A King In Their Own Image
Imagine this scene. A crowd 10,000 strong had just been fed by five loaves of bread and two fish. Jesus performed an uncanny miracle in the wilderness. And the people saw their opportunity. Here’s what happened after Jesus fed them: Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself. John 6:15 ESV Think about it like this. How amazing would a politician who can eliminate hunger be? A king or president who can feed his people miraculously and provide for every need? Jesus also showed his mastery over nature. So we can see why the people would want a king like this. In fact, before he fed their bodies, he had been healing them (John 6:2). But we know the secret, don’t we? Jesus didn’t come to be a simple ruler of the land. He came as the once-for-all sacrifice for sins. So in today’s verse, we see what the people really wanted. They wanted a king crafted in their own image, rather than a God in whose image they were made. I don’t believe I’m being unnecessarily harsh with them, either. Because the very next day, do you know what happened? Jesus answered told them in John 6:26: “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves.” The crowds followed Jesus because they were getting what they wanted. Yes, Jesus gave them good things—as God still gives us good things today (James 1:17). But they failed to follow Jesus for his own sake, for who he was. You see, whether they tried to make Jesus a momentary political figure or not didn’t matter. Because he was—and is still—King of kings and Lord of lords. At the end of John 6, we learn the extent of these disciples’ affection for Jesus: “After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him.” John 6:66 ESV
So why did the crowds want to make Jesus king one moment, and then leave him the next? What kind of king and savior does this show you that the people wanted? They wanted a king in their own image. And when they couldn’t have that, they bailed on Jesus entirely. So our questions today are:
- Do we want a king made in our own image?
- Do we want a God who serves us at our pleasure and meets our demands?
- Do we acknowledge that we serve a God beyond us in power?
- And the crux… Will you continue to serve Jesus because of who he is, even when you don’t get what you want?