Calvary Road Baptist Church

“What You Want To Know Is Not Always What You Need To Know”

John 6.22-27 

John chapter six is a most important portion of John’s Gospel, full of spiritual treasures, miracles echoing God’s past dealings with His covenant people, and dramatic claims voiced by the Savior. How wonderfully He communicated by walking on water as only God could do,[1] by speaking words only God could rightly speak,[2] and by delivering Peter with a strong right hand as the third fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy.[3]

In John 6.1-21 we learn that the Lord Jesus Christ and His disciples went to a region at the base of what we now refer to as the Golan Heights, located near the Northeast portion of the Sea of Galilee. John’s Gospel points out that the Passover was soon to follow, suggesting some significance in connection with what he is recording. Mentioned in both Matthew and Mark’s Gospel, we learn that some 5,000 men gathered, along with some women and children, in a region that was too remote to find food for the hungry. Therefore, the Lord Jesus Christ fed the multitudes with five loaves and two fishes that a boy had brought with him, a notable miracle that resulted in twelve baskets of food being left over after everyone had their fill.

Discerning that the multitudes wanted to make Him king, the Lord Jesus separated Himself from them, and then as evening approached He dispatched His disciples to the other side of the Sea of Galilee by boat, to Capernaum on the Northwest shore, while He remained behind. This was not done in secret. Many people witnessed the dispatching of the twelve with the Master remaining behind. What the multitudes had no way of knowing was that when the contrary wind blew the disciples did not reach their destination in a timely fashion. All night long they rowed with little progress. Then, between 3:00 and 6:00 AM the Lord Jesus Christ walked on water to where they toiled, spoke to the men in the boat, saved Simon Peter when he stepped on the water and then panicked and sank, calmed the storm, and then miraculously delivered the little fishing boat to the shore at Capernaum.

What the multitudes observed, remember, was the Lord Jesus Christ dispatching the twelve by boat but remaining behind Himself. They did not see the disciples rowing. They did not see the Lord walk on water. They did not see Peter step from the boat to the water only to be saved by the Lord. They did not see the Master calm the wind and the waves. They did not see the boat miraculously delivered to shore so suddenly.

Our text for today’s message from God’s Word has to do with the next day after they of the five thousand were fed. Turn to John 6. When you find that portion of God’s Word, I invite you to stand and read verses 22-27 with me: 

22  The day following, when the people which stood on the other side of the sea saw that there was none other boat there, save that one whereinto his disciples were entered, and that Jesus went not with his disciples into the boat, but that his disciples were gone away alone;

23  (Howbeit there came other boats from Tiberias nigh unto the place where they did eat bread, after that the Lord had given thanks:)

24  When the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, neither his disciples, they also took shipping, and came to Capernaum, seeking for Jesus.

25  And when they had found him on the other side of the sea, they said unto him, Rabbi, when camest thou hither?

26  Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.

27  Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed. 

From verse 22 we learn that the thousands who had been fed the afternoon before are at the beginning of the next day still on that other side of the Sea of Galilee from where the Savior now is, still on the Northeast shore, remembering that the afternoon before there was only one boat in which the disciples departed. There were other boats that had come to where they had been fed, but those were boats that had sailed to their location from Tiberias at the South end of the Sea of Galilee on the next day, verse 23. They were somewhat curious about where the Lord Jesus Christ was since He did not depart the day before in the only boat that was then available, and the boats that were now available had come to their location from Tiberias. Not knowing where the Lord Jesus Christ was, and knowing His disciples had left the previous day, the multitudes then took the now available shipping and sailed to Capernaum, according to verse 24, to locate the Lord Jesus Christ. Remember, they wanted to make Him king.

It turns out that they did find the Lord Jesus Christ in Capernaum, on the other side of the Sea of Galilee. The only question being how did He get there? Remember, the disciples took the only available boat, and the Master did not depart with them the evening before. And the multitudes took the next available boats that had arrived from Tiberias the next day. When they encountered Him, they wondered how the Savior got from where they had been fed to the fishing village of Capernaum. That was the question on their minds. So, according to verse 25, they asked Him, 

“Rabbi, when camest thou hither?” 

“How did you get here?” 

At this point I urge you to carefully consider what the Lord Jesus Christ is recorded to say in verses 26 and 27, taking care to observe that the Lord Jesus Christ does not address the question He was asked: 

26  Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.

27  Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed. 

Let me set before you some of the realities that may be less frequently appreciated in our day than they were two thousand years ago, but which each of us would do well to remember for our spiritual benefit: 

First, UNDERSTAND THAT YOU DO NOT KNOW ALL THE FACTS 

The multitudes that had been fed from the five loaves and two fishes were correct in their appraisal of the Lord Jesus Christ’s miracle-working power. They had seen Him feed them with only five loaves and two fishes, to begin with. That said, there was oh so much that they did not know.

