When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do. Philip answered him, “Eight months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and the men sat down, about five thousand of them. Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish. When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten. After the people saw the miraculous sign that Jesus did, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.” Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.
What kind of Jesus do you want?
“I really need to find a better job. I just can’t live off what I am making right now, and I can’t stand the place I’m working. There is so much stress. But the thing is, none of the places where I have applied have called me back.”
A friend replies, “What you need to do is get back to going to church. Then everything else will fall into place. About a year ago, I started going back to church. Look at the new job I just got.”
The thinking illustrated in this brief conversation between friends is very common. You can even find churches that will tell you that Jesus wants you to be rich, and he will make you rich if you pray hard for it and trust him to bless you.
Is that the kind of Jesus that you want? Do you want him to be something like your personal genie, granting your every wish and making your life easier? Do you wish that someone would share with you the secret of tapping into the unlimited power of Jesus so that you can start enjoying life more?
That’s not why Jesus came into our world. He did not come to fulfil all the physical needs and desires of those who are struggling. He came here for a much more important reason: to forgive sins; to restore the relationship between sinful rebellious creatures and their Creator; to grant eternal life to those who could never achieve it for themselves.
While he was physically living in our world, Jesus saw the needs of people, and at times he met those needs in miraculous ways. But when the people got so excited about those miracles that the only reason they were drawn to him was so that he could meet their physical needs, Jesus withdrew because he had a much more important role to fill than that of a king who could miraculously provide for his people.
Jesus came to be the Savior to take away our sin and guilt by taking it upon himself and willingly enduring the full punishment of God for us. Jesus came to give us a perfect relationship with God that lasts eternally.
What kind of Jesus do you want? A Savior who loves you so much that he willingly laid down his life so that you are forgiven of every sin and live eternally, or a bread-king who miraculously provides for physical but very temporary needs? What kind of Jesus do you need?
Lord Jesus, thank you for providing for my greatest need. Forgive me for the times that I have become so fixated on this world that my physical wants and needs have become my highest priority. You made my eternal salvation your highest priority. Send your Spirit into my heart that I may rejoice in who you are. In your name I ask it. Amen.
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