It seems to me that there several kinds of people who followed Jesus. There were the crowds of people. The crowds were curious, they wanted to know who Jesus was. The crowds were amazed by the realm of the supernatural that surrounded Jesus. The crowds wanted to learn about Jesus. There were also the religious spirits, the Pharisees. The religious felt threatened by Jesus and the reality of supernatural experience Jesus offered. The religious pretended to want Jesus. The religious wanted to destroy Jesus. There were also the desperate people. The desperate sought to receive a supernatural change in their circumstances from Jesus. The desperate wanted to experience what only Jesus could provide. Finally, there were the disciples. The disciples had all moved from curious to receiving a life changing encounter with Jesus that caused them to want to become like Jesus. The disciples were the students in training to establish the Kingdom of God wherever they went.
Jesus had harsh words for only the religious group. The Pharisees were hypocrites who held true believers in bondage. For all the others, Jesus met their needs and encouraged them to pursue a closer walk with God. Jesus met each person at the point of their faith and encouraged and challenged them to the next step of faith.
There is a story about Jesus. “Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias), and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the miraculous signs he had performed on the sick. Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. The Jewish Passover Feast was near. When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do. Philip answered him, “Eight months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and the men sat down, about five thousand of them. Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish. When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten. After the people saw the miraculous sign that Jesus did, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.” Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself. ” (John 6:1–15, NIV84)
There was the crowd in this story. They were amazed because the saw the supernatural power of God in action. They saw signs and wonders. They saw Jesus heal the sick. They were curious. They wanted to know more. They wanted to experience more of the supernatural realm. So the crowds hung around Jesus and the disciples.
Jesus saw the crowds. Jesus saw the need in the crowds. Jesus used the crowds to help teach his disciples to minister to the crowds who wanted to know and experience more. The crowds were hungry. Jesus decided to give a ministry opportunity to his disciples. Jesus wanted his disciples to become supernatural and to walk in power demonstrating the Kingdom of God. Jesus asked Philip how Philip would feed the people. Philip could only see the natural possibilities and did not have a supernatural answer. Andrew had faith to know that God could transform any natural experience into a supernatural encounter. Andrew found some bread and fish. But Andrew too wondered how much supernatural was possible with such a large crowd.
Jesus thanked God. There was faith and expectancy for the supernatural to occur. The disciples directed the crowd who was curious into the same faith and expectancy. The crowd sat down expecting the supernatural to occur. The disciples began to serve and minister a supernatural encounter to the crowd. They served them until everyone had enough. When the crowd experienced the supernatural encounter with Jesus, their faith was empowered to declare that Jesus was their answer.
If you are a disciple, then you should expect that you will operate in signs and wonders. That is how Jesus operated and Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Jesus himself said, “”And these signs shall follow them that believe” (Mark 16:17, KJV 1900) If you say you are a disciple and try to destroy those who believe the realm of the supernatural, you have become a Pharisee. Disciples are supernatural people empowered by God. They follow Jesus and help others learn to follow Jesus.
I wonder sometimes where the crowds are today…. It seems that there are very few crowds looking to find Jesus. Perhaps the disciples must spend more time with Jesus becoming transformed into Kingdom establishing supernatural people who can minister and feed the hungry crowds. When there is fresh bread in the hands of disciples, the hungry crowds will come for food. The hungry will experience Jesus.
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