Sermon Notes — John 6:1-21


The Importance of Gathered Worship

As we enter into worship again we are reminded that the Church has always held this “time of gathered worship” to be “sacred” or a uniquely “set apart” time. It is as if we have stepped out of one reckoning of Time that is itself, by God’s sanctification of it, “Holy” into another reckoning of Time that is doubly sanctified by God as “Holy of Holies.” Apart from this Holy of Holy time of worship other time cannot find its own proper set apartness. In entering into Worship we have thus entered into a different kind of time. Oh, to be sure, the second and minute hand on the clock moves in the same way, and the cares and concerns of that other time are still with us, but in this sacred worship time we are reoriented ourselves to the things that matter most. In this Time meaning for all other time finds its meaning and so we find our meaning. The sacredness of Worship time is not found in the Minister — except as he serves as God’s spokesman, nor in the Church pews or building itself but the sacredness of Worship time is found in the fact that the Sovereign of the Universe has gathered His people to meet with them during this time around Word and Sacrament.

We might likewise speak of the sacredness of this space. All space is Holy as set apart unto God but this space at this time we might carefully and judiciously speak of as Holy of Holy space. Made sacred by the fact that God has condescended to meet with us in this space at this time via Word and Sacrament. It is not the building itself nor the sanctuary itself that makes the space sacred as if the building and sanctuary in and of themselves carried this quality but the building and sanctuary have sacredness to them as the place where God meets with man around God’s appointed means of Grace.

This idea then is extended to the Church calendar. We are a unique people who, because of our being named and owned by Christ are oriented to the world differently. We find that different orientation contained in the way we mark time. As we come week by week we are reminded that it is because we belong to the God of the Bible and His Christ we think differently even about the way we mark or time. Our Church calendar reminds us we are to relate to time and seasons as a uniquely Christian people. The Church calendar  lifts us out of the naked presentism that this present wicked age would press upon our minds, thus insisting that the “now” is all there is, and reminds us again that we are a people, who, because of our connection to our Christian past and our Christian Fathers, are future oriented. The Church calendar reminds us that in belonging to God and His Christ we belong to a people who though being dead still speak.

Thus Worship is set apart time in set apart space reorienting us to the past, present and future in such a way that we can spend all our time as living in the presence of God, to God’s glory.

None of this is magic or superstition. It is God who is doing all the doing not us.

I.) Miraculous Feedings as OT Anticipation

Well, as we come to the text this week

As we consider the text this week we once again come up against the idea of Miracle. The Scripture’s concept of “miracle” we note again is characterized by those happenings not explicable by solely natural processes and so can be thought of only as being done by the finger of God. In John’s Gospel particularly Miracles are seen as sign gifts providing some revelation of who the Lord Christ is as very God of very God.

We should note here, briefly, that because miracles are so carefully defined in Scripture we should be careful in using that word to describe events today. In the proliferation of the usage of the word “miracle” miracles become less and less miraculous. It is like our usage of the word “awesome.” If everything is “awesome” then awesome loses its punch.

So we come to John’s text and we note at the outset that John himself gives us the theme or purpose of this passage at the end of the first miracle recorded here,

John 6:14 — “This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!”

Obviously, the purpose of the miracle here confirms Christ as the greater Prophet that God promised would one day come. Way back in Dt. 18 God had said to Israel,

Dt. 18:15 — “The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen—

And earlier then that this great Prophet had been spoken of,

Gen. 49:10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
    nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
until tribute comes to him;[a]
    and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.

In the Miracles here in John 6 , Jesus is giving His credentials as that Prophet that is a greater Prophet then Moses … indeed a Prophet who is very God of very God yet remaining very Man of very man.

The Miracle here preformed by our Lord Christ has Old Testament legs and so is just the kind of Miracle that the people might expect that one greater than Moses is in their midst. That is to say that the record of Scripture as it pertains to God’s prophet feeding God’s people suggest to us that the promised King who would bring in His Kingdom would be someone who supernaturally feeds His people.

In the creation account we find God creating a world where God tells His people how He has provided food for them,

Genesis 1:29 And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.

So from the beginning we see God as the God who provides His people food to eat.

This theme is articulated in Psalm 145

The eyes of all look to you,
    and you give them their food in due season.
16 You open your hand;
    you satisfy the desire of every living thing.

This theme crops up  in the age of the Prophets where the two greatest Prophets of that age demonstrate their role as “men of God” by feeding God’s people miraculously.

Elijah and the Widow from Zarephath

I Kings 17:11 And as she was going to bring it, he called to her and said, “Bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.” 12 And she said, “As the Lord your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. And now I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it and die.” 13 And Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go and do as you have said. But first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterward make something for yourself and your son. 14 For thus says theLord, the God of Israel, ‘The jar of flour shall not be spent, and the jug of oil shall not be empty, until the day that the Lord sends rain upon the earth.’”15 And she went and did as Elijah said. And she and he and her household ate for many days. 16 The jar of flour was not spent, neither did the jug of oil become empty, according to the word of the Lord that he spoke by Elijah.

Elisha & the 100 men

II Kings 4

42 A man came from Baal-shalishah, bringing the man of God bread of the firstfruits, twenty loaves of barley and fresh ears of grain in his sack. And Elisha said, “Give to the men, that they may eat.” 43 But his servant said, “How can I set this before a hundred men?” So he repeated, “Give them to the men, that they may eat, for thus says the Lord, ‘They shall eat and have some left.’”44 So he set it before them. And they ate and had some left, according to the word of the Lord.

But the account that this feeding here is likely hearkening back to in the clearest manner is How God fed His people under the leadership of the Great Moses.

