BSF Study Questions John Lesson 8, Day 5: John 6:16-21

Summary of passage:  After feeding the 5000 and preaching all day, the disciples set off Capernaum in a boat without Jesus.  The waters were rough.  3 1/2 miles into their row, they saw Jesus walking on the water towards them and they were scared.  He told them not to be scared.  He climbed in the boat and made it to the other shore.

Questions:

10a)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Mark says they were obeying the Lord’s command.  God sends us through storms sometimes.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  This passage doesn’t.  John no where says the disciples were obeying anyone so without Mark and Matthew we’d never know.  John just tells us they got in the boat and went.  As written, it seems to me they decided it themselves.

11a)  Jesus went to them and announced his presence.  They were afraid at first but when Jesus spoke they accepted him.

b)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Accept Jesus into the boat and have faith he’d help them and presumably row (but they didn’t).  Jesus is faithful by helping his disciples and providing a way out by calming the seas so they can row to shore.  Have faith Jesus is there in the situation and will provide a way through to the other side.

12)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus meets you right where you are.  Jesus saves.  He is always with you.  He never changes.  He takes away all of our anxiety because he loves us so.  I can do anything through Christ who strengthens me.  Jesus’ presence is enough and his words are soothing and provide the answer to all I seek.

Conclusions:  Without Mark, I was wondering why Jesus was left behind in the first place.  John makes it seem like they just up and left Jesus.  I would have liked to have dissected the actual event more.  I don’t like question 10 that is based off of the Mark account.  If we’re gonna look at Mark, we might as well look at Matthew as well.

After  reading the commentary on this passage (summarized below), I got a ton more out of it.  BSF’s questions makes sense but only because of the commentary and the explanation of the disciples’ behavior which is mostly gleaned from Matthew and Mark.  John is matter of fact here as always.  I think BSF either needs to just stick to John’s account or include all accounts for this section.

End Notes:  This account occurs in Matthew and Mark as well with Matthew being the only one to include how Peter walked on water as well.  It seems to me Jesus wanted to stay behind and pray alone without delaying their mission.

Rowing at night was no big deal for these fisherman who probably knew the Sea of Galilee like the back of their hands.  This is actually the 2nd time it is recorded of them being in a boat on the Sea of Galilee the first being Matthew 8:24 where Jesus calmed the waters.  One would think  after the first time, a storm on the Sea of Galilee with Jesus nearby would be no big deal and him walking on water after calming the seas the first time would be no big deal either.  Like Jesus says, “You of little faith.”

The Sea of Galilee is well known for its sudden, violent wind storms that quickly make the lake dangerous.  According to Tenney, “The Sea of Galilee is six hundred feet belong sea level, in a cuplike depression among the hills. When the sun sets, the air cools; and as the cooler air from the west rushes down over the hillside, the resultant wind churns the lake. Since the disciples were rowing toward Capernaum, they were heading into the wind; consequently, they made little progress.”

In the first storm, fear reigned.  Here, frustration reigned since Jesus told them to go across the lake and the wind is against them, hindering their progress.

Matthew tells us this is between 3 and 6 am so the disciples have spent 6-8 hrs rowing and only making it about half-way across the water.  They are exhausted.  Jesus is watching them the whole time according to Mark, never abandoning them.  Jesus is stable on the mountain; we are tossed about at sea.

Matthew and Mark explain the fear of the disciples:  they think he’s a ghost.  Only Mark tells us that Jesus was just going to pass by them, allowing his presence to be enough.  But that wasn’t enough.  The disciples had lost faith and Jesus had to address them.

Jesus announces his presence, calming the disciples.  Jesus was invited in and then the miracle takes place by reaching the shore (another 2 miles away) without rowing instantly.  He rescued them from futility and frustration.  This miracle again reassures the disciples who he is.  He had just refused to be king but that doesn’t mean he’s not powerful.

Map of probable feeding of the 5,000 and Jesus walking on water HERE

Fun Fact:  This miracle is the first time the disciples worshipped Jesus as the Son of God (and called him thus–found in Matthew’s account)–and why it’s important.  Full description of significance in the Bible and for us HERE

Key points of this miracle:  1)  Jesus always comes to us in the storms of life.

2)  The disciples were not looking for Jesus and hence did not recognize him.  Fear cannot live side-by-side with faith for fear blinds us to God’s presence.

3)  Jesus is in command of the elements–something only God can do–proving beyond a doubt Jesus is God.

Conclusions to Lesson 6:  We see Jesus proving he is the Son of God.  He feeds the 5000 and he walks on water.  This is for the people and the disciples so they know who he is.  His miracles attract multitudes but still many do not understand.  It will take Jesus’ death to finally reach millions.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 8, Day 4: John 6:14-15

Summary of passage:  The people began to believe Jesus was the Messiah after all the miraculous signs Jesus had done so Jesus withdrew to a mountain by himself.

