Introduction

“And truly Jesus did many other signs
  in the presence of His disciples, which
  are not written in this book;  but these
  are written that you may believe that
  Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and
  that believing you may have life
  in His name.”- John (Jn 20:30-31)

John tells us that there are many miracles performed by Jesus which were not recorded in the gospel. But He had specially chosen 7 for us to read. He did that so that we can believe that Jesus is indeed the Christ and we can have life through his name.

So far we have taken a look at his first miracle

1. Jesus turning water into wine (Part 1, Part 2)
2. Jesus Healing The Nobleman’s son (Part 3, Part 4)
3. Jesus Healing By The Pool Of Bethesda (Part 5, Part 6)
4. Jesus feeding 5000 with 5 loaves and 2 Fishes (Part 7 , Part 8)

Lets now take a look at the fifth miracle

Jesus Walking On Water

https://i0.wp.com/www.wga.hu/art/b/bruegel/jan_e/2/galilee.jpg

“So when they had rowed about three or four miles,
 
they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing
  near the boat; and they were afraid.” – John (Jn 6:19)

The disciples saw Jesus walking to them, and they were afraid. Matthew gave the reason behind their fear.

And when the disciples saw Him 
  walking on the sea, they were
  troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!”
  And they cried out for fear.”- Matthew  (Matt 14:26)

These disciples mistook Jesus as a ghost as no man could walk on water. Man may have the ability to swim, but not the ability to walk to water. This is is why they were afraid. But Jesus called out to hem saying “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.”

Jesus wanted to clear their doubt immediately for he did not want his disciples to continue being afraid and doubtful. For there are some doubts which are not good, and need to be cleared immediately.  I am sure at the end of the day, the disciples must be ashamed, for they have mistaken their teacher as a ghost.

Sometimes Christians make the same mistake when we encounter something extraordinary and we jump into conclusion without examining it and listening to it carefully. We tend to go for what the majority believes and  allow our judgement became clouded. As the result, we are unable to discern if we are looking at Jesus or a ghost.

But if one were to recognise his voice, we will disregard the opinion of others. Man had often treated God as the devil and vice versa. For in the west there is a church of Satan and they worship the devil as God.  In the eastern world, the Chinese had a “Hungry Ghost Festival” where they make offering to the ghosts and not to God.

The Ironic Culture That Fears Spirits But Not  God

There was a time when Paul arrives to the city of Athens to preach the gospel. During those days the Athenians were worshipping all sorts of gods, they even had an altar dedicated to the unknown god.

Even though the Greeks are known for their culture, intelligence, philosophy and knowledge,. Yet they led a life full of superstitions and blind worship. So much so that they worshipped a God that is unknown to them

Since the dawn of history man had been afraid of gods and spirit, even though they were unable to see him, they will rather worship them. They worship all sorts of spirits both good and evil, in the hope that they will not disrupt their lives. The Athenians were worried about missing a spirit, so they created the generic altar for whoever that may be.

In fact they are not the only one that does that, the Chinese have the same concept as well. If one were to visit a Chinese temple, you will see many deities each with their own individual altar. Before the Chinese leaves the temple, they will put one joss ticks onto the central urn, and one will notice that there is no idols before that urn. So who was to receive the offering?  The Chinese called it “过路神” which literally means “The god that is passing by”

Both Athenians and Chinese fear spirits and they went further and they even worship the unknown god. Paul in his preaching tells them that they have neglected one God. That God is none other than the creator of mankind and the True God. He is not a God that was created by man, but in fact he created man.

The universe cannot exist by itself, for all things have a builder and the builder of all things is God. He had given us life and we must worship him.

Is Jesus The True God That Creates All Things?

But others may asks us “How can we be sure that the creator is Jesus?” So far we have seen all the miracles performed by him. Jesus had demonstrated his power as well as his authority to create all things.

John had selected 7 miracles and used them to tell us the abilities. He had talk about how Jesus had the power to create, how he can change the physical properties of water into wine. He told us how Jesus could heal a child in Capernaum when he is 33 KM away. transcending space. He told us how Jesus could make a 38 year old paralytic walk transcending time.

All these miracles tells us that Jesus had the power to transcend all physical limitation. It is a power only the creator can hold, therefore we must worship the true God

And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 
  Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped
  Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.”- Matthew (Matt 14:32-33)

Perhaps these men have heard of Jesus and did not believe in him completely, but now when they believe they worshipped Jesus.  They believe not because of the fact that Jesus was walking on water and that the storm had stop. They saw it as an expression of the power of God. It tells them that Jesus is indeed the God who came in the flesh

The Conclusion So Far

Therefore let us worship the true God and not spirits. Let us learn to fear God and not the spirits. When we worship God we will receive that eternal life that he promise. Therefore we must worship the true God who created the heavens and the earth.

Why Walk On Water? What’s The Purpose Of Doing that?

Before we start, let us consider the question. “Why did Jesus walk on water? What is his purpose of doing so?”

Jesus did not perform that miracle to frighten his disciples or to test the limits of their courage. The gospel of Mark gave us the reason

Then He saw them straining at rowing,
  for the wind was against them. Now about
  the fourth watch of the night He came to
  them, walking on the sea, and would have
  passed them by.”- Mark (Mk 6:48)

Jesus did so because he saw them straining on the boat. Therefore he walked towards them in the storm, and it is a good thing. Jesus wanted to help them so that they do not need to strain further.

Perhaps as the disciples are battling the storm, they may have been complaining within their heart.

“Immediately He made His disciples get
  into the boat and go before Him to the
  other side, to Bethsaida, while He sent
  the multitude away.”- Mark (Mk 6:45)

The disciples were in this fix because they obeyed the words of Jesus and now they are greeted with a storm and they are struggling within their boats. If Jesus were to make them travel on foot, they may not have meet with the storm.

They may have felt that their suffering is a result of obeying the instruction of Jesus and the irony is that Jesus is nowhere to be found when they are stranded in the midst of their trouble.

The truth is, Jesus was on the shore alone and he saw them in trouble and the storm pressing hard against them. He choose to walk on water so that he can get to them and help them soonest. Yet these disciples were unaware and they even mistook Jesus as a ghost.

Let us now consider the other things we can learn from this.

Facing The Storms We Meet In Life

Sometimes in life we find encounter bad events and we feel that it is just because of our bad luck. We find ourselves suffering and we wonder why God was silent and not helping us. But the fact is that Jesus saw the wind against us, and he had already chosen to walk though the storm to go to them.  He did it so that the disciples do not need to struggle to come to him.

