05/18/17 A Kingdom on God’s Terms

READING: 1 Chronicles 4-6, John 6:1-21

“. . . they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king.”

John 6:15

5000 hungry men, not including the women and children. Five loaves and two fish would not be enough to feed them. That idea is ludicrous, in fact . . . unless Jesus steps into the story.

He did indeed step into this story, and in a mighty way. He multiplied what little they had so that thousands of people were fed, with twelve baskets of food leftover. The people were amazed, and they became convinced that Jesus was “the prophet who was to come into the world” (John 6:15). What they were looking for, though, was not a spiritual redeemer who would save people from their sins; instead, they were looking for one to liberate them from mighty Rome. They wanted a political king, a deliverer from the bondage of the Empire. More specifically, it appears that they wanted Him to give them something for nothing in return.     

Jesus recognized what they were doing, however. Their intent was, if necessary, to take Him by force and make Him their king (John 6:15). Knowing the danger, Jesus “withdrew again to the mountain by Himself” (John 6:15). He walked away from the crowds ready to crown Him because their plan was not the means by which He would be ruler over the nations. Just as He had rejected the kingdoms of the world on the Mount of Temptation, He rejected a kingdom offered to Him by immoral hands. He would indeed rule the world, but He would do it on His terms.

I can only wonder if I would have been so committed to the Father’s plan. I pray I would have been, but it seems to me that the pressure to succumb to the crowd mentality would have been great. Think about it—the people were under the thumb of a foreign ruler, and they believed Jesus could liberate them. Perhaps He heard the rumors circulating through the crowd: “Let’s make Him our king.” “Let’s put Him on the throne.” “Even if He doesn’t want to do it, we want Him to lead us.” “He’s our liberator!” We who sometimes melt so quickly as soon as someone praises us would surely have been tempted to follow the way of the crowd. After all, it is not often that power and position are yours for the taking.

If/when that happens for you, quickly return again to the example of our Lord. We follow God on His terms, not ours or anybody else’s. To gain the world on the enemy’s terms is to lose our soul in the process.

ACTION STEPS:

  • Determine how much you love the power of prestige and position. In turn, ask God to make you a servant.  
  • Sacrificially serve someone this week – and don’t worry about who knows what good you’ve done.   

PRAYER: “God, I confess my pride – my internal desires to be recognized. Continue to make me a servant.”

TOMORROW’S READING: 1 Chronicles 7-9, John 6:22-44