JOHN 6:1-3 – After this Jesus went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias. And a large crowd was following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing on the sick. Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples.
THEME OF THE DAY. TOGETHER TIME. There are portions of scriptures we tend to just gloss over or read without much thought. We do so because on the surface, there doesn’t appear to be much “meat” to chew on or deep truth to ponder. An example is opening verses of a book or the greeting. Still yet another example is today’s scripture. We don’t initially see much “action” beyond Jesus’ travel itinerary and a bunch of people following Him. There doesn’t appear to be much instruction for us. If we are thinking that way, two mistakes are being made. First, we forgot the words of the Apostle Paul when he wrote, All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16) and of the Lord Jesus, But he answered, “It is written, “ ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God’ ” (Matthew 4:4). A second mistake is our lack of reverence for the Word of God. If we read the scriptures hastily and mindlessly, we show disrespect for the God who gave us His Word. How would a loved one in our families, a spouse perhaps, feel if we received a letter from them and simply glossed over it without much thought, reflection, or affection? Hurt and unloved. Apply that to our God when reading His many love letters to us in His Bible.
So, what may we glean from today’s scripture for our edification and instruction in our walks with the Lord and living for Him? Pay attention to the last sentence – Jesus went up on the mountain, and there He sat down with His disciples. Enter the scene as one of those disciples. The curious crowd is dismissed. Jesus takes His choice men, goes on a little retreat up a mountain, and spends quality time with them. Think about that experience. Alone with Jesus and other believers listening to the Master teach, fellowshipping with Him and His people, and surely enjoying time praying together. What a retreat! And here is the lesson. What we are reading is a true account but is also to be true experiences with us.
First, as individuals, we need to dismiss “the crowds” in our lives for time alone with Jesus. These “crowds” are not just people screaming for our time, but the things in life that want to crowd out time alone with Jesus. Yes, even good things. There must be determination and resolve to not let the things and people in our lives take us from spending unhurried and undistracted time with Him who is life. Listen, then follow “the crowds”, and we will suffer significant spiritual damage in our fellowship with the Lord. But it is not just going on a personal, one-on-one retreat with Jesus. There is a second application from today’s scripture.
We need quality time with Jesus with other believers. Our Lord took His disciples to the mountain. And we cannot grow spiritually unless we are invested, engaged, and sharing the Christian life with other believers. This means in the Word together, praying together, serving together . . . doing the over fifty “one another” Bible verses together. Don’t be deceived by a culture priding itself on individualism and privatization. These are anti-Christian attitudes and actions. God expects us to grow together in Christ-centered community with His people, and that cannot happen an hour or so on a Sunday morning. We need to “go to the mountain” with Jesus and other believers for quality, unhurried, and unhindered spiritual time together. It is God’s way for His church.
Well, I hope the next time we come across a passage of scripture that appears “empty” or without much to consider, we will pause and go back over it. There is God’s truth ready to be mined by those who approach His Word eagerly and respectfully.
PRAYER: “Father, help me not be swayed by the worldly culture of privatization and individualism.”
QUOTE: “Healthy Christianity cannot occur without quality spiritual times with other Christians.”