Selwyn starts this study, as follows: “The second time Jesus was offered a crown while He was here on earth, it was the people who tried to give it to Him. … Jesus had become enormously popular and everywhere He went adoring crowds followed Him.”
In John 6:1-15 (NIV) we read about Jesus feeding the five thousand men with five small barley loaves and two small fish
“Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee, and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the signs he had performed by healing the sick. Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. The Jewish Passover Festival was near.
When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do. …
Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.
When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.
After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.”
Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.”
The reaction of the people was to be expected – the Israelites were looking forward to the time when a Prophet would appear – a Messiah who would lead them to freedom and rebuild the Jewish nation – in the same way that King David had done.
It would take a lot of teaching of the disciples to move the disciples from a narrow, nationalistic view of the restoration of Israel; to – a wider, eternal view of ‘Israel’.
As Selwyn says: “ … the kingdom Christ intended to establish was not to be an earthly kingdom bounded by frontiers and peopled only by members of the Jewish race; it was to be a universal kingdom reaching to the four corners of the earth and encompassing the whole of the human race. …
This is why centuries after the glory that was Greece and the grandeur that was Rome have passed away, the kingdom of God stands as secure as ever. It is founded on the imperishable love of God, and as such it is as shakeable as God’s eternal throne.”
In Acts 1:6-9, we hear one, of the disciples last questions, to Jesus, before He returned to heaven: “Then they gathered around him and asked him, ‘Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?’
He said to them: ‘It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’
After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.”
The disciples ask this question after hearing Jesus teach on the nature of His kingdom for forty days, prior to His ascension – they have also heard the parables concerning the kingdom ; and, they know it’s not the same as an earthly kingdom [Jesus’ answer to Pilate, John 18,36 – ‘Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”]
Even today, there are some who are a bit confused about the nature of His Kingdom.
What are your thoughts on today’s study?