But sometimes we treat Jesus as a ghost for we are unable to see him clearly. I am sure that the disciples must have felt bad for Jesus was going to help them and they treated him like a ghost.

In life we often encounter troubles and storms that troubles us. When we try to pray about it, it appears as if Jesus did nothing to help us. We feel helpless when we are up against the winds and we are in fact struggling to keep our boats afloat.

But Jesus saw the disciples struggling against the wind and he walked on water to help them. Even though we cannot see him, we need to believe that he knows what we are facing.

Indeed trouble can cloud our judgement and we sometimes ask “Why did this happen to us?” But when the storm pass, we will be able to see its benefits. That is when we realise that we have misunderstood God. For sometimes we can only be sure when we reach the end of the road.

The Conclusion From The Record Of Mark And John

That is why we need to build our faith in Jesus. Let us not focus on the problem that lies before our eyes. For our perspective over the problem will change and we will view the situation differently later on. Even though we encounter pain and trouble now  Let us continue to have peace and hope within our heart. For we know that our helper is God. He can see us struggling in the storm.

Even though we cannot escape the many storms in life, but Jesus is always walking on the water to us. He did it not to frighten us but to help us. If we can see and recognise his voice we will not be afraid. We will know that is is good.

This is one lesson we can learn from the record of Mark and John 

This is a song most English Speaking countries would have heard or sang before. From where I come from in Singapore, most kids were taught to sing this as part of our music lesson.

When I was younger, I was wondering what does “Auld Lang Syne” actually mean for it hardly sound English to me, later on in my life I realise that it was in a language called Scots (not Scottish)  and it is literally translated as “Old Time Since”.

It means “A Long Time Ago” or “For the sake of Old times”

It is often sang during new years as well as even used in state funerals back in Singapore.

I believe the most recent time we hear it is just today, when our first prime minister’s coffin left the Istana for the parliament house on a ceremonial gun carriage , it was played on a traditional bagpipe.

While many good things had been already said about this giant in history. I believe that as a leader, he had made many tough decisions that we may or may not have agreed to. But still Singapore have lost a good leader who had contributed much for our country.

There is so much written about him in the media hence I do not need to say anything more.  As the nations mourns, i think I would post the lyrics here

Title : Auld Lang Syne
Lyrics : Robert Burns
Tune : Traditional Folk Song

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne!

Chorus.-
For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne.
We’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

 

you can find the original poem from Richard Burns here

Introduction

The Chinese had a saying “男怕入错行, 女怕嫁错郎” (nán​ pà​ rù​ cuò​ háng​, nǚ pà​ jià​ cuò​ láng​) translated it reads  “Every man fears entering the wrong profession, while every lady fears marrying the wrong man”

This saying reminds us to be careful in the choices that we made.

So far we had studied
1. Choice Of Oprah And Ruth
2. The choice Of Mary And Martha

Now let us look at the choice of Abraham and Lot

The Choice Of Abraham And Lot

“Please let there be no strife
between you and me, and
between my herdsmen and
your herdsmen; for we are
brethren. Is not the whole
land before you? Please separate
from me. If you take the left, then
I will go to the right; or, if you go
to the right, then I will go to the left.”- Abram (Gen 13:8-9)

“Abram dwelt in the land of Canaan,
and Lot dwelt in the cities of the plain
and pitched his tent even as far as Sodom. “- Moses (Gen 13:12)

Both Abram and Lot believed in the promises of God. They chose to listen to the command of the Lord and depart from Ur of the Chaldean. They went to the land of God’s promise with the same heart and on the same goal.

But as they journeyed in this life of faith, they encounter various problems and conflicts. That is the time when they both made different choices. Lot departed for Sodom while Abraham persisted and remain in the land of Canaan.

The Need To Resolve Conflict

In our lives of faith, we will definitely  encounter disputes and conflicts, therefore it is important for us to learn how to handle these conflicts. If we handle them well, we would be able to keep our friends. For a mishandled conflict can turn friends to strangers. In the worst scenario, they can turn friends to enemies.

That is why we need to learn how to resolve conflict. In this bible story, Abraham  managed the conflict well. He made a good choice.

Though many would feel that his choice and silly. But History had proven that he had made the right choice.

The bible had kept a record of this as a lesson for all of us. It is important for us to learn them when we encounter conflict in the future. Learning them can help us preserve our live of faith.

There are 3 things we can learn from Abraham resolving his conflict with Lot

Pt 1: Abraham Decided That Separation Was The Best Solution

Gen 13:9  tells us that Abraham choose to give way to Lot and to give him the privilege to make the first choice.  That is a good approach to the problem.

Some of us may feel that it is a bad idea to separate. Some thinks  that Abraham made this suggestion out of anger.  There are some who felt that as long as they are willing to tolerate, there is no need for separation.

But let us ask ourselves “Can all conflicts be resolved just by enduring?”

All cultures had proverbs that suggest the need to endure through difficulty. For example, the Chinese had a saying “守得云开见月明”. It means that if one were to endure and wait for the clouds to clear, one could enjoy the beauty of the moon.

But there are some problems that cannot be resolved by mere endurance. Take for example, if 2 people are  fighting for the same cubicle in the washroom, it is a question of immediate need and not a question of endurance.

There are problems that do not need our immediate response, but to identify them require a complete understanding of the situation. So let us consider the facts behind the conflict between Abraham and Lot.

Abraham did not choose to separate out of anger, he saw the truth behind the problem and he knew that separation is the best way to resolve it.

For the bible describes the problem in Gen 13:6

“Now the land was not able to support them,
that they might dwell together, for their
possessions were so great that they could
not dwell together. “ – Moses (Gen 13:6)

Here it says that the land cannot contain the 2 of them, it is unable to support them and their livestock. Even though Abraham and Lot had became rich, but the land remains the same. It had the same amount of green pastures and the same amount of water. It is unable to provide for the massive livestock that they own.

That is the reason behind their conflict. While it may be common for workers to fight among themselves. It may appear that as long as they bear with each other the problems can be resolve. But in the case of Abraham and Lot, their herdsman are continuously striving. If those strive happens once in the blue moon, Abraham would have ignored them. But if the strive happens again and again then the problem is not so simple as one would think.

Abraham understood that the land is too small to support the both of them. For their possession came in the form of Animals and flock which need land to graze and water to drink.

Abraham accepted the fact behind the problem. He knew that separation is the best solution for they need to gain more land. Even though it is painful to separate from Lot his nephew, but it is necessary.

Likewise today if we choose to ignore our problem and pretend to be cordial to each other. We risk the problem dragging on. Some problem if left unsolved for a long time will be harder to resolve.  The same applies to problems encountered within the church as well as those within the family.