Questions:

8 )  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Because they believed him to be the Promised Messiah of the Bible (Deuteronomy 18:15,18) who would provide food and water like Moses did in the wilderness.  However, they expected much more than this.  Many people follow Jesus for what they can get from him.  I follow Jesus because he is the way, the truth, and the life.  He is the only way to God and to eternal life.

9)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus did this to rejuvenate after giving so much of himself as we saw (and were asked) in Lesson 8 Day 2 before the feeding of the 5000.  He also did this to avoid his enemies who are after him.  He went to be alone to pray and be closer to God, His Father.  Matthew 26:41 tells us he did it so as not to fall into temptation.  The same.  We must quiet our lives and mind in order to hear God and rejuvenate and be closer to Him.

Conclusions:  The take away here is to love Jesus in the good and the bad.  Many were converted when Jesus was providing and healing.  Many flee when hardship enters their lives.  Jesus left because the people only wanted Jesus to do things for them on earth.  Jesus wants to do things for us in heaven and forever.  He is there always as our heavenly king.  We turn to him always.  We retreat to be with him when this world becomes too harried.  We walk with him together, never away.

End Notes:  The feeding of the 5000 reminded all of Moses and his providing of manna for the people in the desert.  In Deuteronomy 18:15, Moses himself predicted the coming of the Prophet.  The people assumed he would be like Moses and here’s a guy feeding people miraculously.  Surely, this is he!

Jesus gave away free food.  Of course he was loved.  We love Jesus too when he gives.  We must love him for who he is as well.

The people wanted him as their king to save them from Rome.  Jesus was not here to be a king to set the Jewish people free from Rome, which was the widely held view of the people.  He’s a different kind of king that the people have missed in Scripture.  Hence, he withdrew to be with his King, God.  Earthly kings hold no allure.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 8, Day 3: John 6:1-13

Summary of passage: After healing the man at the pool and accusing the Pharisees of having no heart for God, Jesus journeys to the Sea of Galilee. He now has a gang of followers because of his miracles and it is close to Passover again. Jesus expresses concern for feeding the multitude of followers and asks Philip his opinion on what should be done as a test since Jesus already knows what he’s going to do.  Philip does not see Jesus as the miracle worker; he immediately answers with a world’s answer:  where will be get the money?  Andrew sees a boy with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish and is being practical of the matter by finding a starting point.

5000 men sat down and Jesus prayed over the food and began distributing it.  It never ran out and they even had leftovers.  Jesus asked Philip as a test where will they get food to feed all these people as Jesus already knew what he was going to do.  Philip immediately said they don’t have enough money to buy food for all these people.  Andrew found a boy with 5 small loaves of bread and 2 fish.

Jesus had the 5000 men sit down.  He took the loaves and the fish, gave thanks, and distributed all to the people with leftovers.

Questions:

5)  Part-personal Question.  My answer:  Philip immediately thought of the expense of feeding the people.  Andrew found what was around.  The boy shared (we’re not told willingly or not).  They all thought practically, not taking into account who Jesus was.  I’d probably be the same.  How will we do this?  I do think practically but Jesus works in miracles and anything is possible with him.

6)  Personal Question.  My answer:  He gave thanks.  Thankfulness does not play a big enough part in my life.  We’re supposed to be joyful, pray, and give thanks no matter your circumstances.  God is enough.  Yet we often don’t act like it or believe it.  Today I witnessed another lady pay her friend’s tax bill.  It was only $295.  The friend was in tears.  It made me think how blessed I am and how kindness can play a big part in others’ lives.  We in the developed world have nothing to be ungrateful for.  We live amazing lives full of ease and luxury compared to 2000 years ago and others around the world.  This is all thanks to Him.  We need to thank Him every day for His generosity and His Son and all we have because of Him.

7)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  He feeds them and abundantly blesses them.  He saw the need, had the people gather around him, he gave thanks for what they had, and provided all the people needed and then some.  Teach others about Jesus.  Have compassion on people.  You don’t know what they are going through.  Feed others literally–physical needs first.  Then feed them spiritually.  Take care of all their needs.  Look around and see the need even if others won’t ask.  It is there if only we’d open our eyes.

Conclusions:  Great lesson on God’s abundance to His people.  Believe in the impossible even when you can’t see it.  Pray for the impossible.  For God will answer and provide.  Classic story that embodies all Christ is about.  He gives and gives and gives some more.  He doesn’t stop giving at the expense of himself.  If only we could see that.

End Notes:  This miracle is recorded in all the other Gospels as well with only Mark mentioning how it wasn’t the plan. Luke tells us Jesus also taught the multitude who was following him and not just those following him up the mountain.

