“After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.” 15 Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.” John 6.14-15
Solitude was becoming Jesus’ friend. At least twice now Jesus has retreated by himself when the crowds were pressing in and he needed a break. He who was God in the flesh needed space. So he established boundaries of solitude which prevented the world from forcefully influencing him into doing something God never intended him to do.
What was the current pressure? To be made king. Now that the people believed they did so to his detriment. Jesus wanted them to believe but not in the misconstrued way that moved him out of God’s plan. The people went from unbelief, to belief, to making Jesus into their own image. The pressure became so great that Jesus had to disappear and go to a mountain by himself. Not even his disciples were allowed to go with him. Perhaps they were caught up in making Jesus king as well.
We do the same thing at times — making God into our own image. Many of us picture him to look like us, act like us, think like us and talk like us. Jesus was not a white-anglo-saxon-protestant! He was a middle-eastern-Jewish male whose politics were grounded in the Kingdom of God rather than the kingdom of this world. The lens through which Jesus saw the world was not the same as ours (nor apparently was it the same as the first century Jews and Gentiles who were trying to make him King of Judea).
Why didn’t Jesus want to be king? Why didn’t he just submit to the will of the people? For one, it was God’s will that mattered, and two, Jesus came to make his Father known and not himself.
Too often we try to force God to do that which we want him to do. But Jesus never did this. John tells us that Jesus did only what he saw his Father doing and that “I and the Father am one.” Shouldn’t this be our goal? Shouldn’t we keep in mind the things of God and not our own ideas or intentions?
Let’s make our goal be to serve the Lord, follow his commands and love him with our whole heart. When we do this we will make God famous and Jesus will be glorified for all eternity.
“O Lord God, forgive me when I try to force my will upon you. Why would I think that would ever work? Thank you for loving me even when I am anything but lovable. Come now, Holy Spirit, fill me with your power and light. Help me walk in newness of life so I might be your image bearer. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen