Pastor Jenny Lee, Ph.D.
“Take Jesus into Your Heart!”
I want to start with something funny. I think I have shared this story about this elderly lady before. When she went to the store, she accidentally locked her keys in her car. She used a coat hanger to try to get it open, but it didn’t work. She prayed, asking God to help her. About this time, a real rough-looking guy drove up on a motorcycle, wearing leather, with tattoos and a skull cap. Within fifteen seconds, he had opened her car. She hugged him and said, “Lord, thank you for sending me this nice man.” He said, “Lady, I’m not a nice man. I just got out of prison where I was serving time for grand theft auto.” She gave him a bigger hug and said, “Lord, thank you. You even sent me a professional.”
If you were this elderly lady, what would you do? This lady had a very positive and grateful mind. If we keep Jesus in our hearts and have a God-centered mind, we would be more grateful and humble. We would live in the world more hopefully, more positively, more confidently, and more gratefully because God wants us to do so. We know the famous passage, “because God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life” (John 3:16). God created the world and put us in the world. We are God’s masterpieces, and the world is God’s beloved piece. So, it would be best if you lived happily and believe only in Jesus. Take Jesus into your hearts whatever you do and wherever you go.
We all are different. We have different perspectives and opinions. It’s sometimes causes fighting or arguing with each other and hurting each other. My point is that “different perspectives lead us to different opinions.” If we ask blind people to touch an elephant’s body and tell us what they felt, each of them may say something different. Some of them may say, “it is like a huge pillar,” some may say, “It is like a cow,” and some may say, “It is like a rhino,” and so on. None can figure out what that is if they just touch one part of the elephant. The best way to figure it out is for them to share what they touched and thought of and figure it out together. We might be blind before God. We only know what we see and we have different opinions. Even though each of us has a different perspective, we may work together for the same vision. It would be growing up in Christlikeness. If you do so, let us take Jesus into our hearts so that we go the same way together. The Apostle Paul says, “Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5).
In today’s scripture it shows us how much different our thoughts and Jesus are. Many people follow Jesus because they saw how Jesus made things happen that they couldn’t: the sick were healed; the dead were raised; the blind saw (John 6:3). They had a dream about a different world through Jesus. Their dream was that Jesus would be a worldly king (6:15). Jesus had compassion for them seeing a larger crowd and asked Phillip, “Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?” Today’s passage says it is “to test him, for he himself knew what he was going to do” (6:6). The word “test” is like how a teacher tests students. The word “test” implies “being hopeful” to figure it out. Jesus’ expectation for us is faith. Jesus’ perspective is faith. Jesus tested Phillip’s faith, but Phillip tried to get a solution by reasonable and mathematical thoughts. Our reason has limitations. By rational thoughts, Phillip, rather upset by Jesus’ question said, “six months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.”
What about us? We are also not much different from Phillip. For example, when we work on some church project, we might think about money first, like Phillip. “Where can we get this much of money?” And, we may give it up because of very rational thoughts. I don’t mean that rational beliefs are wrong. I mean, sometimes too many sensible thoughts might block our faithful ideas. We are Christians. Christians are people who follow Jesus Christ. In other words, Christians represent those who would be in “Christlikeness.” Therefore, if you are Christians, “let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus.”
Let us see the scripture continually. At that moment, the other disciple said, “there is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish.” It sounds a little hopeful. But he said, “But what are they among so many people?” It reminds me of our church. On the church project, one may say, “let us encourage our congregation to offer a little more.” And one may say, “That sounds good, but how much could we get from a small congregation?” It sounds hopeful, but as soon as someone says, “but,” like a flat balloon, hope disappears. That being said, God’s thoughts are different from our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8). God can make things happen that we can’t. God works in extraordinary ways. Don’t forget that Jesus can feed five thousand people with five loaves of bread and two fish. We are the friends of the amazing Lord. Our Lord never leaves us alone. Sometimes God may test our faith, even though he has a plan to bless us, as Jesus tested Phillip. The answer to God’s tests is faith. The Letter of Hebrews says, “Without faith, it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6). Only faith can make us pass the test.
Jesus made people sit down on the grass and fed them. It is like Psalm 23, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, and he restores my soul.” Jesus made people rest on the grass and fed them to restore their souls. But “they were about to come and take Jesus by force to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain by himself” (6:15). This passage reminds us that if we have worldly desires using Jesus, Jesus goes away from us. However, Jesus is always around us.
Verse 16 says, when evening came, his disciples went down to the sea, got into a boat, and started across the sea to Capernaum. It was dark, and Jesus was not there. The disciples faced the crisis of a storm. And Jesus was coming to them walking on the water. They were terrified. But he said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.” Then they wanted to take him into the boat. Would you please pay attention to what it says, “It was dark. The storm hit them. They felt terrified. But Jesus was there. Jesus said, “I’m here. Don’t be afraid.” Please pay attention to Verse 21. It says, “They wanted to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the land towards which they were going.” If we have worldly desires using Jesus, he will disappear, but if we take him into our hearts, he leads us immediately to get where we want to go and to what we want to do. Therefore, when we plan to revitalize our church, we need to take Jesus into our hearts first so that he can lead us to what we want. Even though we face dark situations, only look for Jesus, and make him part of our plan. He will lead us. Thanks be to God. Amen!