Notice how the text starts,

After this Jesus went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias.

God providentially ordains events so that there is a kind of recapitulation going on here. This idea of recapitulation, you will recall, is the idea that an OT story is being told again in some way but only with time with the Lord Christ as He who is the fulfillment of all that was anticipatory or shadowed in the Old covenant.

II.) The Lord Christ As the Greater Moses

This real historical event is happening in such a way that a previous historical event is paralleled.  This is set in a kind of wilderness area just as Moses was with the children of Israel in the Wilderness when they were hungry. There is language of Jesus going up a Mountain which draws our memories back to Moses’ Mountain ascent to be in God’s presence. As Moses will announce God’s intent to feed His people with the Bread of Heaven, the Lord Christ feeds the people with supernaturally multiplied bread and fish. The Lord Christ is the greater and long anticipated prophet that Moses spoke of.

There is an interesting contrast here though.

Like Moses, Jesus does feed the multitude in the wilderness. Moses asked God, “Where am I to get meat to give to all this people? For they come weeping to me and say, ‘Give us meat to eat!’” (Numbers 11:13).  Jesus asks a similar question of Philip (5) thus joining the two accounts more firmly together,

“Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?”

but the difference between the two questions is found in the fact that while Moses needed God to provide Jesus already knew that He, as God, would provide (vs. 6)

“he himself knew what he was going to do”

Now combine all this that John tell us that all this is happening in the context of Passover soon to be celebrated and the idea that Jesus is a greater Moses is being screamed at us from the text.

So there is recapitulation all over this text. We have mentioned some of those points. Others would include how the supernatural feeding and the salvation from the threats of the sea are combined together. This parallels the Exodus account of being delivered from the Sea and the manna being provided in the wilderness. In both accounts instructions are given to gather up the remains (6:12, Ex. 16:19). In both story accounts you have complaining from people (cmp. vs. 41 w/ Ex. 16:2)

III.) Excursus … Miracles associated w/ Food and Drink
As an aside here isn’t it fascinating to note all the Miracles that are associated with food and drink? The first Miracle was in Cana of Galilee at a Marriage feast where water was turned into the finest of wines. Feeding of the 5000. Feeding of the 4000. Cursing of the Fig tree because it did not provide food.
Then there is the establishment of the Eucharist in the context of the eating and drinking of the Passover. The promise of Christ to the Disciples, “But I say to you, I will not drink from now on of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom,” reminds us that there will be this table fellowship in Heaven. Finally, in Revelation, the promises to those who overcome are to eat the tree of life (2:7), to enjoy the hidden manna (2:17), and to dine with the Lord (3:20). All of this is suggestive of a sermon that could stand by itself.

IV.) Christ; The Bread Come Down From Heaven — Cross speak

We would not have done this text justice though if we were to have stopped here. The fact that the Lord Christ is a greater Moses is only penultimate to the thrust of the Miracle. As we learn later in this chapter the ultimate purpose of the Miracle is to point to Christ as He who is the Bread from Heaven. The Lord Christ is the bread of God who comes down from heaven and gives His life for the World (John 6:33).

This passage reminds us again that there is no life apart from Christ who was broken by God on the Cross as God’s Bread for God’s people. Those who refuse this bread of heaven remain dead from their spiritual malnutrition. Christ was broken that we might be made whole and there is no wholeness for those who remain apart from Christ crucified, risen and ascended.

Again we are reminded that there is no life outside of Christ. All adherents of other religions must repent before Christ and His work on the Cross. If men remain outside of Christ they remain outside of God’s favor. Because we are pro-Christ we are anti all other religions and proclaim that they are death. Because we are pro-rege we must tell adherents, out of a compassionate love for them, that they are dead men walking apart from Christ.



Redemptive History
Brief refutation — Higher Critical methodology
Harmony of Scriptures — Read Scripture as one book

Author: jetbrane

I am a Pastor of a small Church in Mid-Michigan who delights in my family, my congregation and my calling. I am postmillennial in my eschatology. Paedo-Calvinist Covenantal in my Christianity Reformed in my Soteriology Presuppositional in my apologetics Familialist in my family theology Agrarian in my regional community social order belief Christianity creates culture and so Christendom in my national social order belief Mythic-Poetic / Grammatical Historical in my Hermeneutic Pre-modern, Medieval, & Feudal before Enlightenment, modernity, & postmodern Reconstructionist / Theonomic in my Worldview One part paleo-conservative / one part micro Libertarian in my politics Systematic and Biblical theology need one another but Systematics has pride of place Some of my favorite authors, Augustine, Turretin, Calvin, Tolkien, Chesterton, Nock, Tozer, Dabney, Bavinck, Wodehouse, Rushdoony, Bahnsen, Schaeffer, C. Van Til, H. Van Til, G. H. Clark, C. Dawson, H. Berman, R. Nash, C. G. Singer, R. Kipling, G. North, J. Edwards, S. Foote, F. Hayek, O. Guiness, J. Witte, M. Rothbard, Clyde Wilson, Mencken, Lasch, Postman, Gatto, T. Boston, Thomas Brooks, Terry Brooks, C. Hodge, J. Calhoun, Llyod-Jones, T. Sowell, A. McClaren, M. Muggeridge, C. F. H. Henry, F. Swarz, M. Henry, G. Marten, P. Schaff, T. S. Elliott, K. Van Hoozer, K. Gentry, etc. My passion is to write in such a way that the Lord Christ might be pleased. It is my hope that people will be challenged to reconsider what are considered the givens of the current culture. Your biggest help to me dear reader will be to often remind me that God is Sovereign and that all that is, is because it pleases him.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *