Apr 20, 2022
Miracles happen every day in our world, just as they did in the Bible. But even as we recognize the miracles in our lives, God wants us to look for the blessing beyond! Join Julie Jenkins as she teaches from Matthew 14:34-36, Mark 6:53-56, and John 6:21-40.
Welcome to Walking in the Word – the biblical teaching arm of the Women World Leaders podcast. My name is Julie Jenkins, and I am so pleased that you have joined us.
As I record this, it is April of 2022 – we just celebrated Easter – as my daughter likes to call it, the Christian’s Super Bowl, and we are marching quickly toward May. For us at Women World Leaders, that means a few things.
First, the May edition of Voice of Truth magazine will soon be printed! So remember to go to our website – womenworldleaders.com – to register for your free printed version if you live in the United States, and for your free digital version if you live outside of the United States or you’d prefer to read the magazine on your digital device!
Second, our 2022 books are coming to life! We have teams of coaches and editors who are guiding both new and seasoned writers who are courageously stepping forward to share their God-story with the world. If God is calling you to share your story, please contact us at email@example.com, we’d love for you to join us.
And third – our next live event is just around the corner! Our team is planning an amazing gathering called Renew, that will springboard us into our post-pandemic world! If you are or plan to be in South Florida, be sure to register to join us in person on June 4th, OR you can join us virtually. All information can be found on our website: womenworldleaders.com
But now…we want to quiet our minds for the next few minutes as we focus on the Word of God. Each Wednesday, we intentionally take time to study the Bible together, asking God what He wants us to learn today. We are currently walking chronologically through the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Today, our teaching comes from Matthew 14:34-36, Mark 6:53-56, and John 6:21-40. Before we begin, will you pray with me?
Dear Most Holy God! We are honored to come to you today as we open your Holy Scripture together. Thank you for meeting with us and for guiding us into your truth. We ask you to speak clearly to us and give us a deeper understanding of who you are and who you are calling us to be. God, thank you for knowing and supplying what we each need today. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
As we study the Bible, it is so important to understand the context of the scripture we are reading. That means, in part, seeking to understand the full story – asking, what led us to where we are?
So let’s quickly look back at where we have come from. Jesus had been teaching the disciples when a crowd of over 5000 gathered. As evening drew near, not wanting to send the people away hungry, Jesus performed a miracle by multiplying the food that was available – 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish – into more than enough food to feed the hungry crowd.
The people were grateful and, in response, wanted to make Jesus their earthly king. Jesus reacted to this temptation by first, removing the disciples from the situation by sending them, by boat, to cross the Sea of Galilee; next, by sending the crowds away; and finally, retreating by Himself to pray.
As Jesus prayed, a storm formed over the water, threatening the lives of the disciples. Jesus lovingly took a stroll across the water to remind the disciples of His presence. John 6:21 from the New Living Translation reports, that the disciples were eager to let him in the boat, and immediately they arrived at their destination!
I always feel like I kind of missed something when I read that verse. It seems that one minute they were in a storm, and the next, they were at their destination. Fearing that I misinterpreted this, I looked up the word ‘immediately,’ wondering if this was like a magician’s act. Did Jesus suddenly transport them from one location to another? Well…what I found was that the word translated as ‘immediately,’ means immediately, directly, at once, or soon. That being said, if you compare the 80 times it is used in the Bible, it almost always seems to mean ‘instantaneously.’ That’s crazy to imagine, right? There are a lot of questions I’m going to ask God when I get to heaven, and that is going to be one!
But regardless of the timing of the trip…the boat lands exactly WHERE it is supposed to. It is interesting, however, that it doesn’t land where the disciples THOUGHT they were going! They were trying to get to Capernaum, but they ended up at Gennesaret. (geh-NEH-sir-eht)
I think that most of us can attest to the fact that sometimes things don’t look exactly like we think they should when we come out of a storm. We probably have all, at one time or another, ended up in a different place than we were expecting. But when we invite Jesus into the boat with us, we can always trust that we will end up exactly where we are supposed to be!
As we read on, we see clearly that Jesus WAS where He was supposed to be. He had work to do.
Matthew 14:35 states…. 35 When the people recognized Jesus, the news of his arrival spread quickly throughout the whole area, and soon people were bringing all their sick to be healed.
And Mark 6:55-56 records that the people 55 ran throughout the whole area, carrying sick people on mats to wherever they heard (Jesus) was. 56 Wherever he went—in villages, cities, or the countryside—they brought the sick out to the marketplaces. They begged him to let the sick touch at least the fringe of his robe, and all who touched him were healed
Wherever He went, Jesus continued to showcase His glory and His dominion over sickness, disease, and physical needs.
Today, Jesus no longer walks around the earth in bodily form…if He did, can you just imagine the crowds that would flock to Him?
Instead, we are blessed to live in a time when God is everywhere via the Holy Spirit, who knows no physical or spatial barriers. And we can be assured that just as Jesus touched people everywhere He went, God, who is the same yesterday, today and forever, continues doing miraculous works via the Holy Spirit… only now those miracles happen everywhere, every single day!
