Lesson 27: John 6:15-21 – The Man Who Would Not Be King

by Pastor Ricky Kurth

You're listening to Lesson 27 from the sermon series "The Gospel of John" by Pastor Ricky Kurth. When you're done, explore more sermons from this series.



Some say the Lord didn’t let them make Him king (6:15) because He never meant to be the king of an earthly kingdom. But after a 40-day seminar about the kingdom (Acts 1:1-3), the apostles thought He meant to be the king of a kingdom (v.6), and the Lord didn’t correct them (v.7).

No, the real reason the Lord didn’t let them make him king was because He knew their motive wasn’t right. They wanted to make Him king because He could feed them (cf. 6:1-14)! He also knew the timing wasn’t right. He told a parable (Luke 19:11ff) to indicate He would have to die and go to heaven before He could be king. Of course! God would not admit anyone into the kingdom of heaven unless their sins were paid for!

Had they known their Bible, they would have known their Messiah must be a prophet and a priest before He could be their king. They already knew He was a prophet (6:14), and they wanted to make Him king. But they were forget-ting an office, that of priest! Priests offered sacrifices, and while the Lord was not of the tribe of Levi and so couldn’t offer up animal sacrifices (Heb.7:13:14), He offered up Himself (Heb.7:27), something He had to do if He wanted to fulfill all three offices of prophet, priest and king.

Now in Luke 19, the Lord explained in a parable what had to happen before He could be king. Here in John 6, He acts out what had to happen. A “mountain” (v.15) is a type of a kingdom (cf. Isa.65:25). So when they want to make Him king and He goes into a mountain instead, that’s a picture of how He had to die and go to the mountain of the king-dom of heaven, Mount Zion, before He could be king. Next, He went into the mountain to pray (Mark 6:45,46), and that’s what the Lord will be doing for Israel during the Tribulation (Heb.7:25). He entered the mountain “alone” (John 6:15), just as the Lord as High Priest entered the Heavenly Tabernacle alone. “When even was now come” (6:16), this brought a new day (Gen. 1:5,8,etc.), symbolic of how the day of the Lord would have started had the dispensation of grace not interrupted prophecy. During that time, the apos-tles were to go to “all nations” (Mt.28:19), symbolized here when the disciples went “unto the sea” (Mark 6:45,46), since “the sea” is a symbol for the Gentiles (Isa.60:5).

Since the Lord was the light of the world (John 1:9), when He left, it got “dark” (John 6:17), a type of the Tribulation that was supposed to follow His departure (Amos 5:18-20). During those dark days they will wonder, as did the apostles in John 6, why “Jesus was not come to them” (v.17). More symbolism is seen in the name Capernaum (v.17), which means village of comfort. The apostles were heading for this village in John 6, and Trib saints will be heading for the comfort of the kingdom in the Tribulation.

The source of the “great wind” (v.18) would be “the prince of the power of the air” (Eph. 2:2), who tosses believers around with every wind of doctrine now (Eph. 4:14), and will oppose believers in the Trib as well. When the Lord walked on the water (v.19), they should have known He was God (Job 9:8).

The apostles were “afraid” when they saw the Lord (John 6:19), but they needn’t have been. If they had known Isaiah 43:1,2, as the three Hebrews in Daniel obviously did, they would have been as fearless as they. Both the fire and the water are types of the Tribulation. Just as it takes many different types to fully symbolize the Lord Jesus in all his multi-faceted Person, so it takes more than one type to symbolize the Tribulation.

The apostles couldn’t get to their destination by rowing (John 6:19), it took a miracle on the Lord’s part to get them there (6:21). Similarly, Tribulation saints will not be able to get to the kingdom by their own works, but only by Him.

Finally, the Greek word for “take Him by force” (John 6:15) is used only one other place (IThes.4:17), where it is translated “caught up.” No matter how deeply you may sink your roots in this world, the Lord is going to take you by force to heaven, whether you are ready or not! Let’s be ready!

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