They did not know that the Lord Jesus Christ discerned their motives to take Him by force to make Him king, verse 15. Thus, they illogically recognized His power to work supernatural miracles while also thinking they could somehow force Him to do their bidding. How would that work?

They did not know that contrary winds hindered the disciples’ progress in the little fishing boat. They did not know the Lord Jesus Christ walked on water. They did not know He comforted His disciples and identified Himself with the “I am” statement suggesting His deity. They did not know He calmed the wind and the waves. They did not know He bid Peter step out onto the water. They did not know He saved Peter with His outstretched hand. And they did not know He miraculously reached the destination with the men and their boat in an instant.

Does that speak to you as much as it speaks to me? Have you any idea how much you do not know, how many of the important details are not appreciated by you and me? While the multitudes did not know about anything that occurred that night on the water, the disciples, too, were ignorant. There is no indication they were told what the multitudes were inclined to do, to try to take their Master by force to make Him king.

My goodness, what humility ought to be provoked in our hearts and minds when we spend just a little bit of time and reflection to consider what we do not know about almost everything, just as both the multitudes and the disciples did not know. 

Second, UNDERSTAND THAT YOU WILL NEVER KNOW ALL THE FACTS 

In addition to not now knowing all the facts, do you recognize that you will never know all the facts? Why not? Too many details. Too many specifics. Too many nuances of even those things you might think you know. Consider the final verse in John’s Gospel, John 21.25: 

“And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.” 

Add on top of the reality that you will never know all the facts related to the Lord Jesus Christ’s words and deeds, the fact that you will never know all the facts related to anyone else’s words and deeds. Why do you think the Lord Jesus Christ warned us, 

“Judge not, that ye be not judged,” 

in Matthew 7.1, concerning evaluating the motives of other people? Why do you think the Apostle Peter wrote, in First Peter 4.8, 

“And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins”? 

I am so glad you love me because you will never have enough information to evaluate my conduct on the fly. So when you see me say or do something you disapprove of your first inclination should be to love me enough to cover my sins. And I should do the same with you. Indeed, it is only when we are overwhelmed with evidence of wrongdoing that we must address the sins of the brethren, eagerly and prayerfully looking for reasons to understand and forgive.

What could the multitudes possibly have done to ensure that they collected all the pertinent information with which to decide the Lord Jesus Christ’s comings and goings, His words and His deeds? As well, what could the most intimate of His apostles possibly have done to ensure that they grasped the details and the significance of the events that unfolded around them?

Concerning this one event, the Lord Jesus Christ dispatching the twelve and then later rendezvousing with them out on the water in the storm, we see that the multitudes could not possibly have known all the facts. But we also see that the twelve in the boat, just as certainly, could not possibly have known all the facts.

Understand two things about sin, salvation, your condition in the sight of God, and the truths related to the Savior of sinful men’s souls: First, you do not know all the facts. No one knows all the facts. Second, you never will know all the facts. No one will ever know all the facts. Thank God we have the Bible. 

Third, UNDERSTAND THAT YOU WILL HAVE QUESTIONS 

Those thousands who were miraculously fed from the lad’s five loaves and two fishes were not so different from you and me. They were hungry, and the Savior fed them as much as they could eat. The result was their level of interest increased dramatically. The same thing would be true of you and me if we were in a similar circumstance and experienced a similar blessing.

As well, the next day they noticed something they could not explain. They started out on one side of the Sea of Galilee with no boats around after they saw the twelve sail away when the Lord Jesus dispatched them. Even if there had been other boats come later, the prevailing wind pushing from West to East would have made it impossible to sail from where they were to Capernaum. So, when they sailed to Capernaum on boats recently arrived from Tiberias the next day and found the Lord already in Capernaum, they wondered how He got there.

To be sure, anyone could walk around the North shore of the Sea of Galilee from where they were to Capernaum, but not in anything like the time it took for them to sail there. So, you can imagine how their interest was piqued by the fact that they got there pretty fast by boat and found the Lord Jesus already there when there was no boat available. Absent their awareness of His miracle of walking on water and then the miracle of suddenly taking the boat to its destination; they had no idea how He got there so fast.

They were naturally curious for an explanation of something they did not understand. But as I said, those people are no different than you, and I are. You are curious about explanations of things that you do not understand, just as I am. And absent an awareness of the miracles He performed out of their sight they could not arrive at any answers to their questions on their own. And the same is true of you and me. 

Fourth, UNDERSTAND THAT THE LORD JESUS CHRIST HAS NO OBLIGATION TO ANSWER YOUR QUESTIONS 

They asked Him what was going on. They were curious how without a boat He got from point A to point B faster than they did with a boat. They came right out and asked Him. But notice verses 26 and 27. His response to their question is not an answer to their question. They wanted to know how He did it, but His response had to do with what they were doing without addressing what they were curious about.

