During our Lord’s sojourn on this earth His main messages were those pertaining to God’s Kingdom here on earth, and these messages the Lord conveyed in the form of parables. Most all of those parables are recorded for our benefit in Matthew 13. A parable is an allegory in which the people and things and happenings have another meaning than what is put forth in such a story.
With this said I would like us to look at the narrative as found in the Gospel of John, the sixth chapter and the first twenty-one verses. We will find in these verses some very profound messages hidden in these texts. We see that a great multitude has come together to be both healed and to be taught by the Master, and we further read in verse five that Jesus has compassion on this multitude and is compelled to feed them. But there is not much to be found to feed such a large crowd save five small loaves of bread and two small fishes that some young lad had carried with him, something probably like a sack lunch. With this little bit of food Jesus commences to feed a crowd of some five thousand men, not counting the women and children. This was quite a miracle in itself, but what is even more astounding is the fact that there were twelve baskets of leftovers.
This brings to mind the fact that although more than two thousand years have passed since the Lord walked this earth and during which time untold millions of believers have been fed by the Spiritual food of our Savior’s words, there is still plenty left to feed those still to come. After the multitude had seen these miracles they wanted to take Jesus by force and make Him King. Jesus makes Himself scarce and departs by Himself into the mountains. (John 6:15) Even though we all know that the Lord is King from birth forever, His time was not yet. This reminds me of Acts 1 where the disciples asked Jesus, just prior to His ascension, if He was going to restore again the Kingdom to Israel, and the Lord replied, “And he said to them, it is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the father hath put in his own power.” (Acts 1:7)
Back in John 6 again we see that Jesus has departed and the disciples are left to fetch for themselves so to speak. (John 6:15) “And when evening was now come, his disciples went down unto the sea, and entered into a boat and went over the sea toward Capernaum. And it was now dark, and Jesus was not come to them. And the sea arose, by reason of a great wind that blew.” (John 6:16-18)
Let us again look and see if we can find a message in these verses that could possibly relate to us today. Thus Jesus being gone the disciples went down to the sea. Sea and waters are often prophetically used for peoples or multitudes. If we equate the disciples with the body of believers or the church of today we can readily see the Body of Christ, the church scattered all over the world among the multitudes of unbelievers. The disciples entered into a boat (John 6:17) and ventured on the sea to a certain place hoping to meet up with the Master again. By the same token the church has tried it’s best to obtain that same object, namely to draw nigh unto the Lord.
“And the sea arose, by reason of a great wind that blew.” (John 6:18) In other words there was great turbulence on the water and we can be certain that the disciples had a hard time rowing the boat in order to get to their destination. In our world today also there is great turbulence over and among the sea of humanity. There are wars and military conflicts over many parts of the globe, there are political and financial troubles at other places, but worst of all is the fact that Christianity is under attack all over the world. Satan’s henchmen know that their time is short and have declared all out war on Christ and His saints in an attempt to eradicate His precious name.
Thus we can see that the remnant-church is fighting an uphill battle against the forces of evil. Just like the disciples we are rowing against the stream. But in Isa. 43:1-2 we find a lot of comfort when we read these words spoken by our God through the mouth of the prophet. “But, now, thus saith the Lord who created thee, O Jacob, and he who formed thee, O Israel, fear not; for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passed through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee; when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned, neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. (Isa. 43:1,2) Through these verses we see that the Lord God will never forsake His elect and will always sustain and comfort us His children” So when they had rowed about five and twenty or thirty furlongs, [approximately 3 to 3 ½ miles], they see Jesus walking on the sea, and drawing near unto the boat; and they were afraid. But he said unto them, “It is I; be not afraid.” (John 6:19,20)
In Matt. 14:26 and Mark 6:49 which relate the same story we read that the disciples thought that Jesus was either a ghost or a spirit. It is thus an indication that the disciples, who were daily with Jesus, did not recognize Him. This is the same scenario we find in John 20:14 where Mary Magdalene did not recognize Jesus in the Garden. And so I pose the question, will we as believers recognize our Lord when He returns? It is very well possible that most of us will not, lest He identifies Himself, like He did to the disciples in the boat. We know Him as the meek Lamb of God, who came to sacrifice Himself in order to set His people free, but He will return as the roaring and fearsome Lion of the Tribe of Judah, to conquer evil and to subdue all peoples and nations. We anticipate His coming but we shall cower at His countenance and we will want to flee from His wrath. “Then they willingly received him into the boat; and immediately the boat was at the land to which they went.” (John 6:21)
So, just as the disciples reached their destination immediately when receiving Jesus in their midst again, so the same will it be for the believing church. When they or us meet our Lord and Master upon His return we will have reached our destination, we will have reached the end of the road in our earthly travels, and from there on we will have achieved the ultimate goal in this life, namely to be with our Creator God forever.
Yes, dear friends, these parabolic messages hidden here in John 6 are of great value to those who have eyes to see and ears to hear. May the Lord guide you and lead you in finding all the truths that are hidden in His Word. This truly was and is a parable in motion.