Let us choose to face the problem and let us try our best to reduce the conflict. Let us not allow small problems to escalate into big conflicts.  If a problem cannot be avoided, we need to face it. But to face the problem require us to understand the facts behind the problem.

Some solutions may be painful, just like the choice of Abraham. But sometimes a short pain is better than prolonged agony. That is why Abraham chose to separate from Lot for he understand that the land was not able to support them.

Pt 2: Abraham Took The Initiative To Approach Lot

To resolve the problem, Abraham approached  to Lot and said “Let there be no strife between us”. We know as the fact that Abraham is the elder and he is the uncle of Lot. We also know that Abraham is the reason behind Lots riches. Lot owes his wealth to Abraham.

But Abraham did not use his authority as the elder to intimidate Lot, he did not accuse Lot of being ungrateful. Abraham choose to focus on the fact that they are brethren. Abraham did not make use of his seniority as a bargaining chip, he chose to focus on their kinship. By doing so, Abraham had lowered himself so as to approach Lot for a solution. This is not an easy task.

Sometimes when we fight, even though we can see that it is clearly our fault. Even though we regret the situation we had landed ourselves into, we cannot resolve the problem.

For no one wants to admit that they are in the wrong, and no one is willing to humble himself and apologize first. For we know that he who is first to speak loses, therefore we choose to wait for the other party to talk first.

But Abraham did not do so, and he did not wait for Lot to speak to him. But rather he chose to speak to Lot first.  For Abraham knew that if he were to wait, the problem may get worst. Today it may be their herdsman fighting but eventually it will lead to Abraham and Lot fighting directly.

So Abraham chose to be proactive and initiate the discussion. He did not want the problem to get worst.

There are times when we can resolve problem by waiting. For example, if we wait long enough the rain would stop. But some problems will only get worst if we wait. Those are problems that are avoidable, and they would never resolve by themselves.

That is when we need to take the first step to face the problems. But as we face them let us learn from the humility and courage of Abraham.

Pt 3: Abraham Choose To Give Way To Lot

We would notice that Abraham chose to gave way to Lot, it sounded like a simple way to resolve differences but often it is easier said than done. Lot is a reasonable man and he knew the root clause of the problem as well but he chose to remain silent. Why is it so?

For Lot Know that if he were to propose a solution, one side would need to choose a spot to go. Most of the time the first person would choose the better spot, leaving the latter to receive an inferior spot. Usually it is the one who propose who would allow the other party to choose their spot first.

Lot was unwilling to propose because he did not want to get the inferior spot. Abraham took the initiative and he was willing to lose out. Human beings have the tendency to want to take advantage and not lose. But when both parties think alike, the issue will remain unresolved. But if one side is willing to give in and suffer a disadvantage, it will resolve the problem.

Why is Abraham Willing to Lose his Advantage ?

Did Abraham approach Lot because he was too weak to fight him? Was Lot so powerful that Abraham needs to bow down to him?

We know that later in Genesis Abraham led 300 men to rescue Lot. From here we can see that Abraham was not a weak and he could fight Lot if he wanted to. While most will choose to bow down only to those who are stronger, Abraham chose to let go because of his faith.

“By faith Abraham obeyed when
he was called to go out to the place
which he would receive as an inheritance.
And he went out, not knowing where
he was going.  By faith he dwelt in the
land of promise as in a foreign country,
dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob,
the heirs with him of the same promise;
for he waited for the city which has foundations,
whose builder and maker is God.

But now they desire a better, that is, a
heavenly country. Therefore God is not
ashamed to be called their God, for He
has prepared a city for them.”- Author Of Hebrew (Heb 11:8-10,16)

Abraham must have been fairly rich in Ur. It is likely that possessing Canaan would not make him richer. He left Ur not because he wanted a piece of land. Some may think that Abraham left because God wanted to make him into a great nation. But God also said that his possession will last forever.

We know that nothing last forever. Only the kingdom of God lasts forever. Abraham understood the will of God and he knew that the possession God is giving him is not on earth but in heaven. That is why he choose to be a sojourner and to lead a life living in tents. He became a nomad willingly, Abraham knew that life in the city is comfortable.

Lot eventually moved into the city of Sodom  because it offers a better and a different life style. Life in the city is very different from life in the countryside. The rich loves to go to the countryside to enjoy peace, but the poor would want to make a living in the city.

But Abraham chose to dwell in tents for he desired a better home in the heavens. It is that hope that defines his mentality and attitude. He is willing to lose his worldly possession and not to fight Lot. He chose to let go, and if Lot wants the better land, let him take it.

Let us study into that decision more closely.

Using Faith To Influence Our Choices

Whenever we make a decision with regards to solving problem. Let us ask ourselves “Are we looking to benefit our faith or to gain material benefits? Are we looking at the benefits before our eyes? or are we interested in the benefit that is to come? Are we concern about our pride? Or are we concern with how God look at us from heaven?

Sometimes our surrounding can influence our choice, but most importantly let us allow our faith to influence our choice.

Abraham made the right choice when he choose to suffer lost. He choose to give in to Lot and let go of his worldly possession. He did that not because he is weak, but because  he believed in God. He did it because he seek a heavenly home and not a piece of physical land.

Do we have the same mentality of Abraham? The God he believed in is the same God that we as Christian believed. Abraham allowed his faith to influence his choice. Are we willing to let faith influence our choices?

The answer to that depends on who we really believe in and what we want in life.

An Exhortation To Give In

If we are only interested in worldly possession, we will make choices like Lot. We will strive to the bitter end and we will not give in. We will fight anyone for them, even if he is our uncle. People who holds the attitude of Lot regards riches as the most important. They are willing to put aside kinship and relationship for the sake of it.

Even if they believe in God, they will never have the heart of God. They may sing “Hallelujah” as they worship. Paul once rebuke the church in Corinth.

“But brother goes to law against brother,
and that before unbelievers!

 Now therefore, it is already an utter failure
for you that you go to law against one another.
Why do you not rather accept wrong? Why do
you not rather let yourselves be cheated?
 No, you yourselves do wrong and cheat, and
you do these things to your brethren! “- Paul (1 Cor 6:6-8)

Some of us may find Pauls letter harsh. For we are being attacked by our friends, relative and brethren. Let us consider what we will say to someone who is in that situation.

Some may response saying “Do not be afraid, we will support you in this fight! Go ahead and fight!” and they stand back to watch the gladiatorial spectacle.

Man had a natural desire to strive and they like to win. We would not want to win alone so we want our friends to win as well. Therefore we often encourage them to continue fighting.

