received the most intimate details of the relation of the Father to the humanity of the Son. For even a casual reading of the previous chapter of John will take the reader into the mysterious revelation and instructing of the Father to the Son of man. Take time to reread John 5:19-21, 36-38. In doing so one will surely be brought to the awareness of the Apostle’s truth concerning the mystery of godliness! 1 Timothy 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
Therefore it is the Teachers right (here in John six), to seek to know just what the students have learned after such a glorious revelation (there in John five). For that teaching portion of the Lord brings him to “prove” Philip, as to what he had actually learned. Therefore that teaching portion is followed up, as it usually is, by a practical portion. – Hence, the necessity of the hungry multitude being brought to bear upon the scene.
And the question is asked of one of the disciples who was a local boy! For both Philip, Andrew and Peter were all from that area. Luke 9:10 And the apostles, when they were returned, told him all that they had done. And he took them, and went aside privately into a desert place belonging to the city called Bethsaida. 12 And when the day began to wear away, then came the twelve, and said unto him, Send the multitude away, that they may go into the towns and country round about, and lodge, and get victuals: for we are here in a desert place. John 1:44 Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter.
But herein lies a problem! For the many and mighty miracles which were done in that city of Bethsaida had hardened the hearts of those who had been observers of them. For these miracles were intended to cause the observing citizens to come to the awareness of Jesus being very God! Therefore the Lord Jesus pronounced a most severe judgment upon this entire area. For unto whom much is given, much shall be required.
Matthew 11:20 Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not: 21 Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. 23 And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. 24 But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.
Think about it! What cities come to your mind as the most evil cities in biblical times? – Sodom and Gomorrah? Right! But the Lord Christ clearly states that Bethsaida, the home town of three of his apostles was more wicked than those two! And that means we have to rethink our definition of sin! For it is that having been exposed to the truth of God and failing to bow to the Lord Jesus, as being very God, is a greater sin in the sight of God than that of the wickedness of Sodom!
Present day religionists will quickly tell you that the sins of abortion and homosexuality are the two greatest sins. But these are emotional convictions! For the Lord God says that failure to believe in the Son of God is the greatest and most damning sin! Religionists falsely believe themselves to be “christians” as they are involved in standing against those two sins. But listen to that which the Lord states is the most damning sin. John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
Rejecting the manifestation of the Holy Spirit of Jesus’ deity and glory is never to be forgiven! Mark 3:29 But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation:
The true issue of faith is never in some feigned morality. The issue of whether faith is true or not is its relation to the Lord Jesus Christ! 1 John 5:10 He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. 11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.
One can be moral and not be righteous! But if one is righteous, he will be moral! For righteousness is never obtained by moral works! It is imparted by the Holy Spirit solely into those included in the Lamb’s atonement! Romans 4:5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. 6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,
For morality is differently defined by the different communities of religion, under the deception of the angel of light – Satan! But righteousness is exclusively in the hands of the Holy Spirit, strictly granting it to those included in the atonement. For only as Christ is made to be one’s sin, is one granted to be Christ’s righteousness! 2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
And that imputed righteousness by the Holy Spirit, making application of Christ’s sacrifice, is the only righteousness that excels religion’s righteousness! Matthew 5:20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. God’s imputed righteousness is to be primarily sought! Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Now carefully consider these passages which reveal that upon seeing these miracles, and then failing thereby to perceive that Jesus of Bethlehem was very God, hardened one’s heart! Mark 6:48 And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them. 49 But when they saw him walking upon the sea, they supposed it had been a spirit, and cried out: 50 For they all saw him, and were troubled. And immediately he talked with them, and saith unto them, Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid. 51 And he went up unto them into the ship; and the wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered. 52 For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened.
Notice that the Lord Jesus was not recognized by the disciples in a more spiritual form because their hearts had been hardened regarding the miracle of the loaves and fishes! They had failed to recognize that he, being the Bread sent down from heaven for the vast number of souls relying on him for their spiritual sustenance, could surely feed the thousands with physical bread. Therefore failure to recognize him in his spiritual form then, in the miracle of the loaves and fishes, hardened their hearts to prevent them from recognizing him spiritually now, walking on water. Is it any wonder that we read that he would have passed by them?
Yet he had to get into the boat with them, stop the storm and revert back to teaching and calming them with his voice! They had to go back to basics in order to be helped. Hebrews 5:12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
Yet here is another account of the same thing at a later event. Mark 8:17 And when Jesus knew it, he saith unto them, Why reason ye, because ye have no bread? perceive ye not yet, neither understand? have ye your heart yet hardened? 18 Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not remember? 19 When I brake the five loaves among five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up? They say unto him, Twelve. 20 And when the seven among four thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up? And they said, Seven. 21 And he said unto them, How is it that ye do not understand?
Have you ever really thought of the Lord’s communion with the exalted leader of the Jews – Nicodemus? Consider this passage: Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man. There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. (John 2:23-3:3).
That English word, “believed” is the same Greek word here translated “commit.” So they may have believed in Jesus, but he did not believe in them! And they may have temporarily committed to him, but he did not commit eternal life to them! For there is no salvation given on the basis of fleshly excitement in seeing miracles. Faith does not come by seeing! Faith comes by hearing! Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Therefore when Nicodemus gushed out his ‘confession of faith,’ based on seeing miracles, the Lord Jesus told him he needed to be born again! And so do all who attempt to approach God on the basis of fleshly excitement! For this is prompted by the angel of light (Satan), using the fleshly excitement of the human spirit. And we are commanded to ‘mortify,’ or make dead, these ‘inordinate affections.’ That is, those human emotions which are ‘inordinate,’ or that go beyond the accepted limit. Colossians 3:5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: 6 For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: 7 In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.
2 Corinthians 11:13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. 14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
Pastor Gene Breed
October 26, 2018