Jesus therefore perceiving that they were intending to come and take Him by force, to make Him king, withdrew again to the mountain by Himself alone.
My prayers are extremely selfish in nature. The closer I get the to Lord, the more I am aware of faults such as this truth. I liken this process to a metal ball. To look at it in bad lighting, one would only be able to notice large blemishes on its surface. The closer I bring the ball to the light, however, the easier it will be to point out the finite scratches and dents. In the same manner, the closer I get to my eternal light, God the Father, the more I am aware of blemishes that need to be addressed. This is a part of the purification process. It is also why so many Christians find themselves complacent in their walk with Christ. It hurts to continually grow closer to Him. As this happens, we can’t deny the need for change.
On that note, I have been convicted by the selfishness of my prayers. As humbling as it may be, I have found a great comparison between the crowds mentioned in John 6:15 and my own prayer life. I acknowledge that this revelation has come from the Lord and is yet another step in bringing this “scratched up old ball” a little closer to Himself. Studying this verse, the Lord has taught me three very important truths that I hope will help you along your pilgrimage as well.
Christ will not be taken by force
All too often, I find that my prayers are more of an attempt to finagle something from the Lord. I pray for wisdom from God, but I honestly just want to get out of a sticky situation my sin has placed me in. I think that if I skirt around the true issue of sin or disobedience, and make my request appear as righteous, that somehow Christ will be more willing to answer my prayers. In reality, I’m not praying for wisdom. I’m praying that God will free me of the consequences of my sin, without me admitting that I have done wrong. Don’t be fooled. This verse makes it clear that Christ knew and “perceived” their intentions!
Christ will not be made an earthly king
Just as easy as it is for me to try and “force” the Lord into answering my prayers by skirting around the true issues, I find the temptation to seek my will instead of His equally appealing. The crowds that day wanted to see Jesus become their earthly king. Christ had heavenly goals in mind. This is a constant struggle I must be aware of. How do your earthly goals get in the way of Christ’s heavenly ones?
Christ will not entertain selfish motives
Finally, we must never forget that Christ simply doesn’t play games. When the crowds came to Christ with selfish motives, He withdrew from them. Do your prayers ever feel like they’ve been “returned to sender”? Christ is always present. He promises to never leave or forsake us, but that doesn’t mean He must entertain selfish motives or sinful hearts!
As I grow closer to the Lord, I thank Him for continuing to show me the little scratches I had not been aware of previously. Reading the Scriptures is a perfect way for God to work in our hearts like this.