The Sea of Tiberius is the official Roman name for the Sea of Galilee, from the town of Tiberius named after the Roman emperor and founded in 20 AD. This would be the northeast shore near Bethsaida.

The Greek verbs here are continuing action. It seems these crowds always followed Jesus and never went away.

John is the only one to date this incident by mentioning Passover. These crowds could be heading to Jerusalem for that feast. Passover is a celebration of God’s people leaving Egypt. Here, Jesus will feed the people just like God did during those tumultuous times.

The mountain Jesus ascended is assumed to be the Golan Heights of today.

Mark tells us it was late in the day and Jesus had been teaching them all day. Not John. He cuts to the chase: Jesus saw a need and is about to address it.

Jesus is testing Philip’s faith here as well as feeding the people.  Philip has been with Jesus long enough and seen enough miracles he should have known Jesus would solve this problem.  He’s teaching his disciples for when he is no longer here.

Some scholars say the disciples should have anticipated this miracle and not have doubted God’s provision (Psalm 78:19).  2 Kings 4:38-42 shows God multiplying barley loaves.

Philip thinks small, which we often do.  With Jesus we must think big.

Andrew introduces the boy to Jesus.  Again, he’s spreading the Good News.

Barley is worth less than wheat, meaning the boy is most likely poor.  It was most often fed to the livestock.

John uses a different word for fish than the other Gospels.  He indicates they are small.

Women and children are not included in the 5000 so Jesus actually fed many, many more.

In God’s hands, small is big.  God doesn’t need a lot to work with.  He doesn’t need anything but he’s waiting for us to participate.

In no hurry, the people sit down, invoking Psalm 23.  Jesus’ hands is what makes the miracle, not the act of distribution.  Note the bread and fish are dead.  Jesus gives life from death.

Jesus brought the disciples in to help him.  He could have made the food appear in everyone’s hands but instead he uses others to fulfill his desires.  Great lesson!

He makes food for others but not for himself in the wilderness.

Everything was abundant and everyone had more than enough.  Eating and drinking is a sign of prosperity in the Old Testament and is often used as a sign of blessing from God when our basic needs are met.

The boy ended up with more as well.

Nothing is wasted with Jesus either.  The leftovers are gathered up to be used later.

Fun Quote on this passage:  Augustine:  “God loves us for what we are becoming.”

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 8, Day 2: John 6:1-5

Summary of passage:  After healing the man at the pool and accusing the Pharisees of having no heart for God, Jesus journeys to the Sea of Galilee.  He now has a gang of followers because of his miracles and it is close to Passover again.  Jesus expresses concern for feeding the multitude of followers.

Questions:

3)  He knows the Pharisees and other Jewish leaders are against him and out to kill him if possible.  Going to Jerusalem now would endanger his life and Jesus’ work is not yet complete.

4a)  Part-personal question.  My answer:  He had planned to go away to a quiet place and get some rest from all their teachings and healings.  Instead, the crowds followed them.  So, Jesus, seeing the spiritual needs of these people, had compassion on them and taught them many things.  Then, in John, Jesus sees their physical needs as well when he asks about their food.  What’s important is other people and their needs.  He puts others first above his own needs.  It could make a difference between a saved soul and not.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Not very.  I’m selfish, I admit it.  To be more compassionate and less consumed with my needs and see the needs of those around me.

Conclusions:  The lesson BSF makes is good:  quit being so selfish and put others first.  However, the lesson is in Mark, not John, since otherwise we’d have no idea Jesus had other plans to begin with.  I think the point still could have been made relying on simply John alone.  Jesus sees the great hunger of his followers and addresses it (and will solve it in the next verses).

End Notes:  This miracle is recorded in all the other Gospels as well with only Mark mentioning how it wasn’t the plan.  Luke tells us Jesus also taught the multitude who was following him and not just those following him up the mountain.

The Sea of Tiberius is the official Roman name for the Sea of Galilee, from the town of Tiberius named after the Roman emperor and founded in 20 AD.  This would be the northeast shore near Bethsaida.

The Greek verbs here are continuing action.  It seems these crowds always followed Jesus and never went away.

John is the only one to date this incident by mentioning Passover.  These crowds could be heading to Jerusalem for that feast.  Passover is a celebration of God’s people leaving Egypt.  Here, Jesus will feed the people just like God did during those tumultuous times.

The mountain Jesus ascended is assumed to be the Golan Heights of today.

Mark tells us it was late in the day and Jesus had been teaching them all day.  Not John.  He cuts to the chase:  Jesus saw a need and is about to address it.

Map of Tiberius, Bethsaida, and the Sea of Galilee HERE

Fun Fact:  Apart from the resurrection, this is the one miracle found in all 4 Gospels.  It shows Jesus as the supplier of human need and sets the stage for his testimony that he is the bread of life (John 6:35).