Monday, August 1, 2011

The Gospel of John and Moses: VI

So Jesus, perceiving that they were intending to come and take Him by force to make Him king, withdrew again to the mountain by Himself alone. John 6:15

In verse 14 the people purport to recognize in Jesus the fulfillment of Moses’ prophecy (Deut. 18:15); yet consider their response to this supposed recognition – they want to make Jesus a king by force; they want to make Jesus something that He is not, “not” in the sense that Jesus is no earthly king. And so Jesus withdraws Himself to the mountain.

Why a king? Likely to lead them out of Roman oppression. They want Jesus to be a king to meet their needs; they want to use Jesus to their own ends. I wonder how many times Jesus withdraws Himself from us because we want to use Him to fulfill our goals? I wonder how often we want Jesus to be like an earthly king, an earthly leader, an earthly CEO? How often do we try to take Jesus by force and make Him a figurehead for nationalistic or political or economic agendas?   

Did the people know what they were saying when they proclaimed Jesus as the Prophet who was to come? It doesn’t appear so, not here and not in the rest of the chapter, nor in the rest of the Gospel. Cheap self-serving talk, cheap self-serving grace – cheap and self-serving is dangerous.

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