He Will Not Be Your Butler But Will Gladly Be Your Atonement

Text: John 6:1-15

In the name of Jesus. Amen.

In our reading from the Gospel of John, Jesus multiplied bread and fish to feed the 5000 people who had gathered by the Sea of Tiberias.  Our reading says that the people sat down in a great deal of grass and were given bread and fish – so much that they were filled and satisfied.  Indeed, they were saturated with food; they were comfortable.  However, that is where things went off course.  You see, after they were filled and satisfied, they thought that they would seize Jesus to let the good times roll.  The thought process is rather simple; 

If Jesus can multiply bread and fish and fill our bellies with miraculous power… 


Then let’s grab him, proclaim Him as our King, and harness that power… 


So that we can rid ourselves once and for all of Herod and the Romans and have a great new kingdom with plenty of abundance!

Now, on the surface, this doesn’t sound too bad. Jesus comforts them with food in the grass by the Sea of Galilee, and if they crown Jesus as King, they can continue having Jesus make them feel economically and politically comfortable.  

And this is where we must be careful!  

You see, the people had made Jesus into a means to another end.  In other words, they wanted Jesus not for Jesus’ sake but for what He could deliver to them.  They had free bread and fish before, and they wanted to keep the good times rolling and even expand the good times.   

Now, unfortunately, there is a tendency among people today to do the same thing today.  For example, many people have had profound religious experiences in a church, or intense healing at the hospital, or tremendous financial success – all in the supposed name of Jesus.  Now, while all of these can be very good, what isn’t good is that people will often attempt to keep the good times rolling by grabbing hold of Jesus and telling Him what He must do to continue good things in their lives. It is believed that Jesus delivered them on these things, and He should obviously continue to do the same.  

If you doubt this, just listen to the prayers of many Christians in America.  Many of the prayers that are spoken by well-intentioned Christians do not ask God for help but seize God by the throat and demand what He must do.  Many Christians do not come before God as beggars but storm the gates of heaven with religious-sounding dictates.  Prayer is no longer a reverent approach before God but an invasion of our will into the realm of the sacred to bend the elbow of God.  In the end, what those people by the Sea of Galilee were attempting to do was put Jesus on their leash.  They were attempting to tame Jesus, cage Jesus, and seize Him for the sake of getting Jesus to do what they wanted - when they wanted it.  And the same is true for the American Church today.  We like our comforts, and we want Jesus to continue these comforts while being a comfortable Savior to us.  Perhaps another way to talk about this is like this: the people were trying to make Jesus their Messiah on their own terms rather than Jesus being a Messiah on the terms of His Father.

And so, to the point, double-check your perspective of Jesus; is Jesus nothing more than a spiritual lap dog for you?  Is He on a leash where He must do His tricks for you when you tell Him: sit, jump, roll over… good boy. Is Jesus nothing more than a spiritual butler that you expect to follow your orders to grant you your heart’s desires?  Go fetch me some comfort, Jesus, and while you are at it, make my dreams come true.  Or do we treat Christ as a waiter? Do demand what we want, and then we expect Him to deliver it on a silver platter while saying, 

“Is there anything else I can do for you today?”  

If so, we are committing idolatry; we are breaking the First Commandment, just like the people of the Sea of Galilee did that day.  If we have seized Christ by force, made Him into our version of what we expect a Savior to be, and tell Him to dance when we say ‘dance’ … well, this is not Christianity but idolatry.  

* * *

Dear Saints, when we view Christianity on the basis of what we expect Christ to be and do for us, nine times out of 10, we end up where the people of the Sea of Galilee ended up – idolatry.  We end up worshipping, following, and praying to a false Jesus, which is no Jesus at all but an empty and powerless idol.  

Frankly, we have all heard the many stories of former Christians who have given up on Christianity because it did not work the way they expected.  Are they right?  Many of them are indeed right; it didn’t work out. The reason being, what they gave up on was a false Christ – an idol.  They sought Christianity with bad motives and unrealistic intentions.  And Christ, He would not heed their expectations and demands.  And so, in their minds, they say that Christ let them down when, in reality, they were let down by an idol – a god that does not exist except in the imagination of their minds.  

Dear friends, we hear clearly that the people of the Sea of Galilee were so enthusiastic that they were about to grab Jesus and make Him into a King.  However, Jesus would not let this happen, so He slipped off and went back up the mountain to be by Himself.  He withdrew because He would not allow Himself to be controlled by the crowd.  He did not and would not lower Himself to their expectations, demands, and agendas.  Praise God for this!  Just think for a moment: If the people of the Sea of Galilee had their way with Jesus, they would’ve had free food for life and a Savior who could shrug off the Roman Empire and create a glorious utopic society.  But what they would not have had was a blood-stained cross and an empty tomb.  Naively, the people of the Sea of Galilee were attempting to exchange a blood-stained cross for a full belly.  They were attempting to exchange an empty tomb for an independent Israel.  

You have heard it said before: Christ is not the kind of Savior that you want but the kind of Savior you actually need.  And that is exactly what we are learning from our reading of the Gospel of John.  When we attempt to make an idol out of Jesus, He will consistently withdraw, not allowing us to fashion and form Him into our own image.  He will not bend to our demands; He will not stoop to our bad expectations; He will not heed our agendas, for He is not tame.  He reigns not under our thumbs but at the right hand of the Father.  

Baptized Saints, Jesus will not be our butler, our waiter, our spiritual lap dog, and He certainly will not be our idol.  But He will gladly be your atonement, your substitute, your forgiveness, and your sanctification.  The reason being, He is not the Savior that we want but the Savior that we need.  He is the God-Man who redeemed you, a lost and condemned person, purchased and won you from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil; not with gold or silver, but with His holy precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death, that you might be His own and live under Him in His kingdom and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness.    

In the name of Jesus. Amen.

CLICK HERE to 'Like' on Facebook
CLICK HERE to 'Follow' on Twitter
CLICK HERE to Subscribe on iTunes
CLICK HERE to Subscribe on Podbean