x523.....John 6--the whole chapter
If we read the entire chapter of the book of John chapter 6--we will see a full story of release unfold.
Jesus feeds the 5,000
2 And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles
which he did on them that were diseased.
3 And Jesus went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples.
4 And the passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh. (John 6: 2-4)
verse 4 tells us that the Passover was near. the Jewish Passover is the feast which remembered God's great release of Israel from bondage in Egypt. Jesus is about to release a great number of people from the old covenant rules of authority--and "send" them out to freely serve God.
14 Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said,
This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world.
15 ¶ When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.
After Jesus feed the 5,000 miraculously--the book of John relates that many in the crod wanted to make Him a worldly king--Jesus ran from this idea. He did not want to exercise authority over others--He came to release and told us that this is His example of what ministry is. (see Matthew 20:25-29--Mark 10:42-45--Luke 20 25-29----as if we haven't reiterated this teaching enough times in this website--!!)
But lets continue the story and watch the events which follow--
This same account in the book of Mark tells us that Jesus "sent away" the crowds--
45 ¶ And straightway he constrained his disciples to get into the
ship, and to go to the other side before unto Bethsaida, while he sent
away the people.
46 And when he had sent them away, he departed into a mountain to pray. (Mark 6)
The word translated as "sent away" is the Greek word which means "release"--Jesus was in fact releasing people to freely serve God. He was releasing them from the old covenant and setting them free into the new---into freedom--"setting at liberty" (see Luke 4:18--again!!)--literally "apostolic liberty"--a covenant right of every Christian.
But the book of John relates the story of a different group of people. Mark and Matthew simply tell us of the group of people who were released (sent away ). John goes onto tell of another group of people in the crowd who rather wanted to make Jesus king--and wanted to follow Him--to be fed by him--to live off of Him without doing their own ministry.
The first point is made that Jesus ran away from their desire to make Him king--this alone speaks volumes about His concepts of authority and "rule"--and makes it clear that He came to set people free- to make us free to serve God in our own annointing and gifts--and not to exercise authority over others--
25 And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles
exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them
are called benefactors.
26 But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.
27 For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth.
(Luke 22:25-27, KJV).
To now continue in the book of John--the next event is that the disciples leave on a a boat without Jesus--and get into trouble--He comes to them walking on the water--and again the lazy crowds who have not accepted His release notice this--
22 ¶ The day following, when the people which stood on the other side of the sea saw that there was none other boat there, save that one whereinto his disciples were entered, and that Jesus went not with his disciples into the boat, but that his disciples were gone away alone;
The remaining part of this chapter deals with these people--who have not been "sent away"--but are following after Jesus to be fed and ruled by Him.
But Jesus has a very clear and interesting answer for these people:
26 Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily,
I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because
ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.
27 Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.
28 ¶ Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?
29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.
Jesus knows that they really want to have earthly rule--a king--and want to be fed by this ruler. Jesus is not operating His ministry in this way--and He goes on to point this out clearly to them. He says succinctly that in order to work the works of of God--one must in fact believe in Jesus' own apostleship (the Greek word translated here as "sent" is "apostello").
Jesus then goes onto say to these Jews that they must eat Him as "bread and meat". This had the meaning of a priesthood. Only the Levites could eat the bread and meat of the sacrifice--(this was the use of the tithe in Israel--Jesus was also telling them that they did not have to labor for sin sacrifice anymore--He would be the one time "tithe" that forgave all sin). Jesus was telling them that they also must be priests in the earth--that they must serve God--they must have ministry toward God--by His new covenant rules of free release--and not by the rule and authority and kingship of one person--as had been the old covenant tradition in Israel.
32 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily,
I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father
giveth you the true bread from heaven.
33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.
34 Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread.
35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.
36 But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not.
37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.
If we notice in verse 37 Jesus says that in no way will He very cast out those who come to Him. Yet it seems as if He just did "cast out" people when He sent them away after feeding them. Again this just reaffirms the fact that He was not sending them away--or casting them out--rather He was releasing them to the new covenant freedom of Godly service which every new covenant believer is meant to function with. Jesus came to make all His followers priests and kings in the earth--not to have one king over Christianity or rulers over one another.
Jesus was also saying that He was making a new covenant change from the old way of doing things. The old covenant had many rulerships and seats and kingships. It had a specific group of people who were the only ones who had the authority to do ministry within the temple of God--the Levites--the priestly tribe of Israel. Jesus came to bringing life and freedom specifically from this system of rule and authority--Jesus undid the authority of the Pharisees (who sat in the seat of Moses) and disagreed openly with the rule of the priest and rulers of Israel. He was bringing a new covenant change by choosing His apostles from common people--He Himself was not born into the tribe of Levi but that of Judah. Israel was used to doing things a certain way---that of having kings and rulers with authority over them. Some of them did not like the idea of the free release to ministry which Christ brought.
53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily,
I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his
blood, ye have no life in you.
54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
55 For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.
56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.
57 As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.
58 This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.
Jesus makes the promise that He will dwell inside of those who accept the priesthood which He is giving. But these people--who have accepted His release initially--but rather wanted Him to be king--and wanted to be fed (pastored!) and ruled over---have a hard time accepting His offer again--and have this reaction--
66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.
Many of these people left Him. This sounds harsh when we read it out of context. But the fact was that Jesus was offering them freedom and a life-giving priesthood to walk in. They rather, wanted to be fed and ruled, and continue in the old ways.
Apostolic release was intrinsic to the Gospel that Jesus brought into the earth. DO WE KNOW THIS?
Where is your church at in this regard? Do we believe in operating our churches in the free release to ministry which Christ brought?
Do we operate our churches by release and freedom--or by rule and authority?