And if God is working everywhere, every day, you can be assured that He is constantly working in YOUR life. Sometimes we have to open our eyes and ask God to show us His work to recognize those miracles. But God’s miracles are not the endgame…they always have a purpose beyond the obvious.
When God works in our lives, He wants us to look BEYOND the miraculous circumstance, because He has something greater to show or teach us…and if we spend time with Him and ask Him what He wants us to know or learn, He WILL tell us!
John 6:22-25 reintroduces us to the crowd who saw Jesus’ glory the day before – remember the crowd of over 5000 from the other side of the lake who got the free meal. They were back, and Jesus had something for them to learn! The night had passed, and, having traveled across the lake in search of Jesus, the people were hungry… again. It was time for breakfast, and they wanted Jesus to provide another meal for them!
But Jesus had something far more valuable for them than breakfast. He offered them the lesson beyond the miracle.
26 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, you want to be with me because I fed you, not because you understood the miraculous signs. 27 But don’t be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man[a] can give you. For God the Father has given me the seal of his approval.”
They were in danger of seeing Jesus as a vending machine. Put a quarter in and hit the right button, receive healing. Put another quarter in and hit the other button, receive food.
And although Jesus CAN supply our every need, the glory of Jesus is who He is, not what He can do. Jesus is the King of kings, the Lord of lords. He is the beginning and the end, the Almighty. He is LOVE, JOY, and PEACE. Jesus is more than we can ask or imagine. Simply being in His presence is life-changing and life-fulfilling. And when we look beyond the miracle, we will get a glimpse of His glory.
The people loved God and appreciated His goodness. But instead of recognizing the blessing of Jesus Himself, they decided that they wanted to be able to do what Jesus did.
The people said…
“We want to perform God’s works, too. What should we do?”
To which Jesus replied with a verse all should commit to memory…John 6:29…
29 Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.”
Did you catch that? All God wants from us is for us to believe in Jesus!
One of the devil’s greatest tricks is to instill pride in our spirits. We may start out in humble service TO Jesus, but when it goes well, and WE get the kudos, the devil tries to tempt us into believing that OUR WORKS make us worthy of being God’s children.
We are just a few days past Easter, as I record this. My kids are 22, 20, and 16. So, we are far removed from Easter egg hunts and chocolate bunnies. With one daughter away at school and the other working for a church, waking up on Easter morning is not what it used to be in our house. But taking my eyes off those “things” that a mom must “do” to celebrate a holiday, allowed me to simply rest in our risen Savior’s presence. And it was glorious!
Doing what we are called to do for God’s glory – mom duties, work duties, or even ministry duties – are not wrong. They are worthy. But we must always remember that we can never replace the glory of being with Jesus with anything we do for Jesus – no matter how worthy the calling.
John 6:29 – The only work God wants from you is to believe in the one he has sent.
The people still weren’t quite getting it…verse 30…
30 They answered, “Show us a miraculous sign if you want us to believe in you. What can you do? 31 After all, our ancestors ate manna while they journeyed through the wilderness! The Scriptures say, ‘Moses gave them bread from heaven to eat.’[b]”
32 Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, Moses didn’t give you bread from heaven. My Father did. And now he offers you the true bread from heaven. 33 The true bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
The people were still thinking of their bread from the day before. In their minds, THAT was miraculous! And Jewish teaching had instilled in them that the TRUE Messiah would offer them bread every day, just as the Israelites had received manna every day. It was a new day…and they were hungry. So they asked again for the miracle, instead of looking beyond the miracle and recognizing that Jesus Himself embodied something even greater than the miracle…Verse 34…
34 “Sir…give us that bread every day.”
And being as clear as human language would allow, Jesus replied…
“I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
36 But you haven’t believed in me even though you have seen me.
And even though the people had not fully turned their hearts to Jesus, and they still couldn’t quite understand what He was saying, Jesus then gave some of His most encouraging teaching ever. Continuing on in verse 37…
37 However, those the Father has given me WILL come to me, and I will NEVER reject them. 38 For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do my own will. 39 And this is the will of God, that I should not lose even one of all those he has given me, but that I should raise them up at the last day. 40 For it is my Father’s will that all who see his Son and believe in him should have eternal life. I will raise them up at the last day.”
Every miracle of Jesus points to the glory of God Himself. And in His glory, we are promised that when we submit to Him, He will never leave us nor forsake us. THAT is what Jesus wants us to see. Jesus offers us Himself. Not only did He give His life on a cross to overcome death for each of us so that we would not die, but He offers us Himself every single day that we may live exceedingly and abundantly beyond our very imaginations.
So look for the miracles of Jesus…they are all around you! Expect the unexpected. Rejoice in the impossible. But always remember to look beyond the miracle to the true teaching. The Creator is greater than the created, the Giver is greater than the gift, the Miracle Worker is greater than the miracle…and He has chosen YOU to spend eternity with Him.
Dear Most Holy and Righteous God! Thank you for the miracles that you surround us with every day: for allowing us to land exactly where we are supposed to be after the storm, healing us, feeding us, and supplying our every need. But most importantly, thank you for being you and for choosing us. Jesus, you never give up on us and you never leave us. We do give you all the praise and glory as we seek YOU…the blessing beyond the miracle. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.