Imagine being in the shoes of those who were listening to Jesus. He has made some incredibly bold claims, saying that He was the literal son of God. He also claimed to be from heaven. But these people knew Jesus when He was a boy and even knew His parents. For Him to make these claims was unbelievable and they grumbled as a result. But then, just as now, Jesus requires complete acceptance of His Lordship and any attempt to reject or alter His identity is equivalent to rejecting His message.
After feeding the 5,000 and going over to Capernaum, the crowd follows Jesus. They had wanted to make Him king, but it was not the right time. It's good that they sought Jesus (and so should we) but their motives were askew. In effect, they are reprimanded as Jesus tries to explain what true spiritual nourishment is. He concludes with the promise of the resurrection from the dead and the Father's sovereign ability to fully carry out His plans.
Today we get to study the only miracle that is recorded in all 4 gospels. The miracle of the feeding of the 5000 with only 2 fish and 5 small loaves of bread. This miracle raises the expectations of the people regarding Jesus being the Messiah and they even look to take Him by force to be their king.
Throughout this chapter, Jesus has made some incredible claims. He claimed to be equal with God and to be able to give life to any who hears and believes His words. He also claims to be the source of life and to be able to give judgement for sin. Jesus has claimed to be God. And as we wrap up chapter 5, Jesus gives us other witnesses who support Jesus' claims.
Jesus healed a man by telling him to pick up his bed and walk and the religious leaders get upset. In response to their intentions to kill Jesus he explains where his authority comes from. We're going to "marvel" at the things Jesus does. Then He assures us of the reality of the resurrection from the dead. Furthermore, we honor the Father when we honor the Son.
So far, Jesus' miracles have been relatively private and when the officials began to take notice of His ministry, He moved on. But today, as Jesus visits Jerusalem again, things change. He does a very public miracle at the Pool of Bethesda. From this point on, the Jews begin plotting to kill Him.
As we finish the chapter, we also finish up the story of the Samaritan woman by the well. After Jesus finishes ministering to her, she heads back into town and begins to share her testimony. As a result, others begin to believe and then ask Jesus to stay, where after they hear Him speak, they fully believe. After that, Jesus continues on to Galilee to perform His second major miracle, where He heals the Cana official’s son.
In His conversation with the woman at the well, Jesus changes everything. He proclaims what true worship is. The woman gets a revelation of who she's speaking with, and her testimony brings out the whole city. Before the crowds arrive, Jesus explains to the disciples what will keep them sustained for the work of the harvest of souls, namely doing the will of God by laboring in the field.
Today, we explore the story of the Samaritan women at the well. Even though she expected Him to ignore her, Jesus interacts with here, showing none of the prejudice that she was used to from Jewish people. In addition, in the course of speaking to her, He reveals that He is the Messiah, the one who gives water that will well up in those who drink of it, giving eternal life.
In an abrupt shift from Jesus' teaching to a focus on John the Baptist again, we find ourselves in Aenon, near Salim in the land of Judea where the apostle John shows us the historical connection between Jesus’ and John the Baptist's ministries. Both Jesus and John are in the area baptizing, but we are starting to see a transition. More and more disciples are starting to gather around Jesus and less around John. But John was perfectly aware of His position and God’s plan for His life. He was content preparing a way for Jesus and slowly fading into the shadows as Jesus move into the spotlight. This is, and was, always the plan.
Here we have the account of Nicodemus' "secret meeting" with Jesus. A fundamental truth is revealed to us through this conversation when Jesus proclaims, "you must be born again." People still marvel at this, but Jesus explains the nature of the experience when He explains that the Holy Spirit is working in us.