Training with the Twelve
Week 10 Chapter 9
The Galilean Crisis, PART I
During Christ’s ministry on Earth, there were significant events that foreshadowed the Big Event that was to come about a year later.
John Chapter 6 describes six of these events, which are as Bruce describes, “a great miracle, a great enthusiasm, a great storm, a great sermon, a great apostasy and a great trial of faith and fidelity” (Bruce, p. 120). These events, which led up to Jesus’ sacrifice for sin, were indeed a crisis point in both the ministry of Jesus and the experiential faith lives of His disciples. All together, these events paralleled the crucifixion. People were impressed with the miracle, but shunned the miracle maker.
In part one today, we will discuss the great miracle. The scene is set in Luke 9:10, on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee. It was in a town of Bethsaida called Julius, which was not the home of Andrew and Peter on the western shore of the Galilean Sea. This Bethsaida was where the disciples had gone to debrief after their missions journey. But it happened to be that thousands of people followed them. The perceived need of the general populace was not going to leave them alone. The people were following because they had a bad case of hero-worship for the miracles that Jesus and the disciples were doing. It was hero-worship, Bruce tells us, “of the greatest proportions” (Bruce, p. 122). Jesus had decided to perform a miracle that would let the people know where their hearts stood before God. These people had a situation that was common to man. We in the church today are not much different. The interesting thing to note in the feeding of the 5,000 is that they were not far away from food. This miracle was, practically speaking, an unnecessary miracle; but this was no ordinary miracle. Jesus’ plan for this event showed that Jesus knew the hearts of men. His miracle would expose those who were only there for the food, and not the food provider. The response of the people, once they had eaten and heard a convicting sermon, would expose their motives for following Christ.
In churches today, we have much of the same. WE go to see how church can serve us. We are not looking to be equipped to serve others. How many times do you hear people say, “I’m just not being fed.” The presupposition there is consumerism. What churches do you know of that are focused on attracting bodies to the church, but have no real intention of showing the people how iconoclastic Christianity is? No! Doing that might scare people away and we might become unpopular! Was that what Jesus was doing with the 5,000; trying to be popular? I do not think so. Jesus was not like that, and He was not afraid to expose the superficiality of the culture. He was not concerned about pleasing the masses, after all, He knew everyone who would be His true friend, even if they did not. Jesus was more concerned with their character, sincerity, loyalty and honesty. Persons and churches that come to God only for the “feel good” religion, and only for what they can “get” from God and church are no different than the 5,000 spectators in Bethsaida, that were tested. So where are you? Where is your heart? Are you in it for your good or God’s? See Ya Next Time!!!!