Sermon:The Better Exodus with the Better Moses (Part 1) John 6:1-15

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The Better Exodus with the Better Moses (Part 1)

John 6:1-15

Primary Truth Taught: Jesus’ ministry parallels Moses’ ministry proving that He is the Messiah/Prophet who was to come into the world.

 

Introduction

At the end of Chapter five, if you remember, we saw Jesus bring up Moses. He did so with the idea that the Jews who were accusing Him did not, better yet, could not understand that Moses was actually writing about Him. According to Jesus, then we understand that the writings of Moses and Moses himself have great allusions to our Lord Jesus.

At the end of chapter 5, Jesus complained that his opponents did not understand or believe what Moses had written (John 5:39-47). We then are ushered immediately into a scene that not only takes place at Passover, one of the great events associated with Moses, but into a text that overflows with echoes of the Passover event.[1]

Deuteronomy 18:15–18 (ESV)

15 “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen— 16 just as you desired of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly, when you said, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God or see this great fire any more, lest I die.’ 17 And the Lord said to me, ‘They are right in what they have spoken. 18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him.

In this passage, John wants us to see the promise of God fulfilled in Jesus Christ. He wants us to see the Prophet like Moses. The idea goes like this: what Moses did in the OT was a small foreshadow of what Jesus would do in a much greater way. Today we’ll see that Moses gave the Israelites manna (bread from heaven) Jesus would give the people following Him, as it were, bread from heaven as well as He blesses the loaves and all 5000 eat their fill. Moses gave them meat, Jesus would bless the fish and they would eat as well. Then Jesus would say something else to them. He would give them another type of bread and we’ll see that in a bit.
So what’s the purpose of Jesus showing them that He’s the other Moses or the prophet like Moses? The Prophet like Moses that God would raise up would be the Messiah, the Son of God. Again John is proving that the miracle of feeding the 5000 is a messianic sign that Jesus performs proving He is the promised Messiah.

There were many Jewish writings before the coming of Christ that suggested that when the Messiah came He would be the second Deliverer (a second Moses) who would lead a second Exodus. What did the first redeemer? He brought down manna. And the last Redeemer will bring down manna.[2]

J.B. Lightfoot in his Biblical Essays comments: He refers to Moses/Messiah parallelism in Jewish teaching and says that the Rabbis carried out parallelism into the most minute details, so that the career of the Messiah became in effect a reproduction of the career of Moses.

So the point is that when Jesus reproduces Moses’ works on His own He shows His deity and His Messiahship. Moses prayed and asked God to supply their needs and God did so. Jesus, however, did not ask God but in fact blessed the loaves and the fish Himself. He gave thanks to God but Jesus performed the miracle Himself. He is the One who gives bread in abundance.

We must notice that after Jesus fed the 5000 the people understood the parallelism between Jesus and Moses.
14 When the people saw the sign that he had done, they said, “This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!”

15 Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.

Human Need Met

John wants us to see in this passage and then in the larger context of John Chapter 6 that Jesus is the promised Messiah. To see Jesus as the Messiah means that where Moses failed to lead his people home to the Promised Land, Jesus who is greater than Moses will succeed to lead us home. As we witness Jesus fulfilling His ministry as the Greater Moses we can have complete confidence that our faith is on firm ground and our eternal hope is secure in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Please hear God’s Word for us today. By the providence of God we will read…

John 6:1–15 (ESV)

After this Jesus went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias. And a large crowd was following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing on the sick. Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples. Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand. Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a large crowd was coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?” He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread would not be enough for each of them to get a little.” One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?” 10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, about five thousand in number. 11 Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted. 12 And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.” 13 So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves left by those who had eaten. 14 When the people saw the sign that he had done, they said, “This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!”

15 Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.

  1. The Passover, the Beginning of the Exodus

After this Jesus went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias. And a large crowd was following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing on the sick. Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples. Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand.

Lets not miss the providence of God in His impeccable timing of this miracle. What better time to show that our Lord is the second Moses than to prove it during the time of the Passover celebration.

John reports that there was a great crowd following Jesus. One thing we should see here is the reason the crowd followed Jesus. These folks, as John reports were simply following out of curiosity. They wanted another show. They wanted to see another amazing miracle. They didn’t follow Jesus because they had placed their trust in Him or believed Him…
And a large crowd was following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing on the sick.

This was, no doubt some of the same crowd who followed Jesus earlier.

John 2:23–25 (ESV)

23 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. 24 But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people 25 and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.

Do you see the difference from following Jesus because He’s a miracle worker verses following Him because He is the One who saves us from our sins?

Notice what else Jesus did here. The text tells us that He went up onto the mountain. It’s not by chance that John reports that there Jesus ascended the mountain. The connection we are to make is that it was God that Moses met up on the mountain. Here Jesus’ disciples meet with Him. He is the God who meets with His people much like God met with Moses on Mount Sinai. There Moses received the Ten Commandments and here Jesus’ disciples would receive divine instruction from Him.

Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand.

I pray we’re seeing the connection between Jesus and Moses, one example after another. John gives us this string of amazing similarities to drive home the point that Jesus is the second Moses or the Prophet God promised to His people. He would be like Moses and he is showing us how Moses-like Jesus is.

Hebrews 3:1–6 (ESV)

Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession, who was faithful to him who appointed him, just as Moses also was faithful in all God’s house. For Jesus has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses—as much more glory as the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself. (For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.) Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope.

  1. Manna, the Food of the Exodus

Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a large crowd was coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?” He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread would not be enough for each of them to get a little.” One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?” 10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, about five thousand in number. 11 Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted.

We must notice that Jesus asks one of His disciples the question concerning where were they going to get enough bread to feed this large crowd. Many estimate this crowd at well over 10,000 because in the context it is said 5,000 men. What is important is the fact that this was such a large crowd that there was no possible human solution to the problem.
Another side note is that these people were unbelievers as indicated in the earlier verse. We must keep that in mind. Would Jesus show kindness to those who were only seeking Him for another miracle? Would He be so merciful to feed lost people who do not love Him?
One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?

Humanity to the rescue! Andrew’s best solution was that he was going to take the little boy’s lunch.

Here is where we must take a different path than many modern attempts to explain this passage. One I’ve heard teaches that the moral of the story is that we are to share with others. This teaching is on the level of Andrew’s response.
The real truth being taught here is that Jesus Christ is God and He can create bread out of thin air if He so chooses. We’re dealing with the Lord of the universe. He is going to feed this large crowd and He already has in mind how. You see Jesus before the foundation of the universe knew how He would accomplish this task.

10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, about five thousand in number. 11 Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted.

Do you see how easy this was for our Lord? Have them sit down and stand back.

If all you get from this is that the boy shared his lunch then we have some work to do.

Exodus 16:15–16 (ESV)

15 When the people of Israel saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, “It is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat. 16 This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Gather of it, each one of you, as much as he can eat. You shall each take an omer, according to the number of the persons that each of you has in his tent.’ ”

In the Exodus they received the manna and ate as much as they wanted. This is exactly the same language John uses here… he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted.

Psalm 78:23–25 (ESV)

23    Yet he commanded the skies above

and opened the doors of heaven,

24    and he rained down on them manna to eat

and gave them the grain of heaven.

25    Man ate of the bread of the angels;

he sent them food in abundance.

Psalm 78 is extremely clear who sent the manna. It wasn’t Moses but the Lord who sent it.

Exodus 16:4 (ESV)

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven for you, and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in my law or not.

The bread from heaven came from God. Moses would simply announce to the people how it was to work. Moses told them the Words God told him. God sent the manna not Moses.

So, lets make sure and get this next parallel between Moses and Jesus.

This bread that the people were being given who came to hear and watch Jesus were given the bread at the hand of our Lord. In other words, Jesus did not need God to give bread to the people like Moses did. Jesus worked the miracle Himself. Where does the bread from heaven come from? The Lord sent it. Where did this miraculous feast of bread and fish come from? The Lord sent it. Jesus is God.

  1. The Lord, Deliverer of the Exodus

12 And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.” 13 So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves left by those who had eaten. 14 When the people saw the sign that he had done, they said, “This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!”

15 Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.

Our Lord tells His disciples to gather up the leftovers into twelve baskets. This mirrors what Moses said in Exodus 16…
Exodus 16:19 (ESV)
19 And Moses said to them, “Let no one leave any of it over till the morning.”
Notice the reaction from the people…
When the people saw this, they had no trouble in deducing who Jesus is. They had no trouble in making the connection that He is the One God had promised would lead His people through the second Exodus. This was none other than the Promised Messiah.
This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!”

So far they had it right. Jesus is the Prophet who is to come into the world. But the problem was how they saw Jesus. They wanted to make Him their earthly King. They wanted not only a miracle worker, not only One who could give them free food, but they saw this as their chance to get out from under Roman bondage. They saw in Jesus someone who could free them politically.
That’s why Jesus slipped away quietly. He didn’t come into the world to grant the Jews political freedom, He came to free us from sin. He came to be our King whose kingdom is not of this world but of the world to come.
Declaration of Grace

In the mercy and grace of Almighty God, Jesus Christ was given to die for us, and for His sake God forgives us all our sins. To those who believe in Jesus Christ He gives the power to become the children of God and gives to them the Holy Spirit. May the Lord, who has begun this good work in us, bring it to completion in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen

 

[1] https://www.workingpreacher.org/preaching.aspx?commentary_id=350

[2] Moses in the Fourth Gospel by T. F Glasson, 45 footnote 1

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