But Paul exhorts Christians to give in. Paul even went to the point to say “Let us be cheated, and accept wrong”. We may be able to take it if we lose a bit of money. But sometimes we find it hard to accept when it comes to losing pride and reputation.

But have we asked ourselves “Did we lose more than what we gain in this fight?”

In this situation I am not talking about fighting for the truth. For Christian should never give in when it comes to the truth. Even Paul teaches us to persevere when it comes to defending the truth. As long as it is not a matter of truth, we must be willing to give in.

Ironically man tend to do the opposite. we fight when there is no need to fight we persist when there is no need to persist. We give in when we ought to stand our ground.

Conclusion Of That Conflict Between Abraham and Lot

But why do we give in? What are we persisting for?

Those are things we need to consider with regards to our faith. Right now we have all made our decision with regards to faith, and we all feel that we make the right choice. But how would we feel about that decision 10-20 years down the road?

Sometimes we will only know the outcome of our choice when we stand before God. At that time it will be too late for regrets.

That is why the bible tells us that God is watching us as we make our choices today.

When Abraham and Lot was fighting, God did not appear. He was watching as the events unfold, when he saw the decision Abraham made, he choose to appear before Abraham after Lot left.

“And the Lord said to Abram, after
Lot had separated from him: “Lift
your eyes now and look from the
place where you are—northward,
southward, eastward, and westward;
for all the land which you see I give to
you and your descendants forever. “-Moses (Gen 13:14-15)

Abraham passed the test and God is please with his choice. God assured him of his blessing, for Abraham esteemed the promises of God. When one esteem the promises of God, God will esteem him as well.

Conclusion Of The Study

So if we were to encounter a problem in faith, and there is a choice to be made. What choice will we make?

Will we choose to be like Abraham to esteem God’s promises? Or will we choose to be like Lot to be concern only with our earthly treasure. We know that Lot regretted his choice at the end of the day, for he lost everything when God destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Will we still make a choice like Lot? May God help us make the right choice always.

Introduction

We have begin our study of the choices of life. So far we have learnt the about the following.

1. Choice Of Oprah And Ruth

There was a man who entered a fine dining restaurant. He was greeted by the waiter “Sir would you like a drink? There is fruit juice , tea and coffee”. The man replied “Give me tea” and the waiter replied “Do you want Red Tea, Green Tea or Jasmine?”. He said “Red Tea” Then the water ask  “Do you want milk to go with your tea?” he replied “Fresh milk please” the waiter continued “Will it be cows milk or goats milk?” He replied “Goats milk” , the waiter asked “Do you want white or rare sugar?”

At that point the man gave up and said “Just give me water” . The Waiter ask “Spring or tap water?” the man said in despair “Forget it, just let me thirst to death”

We need to make choices for many things in life. It can be about what to eat, what to wear. We are not worried about having no food, but rather there are too many choices. Sometimes it makes us unsure what to choose.

We often like to have more choices but when there are too many choices it will be hard to decide. Sometimes we do not know what is good choice for us.

Let us consider the choice of Mary and Martha

The Choice Of Mary And Martha

Sometimes in the midst of many choices, we are unsure over which is the best choice. That is why Jesus reminds us that there are things we cannot do without.

“Martha, Martha, you are worried
  and troubled about many things.
  But one thing is needed, and Mary
  has chosen that good part, which
  will not be taken away from her.”- Jesus (Lk 10:41-42)

So have we made the right choice? There are many things in life we can choose to let go. When we do so, it will help us to be less burdened and give us less worry. It will allow us to have more time to relax and allowing us to lead a less pressured and relax life.

The Choice Of Mary : The Word Of God

For man is limited and cannot have everything in life, we all have different needs. But there is one thing that we cannot do without, we need to take note of the words of Jesus. Jesus was talking about the better portion, which is the teaching of God.

Many people in the world had different definition of “A better portion”. Different man had different opinion of the better portion. The poor will regard money as a better portion for it solves his problem. But the rich will regard longevity as a better portion. for if one had money and no life it is no good. Many will view health as a better portion for they do not like to suffer illness.

To the dead there is no such things as a good portion. That is when we realise the only good portion in life is eternal life. Jesus tells us that it is something we cannot do without. For Gods words is the words of life, it is all that we need.

For we will all die on e day, and nothing on earth is a true blessing. For all things are temporary and we need to choose the words of God. That is the choice of Mary and it should be our choice as well.

The Life Giving Word Of God

Elder Peter Once tell us

“having been born again, not of corruptible
  seed but incorruptible, through the word of
  God which lives and abides forever, because

  “All flesh is as grass,
   And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass.
   The grass withers,
   And its flower falls away,
    But the word of the Lord endures forever.”

  Now this is the word which by the gospel was
  preached to you.” – Peter (1 Pet 1:23-25)

A Seed could be full of life or dead, but how would one be able to tell between the two? Of one were to plant the seed he will be able tell it easily. If the seed grows, we will know if the seed had life. You can eat its fruit. But if one does not plant the  seed there will be no growth and it will never had a life.

Peter tells us that the words we hear are precious for it is the words of life. If one were to hear it, it will give him eternal life and help us to pursue after God. We often pursue  after many things in the world, but those things are like flowers and grass. They look pretty but they are temporary.

Indeed today we have flowers that are permanent, they are fake flowers that doesn’t die. Sometimes we even mistook them as real flowers.  

We need to differentiate between genuine and artificial, what is everlasting and what is temporary. We are often careful with many things in life. How can we be careless with the words of God?

We need to receive this life giving work and it will bring us salvation. But there are many who do not like the truth in the words of God. For they feel that it brings dissensions and unhappiness and it breaks the unity of the church.

But the church is the kingdom of God and if they do not talk about the truth, what else should they be talking about?

The Word That Forgive Sins And Grants Eternal Life 

The Church is not a social club, an entertainment venue or a welfare society. There are already plenty of such organisations in the world.  But the world lacks a place where sins is forgiven, where salvation is granted.

Those  is only found in the church of God and that is why Jesus need to establish the church. The purpose of the church is the to preach the gospel and present all mankind with a choice. Man can choose to accept the grace of God and be forgiven or to choose to reject God.

In the eyes of God this choice is something that is important and something that must always be present. If the church was does not preach or care about the truth of God. Is she still the church of Christ. If Christians do not love the truth and do not discern the truth. If they treat the truth as something unimportant, they will disappoint God greatly.

