John 6:1-2, “After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias. (2) And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased.”
Colin Powell said about leadership, “If you think you are a leader, stop, turn around, and if no one is following, you really need to come to grips that you are just taking a walk”. There is some truth in this statement. However, our Lord and the disciples not only had the multitudes following, but they dealt with the test that came as a result. Just because the crowd following is not large, does not mean the impact is not still as great. Notice with me three test that you and I will face if we are a leader of people.
John 6:3-5, “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. (5) When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?”
Feeding the Multitude (verse 1-14)
The first test is dealing with the physical needs of the people following is the apparent lack of resources. Philip thought the answer was money. Rarely in the Lords is work the answer money! Some of the sweetest, amazing moments in ministry are when you do not have what it takes, but you have Him and that is all you need. Andrew saw a boy with a sack lunch and wondered if that may “spark” a solution for the situation.
When you and I face situations that seem unsolvable, when there seems to be no answer in sight, claim verse 6. John 6:6, “And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do.” Claim the promise in verse 6 – Give what you have and know unto Jesus, and let Him tell you what to do.
Leaving the Multitude (verses 15-21)
The multitude was so pleased and swept up in the moment they hastily wanted to crown Him as King. The popularity of Jesus was at an all time high when He walked on this earth. But Jesus knew the time had not come and so He takes the disciples from the multitude and gets in a boat to go to the other shore. We have all read this story; from popularity to peril. The storm was terrific.
As a follower of the Savior, are you willing to obey Him, even when you may disagree with Him? Maybe they saw the incoming storm. Do you think any of those men played out in their minds what the days would have looked like if they had just convinced Jesus to be led into the city and crowned King? You and I must remember this world is not our home, we are just passing through. We cannot look to build a reputation for ourselves at the expense of doing the perfect will of God.
I have lived long enough to watch a generation of men leave biblical standards and conviction, just to please the multitude. It has become far too much about the multitudes, and not enough about personal discipleship and sacrifice.
Losing the Multitude (verses 22-71)
John 6:66-67, “From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. (67) Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?
People wanted the Lord to meet the physical needs, but when he began to impart the spiritual, not only did the multitude vanish, but some of the disciples walked away that day as well. I am glad for the ones who had opportunity to follow the crowd, but stayed when things were lean and unpopular. It is because of one of them that the gospel was given to me generations later.
Take it from someone who has seen many true followers of our Lord. The remnant remains! Hallelujah what a Saviour! Let’s get busy finding the “few” to disciple. Let’s get busy being filled with the Spirit, attracting the multitudes with goodness and mercy, while we love and invest in them that remain. Let’s not get discouraged with the unfaithfulness of others. They will need us when they come back around.