January 28, 2021
Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away (Matthew 14:22).
This account is paralleled in Mark 6:45-46 and John 6:14-15. John’s Gospel tells us, Then those men, when they had seen the sign that Jesus did, said, "This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world." Therefore when Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone.
As soon as all the fragments of food had been collected, Jesus commanded the disciples to leave Him and sail back across the Sea of Galilee to Capernaum. The word ‘made’ literally means ‘compelled’ or ‘forced’. The reason for using this strong word is stated in John 6:15, the crowd became exited over the prospect that Jesus could be the Messiah and wanted to take Him by force to make Him king. Jesus would not permit this because 1) it would result in a political revolution that would defeat His plans to be the supreme sacrifice for sin, and 2) He did not come to be a political king of the Jews, but the Savior and spiritual King of the Jews.
There is grave danger for anyone to make Jesus what they want Him to be. He cannot be tempted, coerced, manipulated, or compelled to be anything other than who He truly is - the resurrected and ascended King of kings and Lord of lords. He is the Son of God, the Lord and Savior of those who put their faith and trust in Him. He will not abdicate His throne in glory to be what any man wants Him to be.
The event on the hillside that afternoon had reached a climax. It is evident the disciples were being influenced by the mob mentality since they still shared the Pharisaic hope of a political kingdom free from Roman rule. That’s the reason Jesus commanded them to leave immediately for Capernaum. With the disciples gone, Jesus could deal with the crowd more effectively.
Again we see the Jews followed Jesus for reasons other than spiritual. We can’t criticize them for wanting Jesus to be king. If He were here today and ministered to us as He did them, we would want Him to take up residence in the White House and rule this nation as only He could. But this desire is selfish, not godly. Their spiritual eyes were blind to the truth of the Kingdom. That’s why Jesus spoke in parables. That’s why He selected only 12 to be with Him as disciples. That’s why He began spending less time with the people and more time with the disciples. The cross was just beyond the horizon. His work here would be over in 9 months.
“Lord Jesus, thank You for staying focused on the Father’s will for Your life. Thank You for not being swayed by those You came to save to be someone other than who You really are. There is a lesson for me here, and that is to stay focused on Your will for my life and to be and do what You desire, not what others desire. May the remaining time I have here, and the work that is yet to be done, be to Your honor and glory. This I ask in Your holy name, Amen.”