Let us realign our thinking about the choice we make, for all man had to die once and after that to face judgement. Where will our souls end up in? That is why Jesus reminds us saying 

“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide
  is the gate and broad is the way that
  leads to destruction, and there are
  many who go in by it. Because narrow
  is the gate and difficult is the way which
  leads to life, and there are few who find it.” – Jesus (Matt 7:13-14)

In life it appears as if there are many choices and many path to take, but in fact there are only 2 paths to take at the end of our life. One path leads to eternal life while the other leads to destruction. Which path will we take eventually? It depends on the choice we make in this life, if we choose to listen to the words of Jesus, we have eternal life. If we choose to listen to the world, we will reap destruction. 

The Choice Of The Rich Fool

Jesus once talked about the parable of the rich man who had a lot of wealth. He is capable and good, and he planned to tear down his barns for a bigger barn. He had gained so much in a short time and he added riches upon riches.

He told himself

“Soul, you have many goods laid up
  for many years; take your ease; eat,
  drink, and be merry.” – Rich man  (Lk 12:19)

But God told him

“Fool! This night your soul will be
  required of you; then whose will
  those things be which you have
  provided?’”- God (Lk 12:20)

We have heard this parable many times, but have we made our choice? Sometimes we forget our choice so we need to re-read the scriptures. 

“So is he who lays up treasure for
  himself, and is not rich toward God.” – Jesus (Lk 12:21)

We often forget this verse. Jesus tells us that those who choose wealth are poor towards God. Let us not be like the rich fool. for he made a wrong choice. He is rich before everyone else but he is poor in the eyes of God.

We need to have God to abide with us, we know that we will gain much if we strive after the world. But at the very end all that we gain will be given to others. The Chinese had a interesting word for the word blessing. You would often see this word written in their house especially during Chinese new Year

It is the word 福. Which is “Fu”. This words can be broken up into 2 portion. One side reads “一口田” which means a plot of land. But that is only half of the word. The other side of the word shares the same side as the word God. (神 which is Shen)

Only when both words appear then the word blessing is formed. IT reminds us that material possession is only half a blessing.  Only when it is accompanied with God then that is true blessing.

We need to have this same realisation,  indeed as human beings we need money for survival. All matters in life requires some money to be spent. But life is not about making money. We need to prepare for the salvation of our souls. For one day, our souls will leave us. When that happen where will it go?

Jesus reminds us to learn from Mary and to make the right choice. Let us choose to come before him and listen to the words of God.

At the same time there are 3 things we need to consider from the choice of Mary and Martha

Pt 1: How Should We Come Before Jesus ? 

Both Martha and Mary loved the Lord, they like to come before his presence. But their attitudes are different. It is something we ought to consider as Christian. For it is something we need to consider before coming towards God.

But Martha was distracted with much serving,
  and she approached Him and said,
  “Lord, do You not care that my sister
    has left me to serve alone? Therefore 
    tell her to help me.”.”- Luke (Lk 10:40)

When Martha came before Jesus, she only spoke what she wanted to say. Mary on the contrary did the opposite. She came before Jesus to listen to what he wanted to say. Martha was distracted with much serving and she was full of complaints within her heart. She is complaining about Mary not helping her. She is indirectly blaming Jesus. For she said “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone?”

Usually when one is busy and troubled, they will end up frowning and unhappy. The will not be able to listen to the words of God and they can only complain. Martha failed to realise it, and she even push the blame onto Jesus. She felt that she had the right to be angry. That is why she spoke bluntly before Jesus, but Jesus rebuke her gently.

“Martha, Martha, you are worried
  and troubled about many things” – Jesus (Lk 10:41)

Are these things really so important? Does Jesus need to listen to our order and do as we please?   Jesus said these for he wanted Martha to consider her heart, her thoughts and her action. 

At the same time Mary had many things to say, and lots of question she cannot understand. For he heard of Jesus talking about his death. The Jews of those days thinks that the Messiah will live forever, and if Jesus were to die is he still the messiah?

Mary must have loads of question on her mind as she heard Jesus talking about his death. But yet she put aside her worries, troubles and question and listen to him attentively.

“And she had a sister called Mary,
  who also sat at Jesus’ feet and
  heard His word “- Luke (Lk 10:39)

Pt 2: Are We Sitting At the Feet Of Jesus?

We need to ask ourselves , “Are we sitting at the feet of Jesus? Are We Listening To Him Attentively?”

Perhaps we may be seated in the church,  but are we seating quietly listening or are we on a lookout for words that will offend us? Are we sitting in the church hall but sleeping? Or are we hearing attentively?

What does it mean to sit before the feet of Jesus today?

The sermon speaker is a servant of God he is speaking in the name of Jesus. At the moment when he said “In the name of Jesus I speak” he is a representative of Jesus. The words he is speaking is taken from the bible. We are suppose to be listening to the words of God.

We are here to study the words of God and not to examine the qualification of the speaker. As long as he is speaking from the bible, we ought to pay attention. that is what it means to sit at the feet of Jesus.

If we come to the church with a attitude saying “Who is this man who is speaking, is he qualified to speak the words of God” We will only be listening to the words of man. For we ignore the fact that he begin in the name of Jesus and we do not even care if what he speak is accordance to the bible or not.

If one were to hold such attitude, then we are seating before the feet of man and hearing the words of man.

Jesus once told us something that we need to believe in

“For where two or three are gathered
  together in My name, I am there in
  the midst of them.”- Jesus (Matt 18:20)

Have we considered that Jesus is with us here in the church hall? Perhaps we do not see vision of Jesus and angels appearing among us. But if we believe in the words of God then every service will be a miracle by itself.

Even though we cannot see Jesus with us, but we can see him through faith. If we do that then we would be careful with what we do within the church. For we know that God is watching us as we service.

Sometimes we forget that Jesus is within our midst that is why we act without thinking that God is present with us. So today as we gather for service and as we speak and listen to sermon.

The speaker needs to understand that he is actually representing Jesus speaking, he had to be mindful and to speak according to the words of God. He need to speak diligently and be faithful to the words of God.

Likewise the listeners need to be reminded that they have a duty to be attentive and to listen. They had a duty to discern if the words spoken is according to the word of God.

For God is with us whenever we gather to worship. Let us consider if we have followed or went against the teaching of the bible.

Pt 3: Are We Serious In Our Worship?

Whenever we think of the fact that Jesus is with us in this church hall. Have we ever asked “What is he doing here today?” Those who are parents will check on their kids quietly. They want to know if the kid will behave when they are not around.

