in John's Gospel -- Part 8
By: A.J. Higgins, M.D.
We live at the mercy of correct calculations,
calculation that admits no margin for error. High speed
transportation demands accuracy to avoid tragedy. Space
programs require it for success. Industries rise and
fall, retreat and forge forward on the basis of their
calculations. Errors in these fields may cost profits,
jobs, or tragically even lives.
In the spiritual realm, that intangible, unscientific
realm that modern man has largely chosen to ignore,
calculation becomes even more critical. The Lord Jesus
poignantly pointed to the ultimate issue: "What
shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world,
and lose his own soul?" Mark 8:36. Clearly then,
this is no market for speculation. John 6 depicts men
coming face to face with the claims of Christ. In their
decision making they misapplied basic functions of
mathematics and arrived at the wrong conclusions.
An Error in Division:
The miracle of the Lord Jesus Christ feeding the five
thousand holds a unique place in the gospel chronicles.
It is the only miracle recorded by all four gospel
writers. Although a literal miracle, it is also a
picture for us of the central message of Godís gospel,
His good news for mankind.
A large company had followed Christ. It was now toward
evening, and they were evidently hungry. The amassed
resources of the disciples amounted to five barley
loaves and two small fishes. The disciples calculated
"What are they among so many?" The need was
vast; the resources apparently meager. How could so
little be divided among so many? Yet in this well known
miracle, the Lord Jesus met the need to the extent that
all were filled, and there were leftovers to fill
"twelve baskets." Only the Son of God could
perform that division.
But this was an object lesson from the Sovereign Son and
Divine Teacher to introduce a most vital subject: The
Bread of Life the Lord Jesus Christ. For the miracle
provided a vivid illustration how He, "the Bread of
God come down from heaven" was to give His life so
that all who receive Him as Savior would have eternal
life (vs. 33-35).
As then, so men today make the same error in spiritual
division. How can the work of Christ upon Calvary meet
my needs? How can His one life given up at Calvary meet
the need of every sinner? Men feel a compulsion to do
something additional to pay for their sins, to obtain
life from God. Although not uttered in words, the
testimony of their actions is that Christ is not enough.
The testimony of God is "He that hath the Son hath
life." (I Jn. 5:12).
An Error in
Continuing in John 6, we come face to face with an error
in multiplication. The Lord Jesus had fed the large
crowd with five loaves and two fish. The next day He
explained to the same group how He was the bread of God
that had come to give His life so that others might
The crowd, though conceding that He had supplied bread
for them, pointed to the miracle of the manna that was
supplied not for one day but for forty years in the
wilderness. So they asked: "What sign showest thou
then that we may see and believe?" Their path of
logic to faith was direct and simple: Multiplied
miracles equal faith.
Before you condemn too hastily, remember that much of
the same mistaken mathematics is prevalent today. Paul
has clearly stated that faith rests alone upon
revelation from God through His word the Bible.
"Faith cometh by hearing (not seeing) and hearing
by the word of God." (Romans 10:17). Faith lays
hold of Godís Word as sufficient in all things.