35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. 37 All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. 38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”
Five loaves of bread and two fish.
That's all it took. No one had to spend any money at the fish market. No one had to forfeit their bite so others could eat. No one was malnourished. No one went hungry. No one was even less than completely satisfied.
It was awesome. Around 10,000 people fully satisfied.
The people wanted more, but when they went looking, they couldn't find the guy who did it!
Can you imagine their thoughts?
Guy who worked 70+ hours a week at two jobs says, "Where did he go? This is just my luck. Just when I find a guy who'll make it so that I can quit my hard day job and get some early retirement, he disappears!"
Mom of six children says, "It's just so tiring. If we find him again, maybe he'll provide breakfast. That would be a relief. Not having to be at the beckoning call of all those children. That's what I want."
College student says, "We've gotta find him, he's my ticket out of eating Ramen noodles every evening. Next time I see him, I'm asking for a pizza-- even though, I'm not sure what that is."
The people wanted Jesus. They were so driven that they picked up a few oars. They got into some boats. They chose to cross a lake in hopes of never being in want again. I imagine they rowed frantically with visions of money woes gone and tummies never being hungry again!
25 When they found Jesus on the other side of the lake, they acted completely innocent: "Rabbi, when did you get here?"
Jesus saw right through it: 26 "I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs, but because you ate the loaves and had your fill." In other words, you don't view me as the Messiah, just the guy who fills your bellies. Jesus continues:27 Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you."
You know how dogs ears stick up when they hear the sound of a squirrel passing by the back porch? That's about how these people reacted to Jesus' words: "Food enduring to eternal life? You mean...something better than the bread you just gave us? Because...that's gone. I'm getting hungry again. This is even better than we anticipated. v.28 Then they asked him, "What must we do to do the works God requires?"
29 Jesus answered, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent."
And I imagine the people started murmuring to each other. "I think he's talking about himself. He might have mentioned something about being the one God has sent, but I can't be too sure. I think I was chomping down really hard on that delicious bread at that moment.
30 "What miraculous sign will you give that we may see it and believe you?" Our ancestors, you know, they ate little pieces of bread that fell from heaven like the morning dew. Maybe, you could send us bags of Doritos? Or a Big Mac with cheese! You know, just give us what we want...like Moses!"
Jesus replied, "It wasn't Moses who gave you that. It came from God. The same God who provides the true bread from heaven!"
"Heaven bread? I don't know what that is, but I've had Italian bread, wheat bread, and Wonder Bread, so...I'll try this heaven bread. It sounds pretty awesome. 34 "Sir," they replied, "from now give us this bread."
I am sure Jesus' response floored them: "I am the bread of life."
I. What God's Will is Not
It's where our account picks up in John 6:35. Today, we are attempting to better understand just what God's Will is that we want to be done in the Lord's Prayer. This group of people and Jesus' response, show us a few things that God's Will is not.
1) God's Will is not whatever we want.
This is a principle that we hold true with our kids. We don't give them whatever they want. If so, Chocolate chip cookies would be on the dinner menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, mid morning and afternoon snacks as well.
The same is true with God. He doesn't just give into whatever we want. He's wiser than us. He's smarter than us. He knows what we want, isn't always good.
Look at the Israelites. They wanted some more food. But they didn't get it. Just a sharp rebuke for thinking about their tummies.
2) God's will is also not whatever makes us feel good.
The Bible says that after these people ate the bread from Jesus, they were all full. I bet that felt good. Kinda like you might feel on a Sunday afternoon--watching football, eating a whole bucket of Bojangles chicken, spicy fries, a glass of sweet tea and the delicious muffin for desert. You're satisfied and you fall asleep before the game ends.
The people wanted that good feeling again. It felt lots better than hunger pains from not having enough food and thirst pains from working in the hots sun all day.
But Jesus didn't offer it to them.
In fact, God doesn't give us just what feels good. If that were the case, I suppose some things like sexual immorality, greed, and hatred wouldn't be absolutely forbidden by God.
3) God's will is also not whatever we think is best.
As we mentioned earlier, the Israelites thought that the very best thing that could possibly happen would be for Jesus to go with them and make it so they didn't have to work their deadbeat jobs in order to buy food that they would slave away in the kitchen to eat only to be mildly impressed with their "Not so Top Chef" like cooking skills.
Jesus did the opposite of what they thought was best. He went away from them and then refused to repeat his performance.
God's will is not whatever we think is best. Should we trust him?
Should you trust your own instincts about how to treat cancer or the cancer doctor? Should your instincts or the God who gives all good things?
Recap: God's will is NOT whatever we want, whatever makes us feel good or whatever we think is best.
The Lord's Prayer says, "THY WILL BE DONE," yet how often when we say it do we think, "MY WILL BE DONE." Get me a better job. Make the bills disappear. Find me a husband. Get me a bigger house. Give me a kid. Get the kids a job so they get out of the house sooner. Give me my health. Get rid of this back pain. Heal my cousin. Heal my uncle. Lord, this is what I want, so MY WILL BE DONE!"
Here's the problem with our will. Sometimes it is so far off that it puts ourselves into serious danger. Look at what Jesus said to the people who came asking for bread: "He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty, but as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe."
Jesus' point? These people had seen the miraculous signs that he was their Savior from eternal damnation. Yet, they were so worried about Jesus being their "Sugar Daddy" that they couldn't care less about his being the Eternal Savior.
