Monday, May 20, 2024

On God’s Side

When the people saw him do this miraculous sign, they exclaimed, “Surely, he is the Prophet we have been expecting!” (John 6:14 NLT)

The feeding of the five thousand was Jesus’ most popular miracle to date. John tells us, “When the people saw him do this miraculous sign, they exclaimed, ‘Surely, he is the Prophet we have been expecting!’ When Jesus saw that they were ready to force him to be their king, he slipped away into the hills by himself” (John 6:14-15 NLT).

The people were planning to come and take Jesus by force and make Him king. In other words, “That is it! We just voted! Jesus, You are king. And if You don’t like it, too bad.”

They wanted the kind of king that gave them meals every day. But God will not be used by people. He wants to use people, but He will not be used by them.

Sometimes people will use God. They will invoke the name of the Lord when they need something from people who believe in Him. For example, politicians are very fond of this. When an election cycle comes along, they’re suddenly talking about their faith in God and how important their faith is to them.

But when we look at their voting record, we can see where they stand on issues that are important to followers of Jesus Christ. Religious rhetoric isn’t going to cut it. As Abraham Lincoln wrote, “My concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.”

Of course, politicians aren’t the only ones who invoke God’s name to get what they want. Sometimes businesspeople will do it to get a sale. Now, it’s a great thing when we want to glorify God through a business. But our witness will be in the work that we do well.

The day after Jesus performed the miracle of feeding five thousand people, He taught about the most important things in life. He told them, “But don’t be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man can give you. For God the Father has given me the seal of his approval” (John 6:27 NLT).

He also said, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty” (John 6:35 NLT). In other words, “I have filled your stomachs, but I am the bread of life. This is what you ought to be living for.”

Sadly, after Jesus finished this sermon, most of the people walked away from Him. And He turned to His own disciples and said, “Are you also going to leave?” (verse 67 NLT).

Peter replied, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life” (verse 68 NLT). Yet the fickle, fair-weather people turned away after they had their free meal, because they didn’t like what Jesus said.

People use God, and God doesn’t appreciate it. Don’t use God to get something from someone else. Let God use you.

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