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John 6:16-24

They were willing to take Him into the boat.”

The disciples had experienced one of their most exciting days thus far in following Jesus. They had seen the most amazing banquet in history and would have been so thrilled about being involved. It was one meal they would not have minded clearing up after! They needed a quiet evening to go over the events of the day and so they went out in the boat.

The Sea of Galilee is six hundred and fifty feet below sea level, one hundred and fifty feet deep, and surrounded by hills. These physical features often lead to sudden windstorms, causing extremely high waves. So the storm that followed, although a regular part of life on this sea, was still very frightening for the disciples. Even though they had just seen the most amazing miracle, they found that fear came more naturally to them than faith. In Matthew’s account of this incident (Matthew 14:22-33), it is clear that Jesus had told them to cross the lake in a boat - it wasn't just their own idea - but now Jesus was no longer with them. Despite all that they had seen that day, faith evaporated and fear took its place.

When Jesus eventually came to join them, the storm was still raging and He was walking on the water! The disciples were terrified and Jesus' first words are: "It is I; don't be afraid!" (John 6:20) How often do we face spiritual, physical and emotional storms and feel tossed about as though we were in a small boat on a big lake? In spite of terrifying circumstances, if we allow Christ to take control in our lives, He can give us peace in the midst of any storm. We just have to be willing to take Jesus "into our boat". This means making a decision of the will to trust what He has said to us through His word or in answer to prayer and believe that He has control of what's happening to us.

Remember miracles that God has already done for you. Read or listen to testimonies and keep your mind focused on His word. Do not be so full of fear at your circumstances that you give up hope of Jesus coming in for you or fail to recognise Him when He does. Faith is a decision that rests on our expectation that God will act. When we live with this expectation, we can overcome our fears. (2 Timothy 1:7) Let's look at some steps based on the teaching of God's word, that help us to know how to tackle any problem that we face.

Ten steps of faith

  1. Identify your problem. (Name it. Do not hide it.)
  2. Make a quality decision. (Don't accept the problem, but choose to tackle it.)
  3. Meditate on God's word. (Joshua 1:8) (Find God’s Word for the situation.)
  4. Hold on to the power of confession. (Speak out God’s word from your heart.)
  5. Act on His word. (This shows faith in action. For example, keep giving if you need a financial miracle.)
  6. Use patience. (Hebrews 6:12)
  7. Wait for God’s timing. (here is a season for everything. He is never early, never late.)
  8. Expect the answer. (Keep looking for it.)
  9. Do not allow sin to have any hold. (Repent and keep short accounts with Him.)
  10. Listen to His word. (Don't listen to what others say, but what God says.)

It can help to write out these steps and learn them for future reference.

Jesus had faith in His Father's instructions. He acted in expectation that God would act and He did. Jesus reached the disciples just when they were at their most desperate. Are you in a situation where you need Jesus to come in for you? Then apply the ten steps now.

John 6:25-59

The bread of life

The people chased after Jesus, not because they saw God in His actions, but because He had fed them for free! Are we following Christ because, above all else, we want to know Him and the truth that He reveals to us? Many people are drawn to religion because they see that it offers prestige, comfort or status. But these are self-centred motives.

Jesus took this opportunity to teach them:

  • who He was;
  • where He had come from, and
  • how He was able to supply all their needs in abundance.

Jesus was showing them, just like the Samaritan woman, that if they came to Him and took His food, they would never be hungry again. He wanted them to see that it was God alone who could fill the heartfelt hunger in their lives. They knew that there had to be something more than just obeying rules and fulfilling laws, because they had tried that, but it still left them feeling guilty and not at peace.

True believers

True believers follow Jesus because they know that His way is the only way to live! Jesus answered a question that still puzzles many people who are sincerely seeking to know God: “What should we do to satisfy God?” The religions of the world are humanity's attempts to find God and they all try to answer this same question. Jesus’ reply is brief and simple: “We must believe the one whom God has sent.” Satisfying God does not come from what we do, but from knowing whom we believe.

The first step is to accept that Jesus is who He claims to be. All spiritual development follows from this affirmation. Secondly, like Peter, we need to declare - in prayer - to Jesus: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God!” (Matthew 16:16) Then we shall embark on a life of belief that is satisfying to our creator. We need this right relationship with Jesus Christ to satisfy our spiritual hunger and sustain our strong spiritual life.

The bread of life (reprise)

  • Bread must be eaten to give life. Christ must be invited into our daily walk to give eternal life.
  • Bread takes time to be prepared. We should take time to prepare ourselves for our time with Jesus.
  • Bread must be taken daily for strong life. We must take God’s word daily to stay healthy.
  • Bread gives hope. Where there is no bread, there is no hope. Without Jesus, there is no future.
  • Bread must be in steady supply for our physical growth. We need to read God's word needs regularly if we are to grow in God.
  • Bread intake must be balanced with physical action. Just reading God's word, without letting it change our behaviour, is of little effect.
  • Bread comes in various forms. We can "feed" on Jesus in different ways: through prayer, reading His word and through worship.
  • Bread can be left out of our diet for a few days. Jesus needs to meet us each day.
  • Bread must be eaten for yourself. No one can do it for you. It is the same in your relationship with Jesus.

Bread tastes best when we are really hungry and it is fresh. Jesus is so exciting when we are really hungry for more of Him and when we receive fresh revelation for our spirits. To eat "living bread" means to unite ourselves with Christ.

We are united with Christ in two ways:

  • by believing in His death and resurrection and
  • by devoting ourselves to living as He requires, depending on His teaching for guidance and trusting in the Holy Spirit for power.

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