Here's something to note: If we hold too closely to our wants, it leads to unbelief. Listen to how it happens:
"Really, God? All I ask is that you get me a job. A decent one. It's been months now and you can't seem to do that. I'm beginning to think that you don't exist!"
"C'mon Lord. Just a child. Please. My wife and I have done everything right. We've been praying. We've been waiting. Still...no child. Maybe, there's no God."
"Well, God, you messed up big time. I was thinking you'd heal my uncle at least for a few more months. But, now he's dead! And you know what else is dead? My faith in you!"
Careful. God's Will is not Your Will. It's His Will.
Thank goodness that is true.
II. What God's Will Is.
Listen to how Jesus spells it out in this section, " For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that's God, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”
Did you catch God's will? It's threefold.
1) God's wants to lose none of what is his!
I hate losing socks. I started folding them into a ball before I threw them into the dirty laundry. That way, I figured, there was one less spot for me to lose them along the way.
Unfortunately, this means that when I haphazardly put a whole pile of laundry into the wash, the socks get washed while they are rolled up into a ball. My wife says, "that doesn't clean them. Why don't you just put them in one at a time?"
My response? I don't want to lose them!
God's the same way. He doesn't want to lose you. He wants to keep you as his own.
This is why he sent Jesus because was threatening to take you away from him. Sin was going to remove you from his clutches for all eternity. If God let this happen, you'd be lost. Permanently. Forever. Amongst the fires of hell, where you can't tell the difference between one person's screams and others.
Enter Jesus. God sent Jesus because he wanted sin's clutches on us to be broken. God wanted sin defeated. He wanted the devil laying helpless on his back. He wanted you safe with him forever.
This is exactly what Jesus did. He freed us from sin. He defeated the devil. He destroyed what was threatening to take you away from God forever.
And God reaches out to us. Maybe, he reached out to you when you were but a child. Through the waters of baptism, he brought you into his family. Maybe, he reached out to you when you were older, through the words of a friend you were found--brought to faith in Jesus. Maybe, he's doing that right now as your are reading these words. (If nothing else, he's firming up his grip on you.)
2) God wants to raise you on the Last Day.
This may actually be something that you hope happens too. Death sounds scary. Death sounds no good. It's so final. So complete. In fact, when you think of death, you might think: "I'll be lost forever. God will have lost!"
But you are talking about the God who came back from the dead. Death doesn't not mean lost to him. It means -- found! Jesus himself proved that when he returned from the cold, dark grave to walk the earth again.
God wants you to experience this triumph as well. He wants you to return from death! And this won't be a return that just leads to another death. Because 3) God wants to give you eternal life.
Granted, this is not a life that takes place on this earth. That's temporal life. Yet it is a life that, quite frankly, takes care of all the needs we long to have satisfied in this life.
Tell me if these things don't fit into your list of temporal desires: Never be hungry. Never thirst. Never again have an arthritis pain in your joints. Never again need another doctor visit. Never again have creditors breathing down your throat. No stress. No fear. No sadness. No guilt.
These are the things that are ours when God accomplishes his will! These are the things that are ours through faith in Jesus.
Maybe, God's will isn't so bad after all?
The problem is that we're too earthly. We get bent out of shape because our will is about the here and now God, who is spirit and eternal, is will is about the forever.
III. How this Affects Our Lives.
Here's something you need to know: as serious as you are about what you want, God is more serious. He's so serious that he is willing to do whatever is necessary. I mean that...whatever is necessary to accomplish his will.
* If it means not giving us our Desires. He'll do it. Maybe, you have always wanted to have a six figure job with all kinds of respect and honor for your peers. That doesn't mean God's going to give it to you. If that six figure job is going to make you proud, arrogant, and one who starts to think, "I did this by myself. I don't need God anymore," perhaps God will refuse to give it to you in the first place. Remember: His will is to have you in heaven.
* If it means taking away things we "love”, realize God's not afraid to do that either. If there's a human that you 'think' you're in love with, but that human also happens to want nothing to do with God and in fact, he is slowly pulling you and your kids away from your Savior, don't be surpised if God allows that to go sour! Remember: His will is to have you heaven.
* This may mean that God starts allowing sins that we do to harm us. Maybe God has warned you--in his Word, from a friend, from a sermon to stop abusing his gift of alcohol. You don't listen. So He let's you get sick. Real sick. And in your terror you call out to God again! Why would God allow this? Because of His Will. He wants you in heaven!
God is willing to do whatever's necessary to have you in heaven. And since these gifts are ours through faith in Jesus, God's will is to do what's necessary to get us to focus on Jesus.
In the end, I'm not sure there's a petition in the Lord's Prayer that requires greater trust. We say to God, "You know what I want. You know my desires. You know my dreams. I really want these things...
...but, Lord, forget them. Do your will. You're smarter. You're wiser. You're more powerful. You're more loving. Lord, THY WILL BE DONE."
I trust that THY WILL IS GOOD. After all, you are the eternal essence of God. I am not. My will is flawed. Yours is not. I trust your will is better! For me."
And I trust that you will ACCOMPLISH THIS WILL. You are all powerful. Nothing can stop you from getting what you want. And what you want? Is me. How humbling. How comforting. How powerful.
THY WILL BE DONE, O Lord, THY WILL BE DONE. Amen.