In fact Jesus is looking at us, he is not just looking at what we are doing within this church hall. He is looking at our hearts, and he can  hear our hearts responding to the speaker. He can hear our heart cursing and scolding the speaker. At the same time he is also looking at the speaker, he is considering if the speaker is indeed speaking the words of God.

He wanted to know if the speaker will dare to speak for God or if he would speak to please man. At the same time he is looking at the congregation. He wanted to know if they are here to receive the words of God or the words of man.

He wanted to know if we are serious in our service towards him . Perhaps there are time we are not serious, but Jesus is always serious, for whenever 2-3 are gathered in his name he will be there in their midst.

He want to know how we would worship him and he wants to know how reverent we are. He wanted to know how genuine is our hearts.

Conclusion 

Jesus once tells us that we need to worship in spirit and in truth. The original language also reminds us that  we need to worship according to the truth. Whenever we gather to worship do we come with willingness or anger? Do we worship him according to our whims and fancy and are we worshipping according to the truth?

We have made the right choice to come to church to listen to his words, but God is interested to know what is our attitude and what is on our mind. Let us ask God to help us understand this and help us readjust our thinking. Let us learn to worship God out of a pious and reverent heart.

Let us learn to worship God sincerely. 

In our previous part we have explored deeper into the story of the 5 loaves and 2 fishes. We have discussed the two common skeptical reactions to the miracles.

We have looked discussed to see if the miracle was a result of an act of sharing or the power of God.

We also looked into the more difficult question of “If Jesus is so power, why are there so many hungry Christians in the world. We have establish the fact that God is able to provide food under all circumstances, but he did not do it for no reason.

The Israelites questioned Jesus telling him that their forefathers ate manna in the wilderness for 40 years. Let us now consider this matter even further.

Comparing Jesus and Manna

That is why Jesus begins teaching them  by telling them this

“Most assuredly, I say to you,
   Moses did not give you the bread
   from heaven, but My Father gives
   you the true bread from heaven.  
   
For the bread of God is He who comes
   down from heaven and gives life to
   the world.”- Jesus (Jn 6:32-33)

Sadly, the Jews failed to understand, and they only wanted the physical manna. All that they saw was the physical food. Indeed after eating, one will still die at the end. But God wanted us to have the bread of life, and with it we can live forever.

But when the Jews heard that they responded saying “Give us this bread always”,

That is when Jesus told them he is the bread of life. Anyone who goes to him will never hunger and will never thirst. But that is not a physical food, but spiritual food. That bread is the eternal life that God wanted to give them.

Even though man may die physically but they will rise once again on the day when God will judge the world. At that time, those who believe in him will enter into eternal life. That is Gods greatest gift to mankind.

For we know that

And as it is appointed for men to die once,
  but after this the judgment, “ – Author of Hebrews (Heb 9:27)

That is why we need Jesus. For man will die one day and there is judgement after death. This is something even our children knows, though many of us do not believe in god our conscience always tells us that we would be judged for what we do. That is why most of us will refrain from doing for our conscience always warns us.

What Must We Do?

As man is working, God is watching. Jesus had once said

“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets.
  I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. F or assuredly, I say
  to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle
  will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled” – Jesus (Matt 5:17-18)

Jesus came to establish the kingdom of God, he had given the church a commission to preach the gospel to all man. He wanted mankind to know that he is the Christ and he had died for our sins. Our sins can be washed away with his blood, and if we allow his grace to come into our lives we can face him boldly on the day of judgement and we can enter into eternal life.

That is the salvation of God and our purpose for following Christ

The True Promises Of God

There was once a pastor who begin by praying for his congregation. He started by praying

“Thank you Lord for giving us health so we can eat, drink and be happy, for without health all will be pointless” and everyone said “Amen”

However, there are some who left the prayer for they felt “Why did Jesus not heal me? Why am I sick?” But the pastor is unaware of it as his eyes were closed

Then he continue praying. 

“We thank you God for giving us a sweet and lovely home, where we can relax and see our beloved family members.”

Some left the congregation because their family is not at all blissful and there are quarrels everywhere. So they grumbled against God thinking “Why is my home in turmoil? Did Jesus not love me?”

He continue praying, saying

“We thank you for our successful career, a big house and a big car. We know that it all came from you and we have nothing to boast about, all we can do is to thank you from the bottom of our hearts”

The rich in the congregation said “Amen” but there are many poor seated there. they slog day and night and can not even put food to their tables or own a single property. There are some who work hard and have their salary cheated. They think to themselves, “Why did God not bless me with these opportunities for a better life? I think he did not love me”

Finally the pastor concluded saying “We thank God that we are all alive today”

But the hall was strangely silent and when he open his eyes, he saw the church hall empty. So he wondered “Was my prayer wrong? Isnt this what everyone wish for? why did they all run away?” So he asked God “Where did I go wrong this time?”

Gods reply was “You have mistaken, you have given promise which I never promised. You have signed a lot of blank cheques on my behalf. As the result, those who did not receive them left sad and disappointed?

“I did not promise believers to be rich blissful and healthy. Indeed it is within my power to do so,  but that is not what I have promised”

So what did God promise us? Why did we follow Jesus?

“And this is the promise that
  He has promised us—eternal life.” John (1 Jn 2:25)

If we hold on to this promise, then the sufferings on earth is all worth it. For we know that there is a place of eternal joy, where there are no tears and suffering. Indeed everything on this earth temporary, it will pass away one day.Let us not worry about the temporary pain but be concerned with eternal life.

I do not think that God uses sufferings and pain to developed faith ,  I believe that God do bless people with healing and benefits. But we need to understand why God blesses us. Blessings are given so that one would know that Jesus is God, and that knowledge can bring eternal life to those who believe.

This is true because God has set his seal upon Jesus.

Recognising The Seal Of God

“Do not labor for the food which
  perishes, but for the food which
  endures to everlasting life, which
  the Son of Man will give you, because
  God the Father has set His seal
  on Him.” – Jesus (Jn 6:27)

We need to seek this promise eternal life through Jesus, for God has set His seal on him. In the olden days, Signatures alone cannot be used to verify the authenticity of an important document. The documents must be sealed with the seal of the owner to verify its sender.

Today we see such seals still used on University Degrees and important documents. Whenever one see the seal, they will know the owner. God performed signs miracles and wonders as seals to prove that Jesus is indeed from God.

Jesus had once said

“Do you not believe that I am in the Father,
   and the Father in Me? The words that I speak
   to you I do not speak on My own authority; but
   the Father who dwells in Me does the works. 
   
Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father 
   in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works
   themselves.” – Jesus (Jn 14:10-11)

We have went through all these miracles performed by Jesus and we know that no other man on earth can perform miracles such as this.  All the miracles recorded here are the seal of the heavenly father. By recognising his seal, we will know that Jesus is indeed from God.