Perhaps you have noticed that tendency in your reading of the Gospels. The Lord Jesus Christ was very prone to responding to questions asked Him in a manner that in no way answered the question posed to Him. So, what do we learn from that tendency that is seen once more in our text? You’d better get used to the idea that the Lord Jesus Christ has no obligation to answer any question you might have.

I know that infuriates some people. But you have to keep two things in mind concerning the Lord Jesus Christ: First, He is no ordinary man. Is He a man? To be sure. But He is so much more than a man. He is also God and is, therefore, not subject to any demands voiced by His creatures. He does not have to satisfy your curiosity or mine. Second, He knows so much more than you or I know. He knows what we need to know, what questions we ask that we need answers to, and at what point answers are not needed so that we can exercise faith by trusting Him. 

Fifth, UNDERSTAND THAT THERE ARE TRUTHS MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE THINGS YOU ARE CURIOUS ABOUT 

In this instance, we see that the multitudes are curious about His travel from the Northeast shore of the Sea of Galilee to the Northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee. We are also given an indication that their interest was related to the whereabouts of their next meal. While that is understandable, it is also inadequate.

His comments in verses 26 and 27 reveal to us that their curiosity is attached to their concern about the immediate, the material, the here and now, rather than that which is eternal and from the Son of God Who is sealed by the Father. And such is the case with so many who come under the sound of the Gospel.

The woman at the well in John 4 was thirsty for a sip of water, while the Lord Jesus Christ offered her living water. Someone is invited to Church and likes attending because there are friendly people here, while the real issue is the Lord Jesus Christ, the Friend that sticketh closer than a brother.[4]

It is normal, natural, and reasonable for someone’s curiosity to be aroused by the short term, the material, the here and now. However, the Lord Jesus Christ’s interest for us is in matters of eternal consequence, issues of everlasting import, and concerns of the soul and the spirit rather than concerns of the merely material. 

Finally, YOU OWE IT TO YOUR OWN SOUL’S WELL BEING TO HUMBLY COMPLY WITH THE SAVIOR’S DIRECTIVES 

So, what do you do when you come to realize that you do not know all the facts, that you will never know all the facts, that you have questions, but that you have no right to having all your questions answered, and that there are matters of greater importance than the matters you are interested in or curious about?

My recommendation is that you pay attention to the direction the Lord Jesus Christ would have you go, that you would pay more attention to what interests Him than what interests you, and that you cultivate a curiosity to have answered for you the questions that He chooses to answer while letting pass the questions that He chooses to avoid answering.

To be sure, you want what you want and so do I. It is not unusual for any human being to want what he wants. However, repentance is not just turning from your sins to Christ. It is also a turning from what you want to what He wants, and turning from what you are curious about to what He is interested in, which is your well being. 

The passage I have selected for this morning’s message is a portion of Scripture that is only rarely used as a sermon text, and by and large for a good reason. It is not much of a doctrinal passage, but it is more useful to address the Bible reader and spiritual seeker’s frame of mind.

What do you need if you do not know everything, will not know everything, have questions the Lord is not obligated to answer and find yourself curious about matters not so important to your eternal welfare? You need faith. You will not, and certainly cannot comply with the Savior’s directives unless you trust Him to comply with His directives.

This is because we fool ourselves when we convince ourselves that we typically draw conclusions based on an abundance of facts when the reality is that we do not and cannot know all the facts. What we need to know is enough to realize that God is trustworthy, that His Word is trustworthy, and that His Son is the proper Object of saving faith.

It is by grace that we are saved through faith in Jesus Christ, not only because we are not capable of saving ourselves (which is most certainly true), but also because we will never have access to all the facts that are needed (making it necessary that we trust in Another who knows everything).

Therefore, I challenge you. Trust Jesus Christ as your Savior. There is no other way. You do not know enough to save yourself. You never will know enough to save yourself. You have questions, but they are likely questions about matters that do not need to be answered and that the Savior has no obligation to answer. Other issues than the ones you are curious about are likely more important.

Commit the safekeeping of your soul to the Lord Jesus Christ, who knows all, who is all-powerful, who shed His blood on the cross of Calvary to provide for your salvation, and who rose on the third day victorious over sin, death, Hell, and the grave.

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[1] Job 9.2-8, Psalm 77.11-19

[2] Exodus 3.14; Isaiah 41.4; 43.10

[3] Matthew 14.31; Isaiah 41.13-14

[4] Proverbs 18.24

Would you like to contact Dr. Waldrip about this sermon? Please contact him by clicking on the link below. Please do not change the subject within your email message. Thank you.

pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org