(Translated version, original article written in Chinese by Pastor Mickey Hsiao)
By singing praises and hymns, awake your soul, open your heart to the Lord, and prepare yourself to welcome the presence of God and receive the Word of God that will be given to you.
Petition with thanksgiving to God for a wonderful day and pray sincerely for a focused Scripture reading time! (Do not rush into reading the Bible without starting with prayers!) (e.g., you may start with a simple prayer like this: “Dear Lord, what will you be speaking to me today?)
Get the following items ready in advance: your devotional notebook, paper, pen, and/or electronic devotional articles so that you can easily write down the Bible verses, questions, and thoughts you have noticed! You are encouraged to open your Bible and vocally read out the scriptures (Try to practice this reading method daily or once a week)!
Scripture Reading: John Ch. 6 (ESV)
Take a moment to quietly reflect on today’s Scriptures. Through such exercises, let God’s Word be gradually written into our hearts and be inscribed to our mind.
Read the devotional articles prepared by CBCLWA (*Read the Bible first before reading any devotional materials.)
(vv.1-21) The first two sections of this Chapter (vv. 1-15 and vv. 16-21) are about the fourth and fifth miracles of Jesus recorded in the Gospel of John. This includes the story of the five loaves and two fish and Jesus’ walking on the water. The accounts of these two miracles are not unique in the Book of John and can be seen in the other three Books of the Gospels.
Seeing such a great crowd coming toward Jesus, how could Jesus and his disciples feed them? This was an unanticipated test that Jesus gave to his disciples. At one point, the disciples asked Jesus to hurry up and send the crowd home (Matthew 14:15). After a quick financial assessment, Philip said, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread would not be enough for each of them to get a little.” There were so many people. Andrew was more pragmatic, placing all five barley loaves and two fish owned by a child in front of Jesus, and adding, “… but what are they for so many?” Yet God’s power transcended human understanding that Jesus fed five thousand people with just these five loaves and two fish. In the end, Jesus told his disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.” So they gathered them up and the leftovers filled twelve baskets!
The disciples’ approach was to discharge their responsibilities (by sending the crowd home) due to lack of money and food. They saw the need of the crowd and looked at their assets. There was a test Jesus did to first let the disciples confirm what they have was “really not enough”. They then had to rely on Him by seeing the work of God to feed the crowd. Not only that, Jesus also gave them a sense of what they called “more than enough.” What do you think the disciples were thinking when they gathered up the leftover fragments?
I believe that many people have experienced God’s wonderful provision. Besides thanking God, we must not forget to contemplate on the truth that God wants us to know. Don’t waste your experience.
(vv.22-40) The day after Jesus had finished his miracle of “five loaves and two fish”, a group of people went after Jesus intentionally. Let us investigate the following assumptions based on Jesus’ conversation with them:
- The motivation to find Jesus: “…not because you see miracles, but because you eat bread and eat them full”; a miracle is a sign that guides people to think of God, and these people came to fill their stomachs.
- What to work for? They took effort to find Jesus and they should not “work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life”
- What is doing the works of God? What is done does not matter, the most important thing is what to believe. “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”. The act brought out by faith is a work of God.
- The manna in the wilderness and the bread from heaven: Seeing their disbelief (John 6:30, 6:36), Jesus wanted them to wake up and know that “…it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven.” Similar to the true bread from heaven, Jesus before them is the Bread of Life who comes down from heaven. Jesus said to them, “…whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. … that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
Think about it, do I spend more time and energy on this life, or on eternal life? What are my motives when I seek after Jesus? Where does my ability to do work come from? Is there anything within me that needs to be corrected?
(vv.41-59) Jesus was criticized by Jews for declaring He was the bread from heaven. It was because the Jews could not accept that a living man standing before them would come from God. In the end, Jesus described himself as a sacrificial offering of Atonement, enabling people to receive a new life through His death and receive eternal life.
All along, they believed in the God that had been revealed in the Old Testament, and they examined the Scripture to believe that there was eternal life (John 5:39). But it was hard for them to believe that Jesus is God and through Him people can receive eternal life. It is understandable to us why there was discourse of the Jews at that time. It may be a struggle for them to believe in the declarations made by Jesus due to their traditional belief. And not everyone was able to believe and accept it, even among the disciples who followed Jesus at that time had debates about it.
(vv.60-71) After Jesus had clearly told his disciples there about the eternal life of God, many people there did not believe it and they turned back and left him. Jesus did not force them to believe it as he had said before, “…this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life” (John 6:40) Jesus called for those who believe in Him to follow Him. Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” This is an extremely important statement that will affect everyone’s life. Do you believe in Jesus? Who are you going to follow?
Give thanks to God for His enabling us to read the Scriptures and for our response for living out the Word of God today! (e.g., You may start with a simple prayer like this: “Dear Lord, what/where are you going to lead me to today?”)