To Believe Or Not To Believe

There was a man who was lost in the desert, he had ran out of water and he saw a lonesome cabin in a distance. Out of desperation he ran towards it. When he arrive in the cabin he found it empty. In the cabin was a pump and a pail, he looked into the pail and there in it was a note

“Dear stranger: 
  This water pump is in working condition, 
  but the pump needs to be primed in order
  for the water to come out. Under the white
  rock, I buried a jar of water, out of the sun.
  There’s enough water in the jar to prime
  the pump, but not if you drink any first.
  When you are finished, please fill the jar
  and put it back as you found it for the next 
  stranger who comes this way.”

Can that be true? if it is true then it is good news, for there will be more water from the pump. However,  the traveller did not know how long the note was there. Assuming if the pump is damaged, than the water would have been wasted.

“If I drink this water, i will die of thirst eventually, worst still if the next man were to come into this cabin he may not have the chance to get water”  These though paced in his mind relentlessly.

Finally he decide to pour the water in and to prime the pump. Truly the pump was working and there was a lot of water. So as he enjoy the water and drink his fill, he did not forget to keep a bottle of water for the next stranger who arrive.

Before he left, he added one more line to the note

“The words written on this note is true,
   I have tested it personally. You must
  believe these words”

Jesus told us “Believe in me and you will have eternal life”

Will we choose to believe it? If we want everlasting life we need to believe in the words of Jesus. Let us pour our lives into Jesus, for out of it will be a spring of eternal life where the waters will never run dry.

May we all receive this eternal life and may we all believe in him.

So far in our studies of Trials And Temptation We have covered the following 1

Part 1 : The Fundamental Difference Between Trials and Temptation
Part 2: The 1st Concept: God Does Not Tempt Anyone

Now let us take a look at the second concept regarding Trials and Temptation from the book of James,

Second Concept : To Count It Joy When We Fall To Trials

“My brethren, count it all joy
  when you fall into various trials,” – James (Jn 1:2)

The second concept is to be joyful in the Midst of Trials. James was writing the book of  James to the 12 Tribes scattered abroad. But if we consider the new testaments perspective , there are in fact only 2 tribes. One that believe in Jesus and the other who are antichrist.

During the days of James . the 12 tribes of the Jews are mainly antichrist, and they persecute those who belong to Christ. Paul used to be zealous in the work of persecuting Christians and he went around seeking to throw Christians into the prison. Later on he was converted by the grace of God and he became someone who believed in Christ

The ones who persecute Christians are considered the majority to those who believe in Christ. In those days, believing in Christ doesn’t bring peace, but it means being persecuted for the fact that they accepted Christ. The persecution is severe and it can lead to them being thrown into the lions den or burnt alive. When in the midst of those trials, they are some Christians who did not know what to do.they were discouraged and they murmured against God.

This is natural,  for if we are thrown into prison for crimes, we will feel its justified. But these people are suffering just because of their belief in Jesus, and they fall into trials. That is when many find it hard to be joyful.

The Correction From James

Therefore when James wrote his letter to encourage the believers, he started by correcting their concept of Trials. He told them that they are supposed to be joyful when they encounter trials. But at this point of time, many would ask “Is such a joy  a form of self deception?”

Interestingly there is a Chinese Novelist Lu Xun who once wrote a book known as (The True Story of Ah Q” (阿Q正传). In it was a character known as Ah Q, he was full of self talk and self deception.  He will imagine himself as a victor even if he was defeated

But James here is not promoting such spirit. But rather he is promoting a spirit of faith. Peter talked about the same spirit as well

Beloved, do not think it strange
  concerning the fiery trial which
  is to try you, as though some
  strange thing happened to you;

   but rejoice to the extent that you
  partake of Christ’s sufferings, that
  when His glory is revealed, you
  may also be glad with exceeding  joy. 

  If you are reproached for the name of
  Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of
  glory and of God rests upon you. On their
  part He is blasphemed, but on your part
  He is glorified. But let none of you suffer
  as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as
  a busybody in other people’s matters. 
  Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him
  not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in
  this matter”- Peter (1 Pet 4:12-16)

That should be out attitude of faith, we must not find it strange when fiery trials came upon us. For we are suffering together with Christ. Eventually when he comes again, we will rejoice with him.

Although in the eyes of man we appear pitiable in the midst of suffering. Even though it appears shameful before others. But in the eyes of God it is something glorious, it is a blessing as well. For if we are reproached for Christ, we received a blessing for the spirit of God rest in us. Those who do not understand the faith can only see their pitiful state and their suffering but they are unable to see the glorious spirit of God abiding with them.

Conclusion Of Second Concept

That is why James corrected our concept , telling us that we must count it joy when we undergo trials. For the spirit of God is upon us and we are suffering alongside with Christ. Pester tells us that that suffering is a different kind of suffering. Typical punishment comes with shame, and there is no glory in punishment for doing wrong. But if one suffer punishment because of Christ, it is a blessing for when Christ comes again you will rejoice with him.

That is because while we are alive, we are willing to suffer together with Christ and Christ is willing to allow us to rejoice with him. That is a concept every Christian ought to have in the midst of Trials

Introduction

“And truly Jesus did many other signs
  in the presence of His disciples, which
  are not written in this book;  but these
  are written that you may believe that
  Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and
  that believing you may have life
  in His name.”- John (Jn 20:30-31)

John tells us that there are many miracles performed by Jesus which were not recorded in the gospel. But He had specially chosen 7 for us to read. He did that so that we can believe that Jesus is indeed the Christ and we can have life through his name.

So far we have taken a look at his first miracle

1. Jesus turning water into wine (Part 1, Part 2)
2. Jesus Healing The Nobleman’s son (Part 3, Part 4)
3. Jesus Healing By The Pool Of Bethesda (Part 5, Part 6)

Let us continue the study by looking at the 4th Miracle

5 Loaves And 2 Fishes

I once came across a song about it.

 

“There is a lad here who has five barley
  loaves and two small fish, but what are
  they among so many?”- Andrew (Jn 6:9)

  … ….

“Therefore they gathered them up, and
  filled twelve baskets with the fragments
  of the five barley loaves which were left
  over by those who had eaten.  Then those
  men, when they had seen the sign that
  Jesus did, said, “This is truly the Prophet
  who is to come into the world.”- John (Jn 6:13-14)

Sometimes we wonder what good can 5 loaves of bread and 2 fishes do. Over here Jesus perform a great miracle feeding 5000 with it. The 5000 people accounted for are men, so it is possible that there are 10 000 people present at that time. All of them had eaten and were filled and there are 12 baskets of fragments remaining.

Those who saw the miracles claims that he is truly a prophet. Indeed there are many prophet sent among the Israelites, but to the Jews there is one that is very special. For all the prophets sent to Israel were man, but there is one prophet who will come from God.

This prophet was spoken off by Moses and he is God coming in the form of flesh to save man.  His purpose is to establish the kingdom of God and to bring man to heaven, This special prophet is the prophet that all the other prophets prophesy about. He is called the Messiah, or in Greek “Christ” his name is Jesus.

During that time, many did not believe in him, they saw him as a son of a mere carpenter. His brothers and sisters were also among them, and many wonder “How can a child like that be a that prophet? How can he come from God?”

Jesus performed many miracles and amazed them again and again. But this time, after feeding 10 000 with 5 loaves and 2 fishes, the people believed that he is truly the prophet. They wanted to make him king  but they misunderstood Christ. They thought that the Messiah’s Kingdom will be in the world,,

They only knew Jesus through the miracles that he perform. For they know that no one could use so little to feed so many and they knew it is certainly not a magic trick. Jesus did the miracle to display his power of God for he is able to feed 10 000 with 5 loaves and 2 fishes.

An Answer To Skeptics Who Called This A Story Of Sharing

There are skeptics who claim that this is not a miracle. They claims that at that time everyone is hungry, and many brought food with them. They did not dare to eat it for no one is willing to share.

When the disciples came asking for food, the boy generously open and share is food. His selfless act touched everyone who then took out their food to share with their neighbour. they claim that it is a story of love, and it is something we can all learn from. But by saying this they discredited the miracle, accusing the disciples for making this story into a myth.

But such explanation fail to account for the 12 basket of fragments remaining. At the same time, there were at least 5000 men who were present during the miracle, they were alive when the story was spread. Why then did no one had the moral courage to refute the miracle?

They were unable to refute for they all knew that Jesus performed that miracle and he is the Christ, they knew him as God manifested in the flesh to give eternal life to anyone who believe

An Answer To Skeptics Asking  “Why Are There So Many Hungry Christians?”

But yet there are still scoffers who will pass comments like this “Since Jesus is so good, that will mean we will not hunger again. For Jesus can provide bread for us and we never had to work again. Why then are there so many hungry Christians in this world?”

But as Christians we ought to be able to answer this skeptics. But how would we approach it?

Yes if Jesus is willing, he can provide us bread and we do not need to work. This miracle happened before, that happen when Israel left Egypt, they were without food. They had finish all the food they brought out of Egypt, and God rained Manna from heaven. He did it for 40 years in the wilderness. This is a miracle that many Jews know today.

If God is willing he is able to perform this miracle just as he did thousand of years ago. But as Christian we ought to ask ourselves “Why then did Jesus not do it now?”

This is the same question asked by the Jews during the time of Jesus

“What sign will You perform then,
   that we may see it and believe You?
   What work will You do?  Our fathers
   ate the manna in the desert; as it is
   written, ‘He gave them bread from
   heaven to eat.’”- Followers of Christ (Jn 6:30-31)

Interestingly they just saw Jesus feeding 10 000 with 5 loaves and 2 fishes, why then did they ask Jesus to perform a sign so that they will believe him? They quoted the experience of their forefather in the wilderness who ate manna for 40 years.

Jesus perform this miracle once, for one meal only, yet the truth is, God fed their ancestors for 40 years in the wilderness. But Jesus gave them a reply that they were not to happy with

“Most assuredly, I say to you,
  you seek Me, not because you
  saw the signs, but because you
  ate of the loaves and were filled.” – Jesus (Jn 6:26-27)

These people came to Jesus as if they were seeking him with zeal, it appears as if they believe in him and they wanted to follow him all the way. But they came to Jesus not for his signs or for eternal life. They saw the miracles of Jesus and knew that they can receive physical benefits from them.

But Jesus did not perform those miracles to tell others that he can bring material benefits. He did them so that they will know that he is the messiah and the could give them eternal life.

Sadly these people are not interested in  eternal life and salvation. They are only interested in the physical benefits, the fact that he can heal the sick, cast our demon and give bread to the hungry.

That is why Jesus reminded them not to labour for food that perish.  He wanted to correct their perception, he wanted them to know that he did not come to the world to give physical benefits. He wanted to give eternal life to them. That is the very reason why Jesus perform the miracles in the first place.

The Purpose For Miracles

Indeed there are many blind men in Israel but not all had their eyes open by Jesus. There are many lepers in Israel during the time of Christ, but how many recieved healing from Jesus? Jesus can feed the hungry, he performed the miracle twice. Throughout his years of ministry, he raised 3 from then dead.

That is not because God is without power, but his purpose of doing them is allow others to see that he is the Christ and to come to him for eternal life.

Jesus had the power to overthrow the Roman empire, but he choose not to. The Israelites wanted him to be king, they wanted the Messiah to drive the Romans out of the land of Judea. They wanted to be free from bondage, labour and taxes. ‘

But Jesus did not come to establish the kingdom of God on earth, indeed he came to establish a kingdom of God, but that kingdom is meant to provide salvation to the people.

But this disappointed the Jews who were in great opposition. We do not deny that slavery is a terrible practice, immoral and depressing but the purpose of Jesus is not to overthrow systems and to improve the physical lives of the people. He is not here to create heaven on earth he is here to establish a kingdom. Through the Kingdom that he establish, he could grant eternal life to those who believe. That is why he performed miracles.

The Reason For The Raining Of Manna

That is also the reason why God rained Manna for 40 years in the wilderness.

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes
  in Me has everlasting life.  I am the bread of life. 
  Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness,
  and are dead. This is the bread which comes
  down from heaven, that one may eat of it and
  not die.  I am the living bread which came down
  from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will
  live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My
  flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.” – Jesus (Jn 6:47-51)

Jesus responded to their challenge by telling them that anyone who believes in him will have eternal life. He is the bread of life and if one were to eat of this bread, he can have eternal life.

Jesus told them that their ancestors ate manna and died, the raining of manna is a great miracle, but why did God give Manna to Israel what is his purpose? Was it done solely for the purpose of handing out free food or was it done to demonstrate his power and his love?

If God only gave manna for the sake of free food then this miracle would have no significance. For those who ate the Manna died eventually, many of them died in the 40 years in the wilderness.

God did it to tell the world that he had the ability to give us the bread of life. He wanted us to live forever by accepting this bread of life.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 35 other followers