As recorded in John 5:1–9, Jesus healed a man at the Pool of Bethesda. The place was famous for its healing powers, which became manifest when the waters stirred. The man was so crippled, that he could not make it to the water before someone else took his place. Jesus commanded him to take up his bed and walk, which he did. This caused chagrin for the Jewish leaders, for it was the Sabbath. It is only legal according to the Law of Moses to carry ritual or sacred objects on the Sabbath, and this man was carrying his bed, plus Jesus had healed on the Sabbath. How ironic it is that the Creator of the Sabbath and all who observed it should be condemned for breaking it.
Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God (John 5:14).
Jesus answered with a testimony that He was the Son of the Father and went about doing the business of the Father, and that those who accepted the Son would also accept the Father. The Savior then prophesied of His future work for the dead —
Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live (John 5:25).
No Christian sect fully understands what the Savior was talking about here except The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Through modern revelation to real prophets, we know that Christ ministered to the dead during His three days in the tomb, organizing a mission to take the gospel to those spirits who had never heard it or who had rejected it during mortal life. Prophet Joseph F. Smith experienced a vision of this work, and it is recorded in Doctrine and Covenants, Section 138. This short verse displays the love of God in giving us every opportunity to hear the gospel and choose to believe. Everyone will have that chance, either on earth or in the spirit world as we await resurrection.
Jesus went on to teach that John the Baptist, Jesus’ own works, the scriptures, and the Father all testify that He is the Son of God.
Jesus Feeds the Multitude
The biblical record found in John 6:1–14 and Mark 6:30–44 tell us about Jesus feeding the multitude. The story is one of the most famous from the Bible. From only a few loaves and fishes, Christ fed 3000 and then 5000 followers.
Elder James E. Faust (late Mormon Apostle) said:
“Many nameless people with gifts equal only to five loaves and two small fishes magnify their callings and serve without attention or recognition, feeding literally thousands. … These are the hundreds of thousands of leaders and teachers in all of the auxiliaries and priesthood quorums, the home teachers, the Relief Society visiting teachers. These are the many humble bishops in the Church, some without formal training but greatly magnified, always learning, with a humble desire to serve the Lord and the people of their wards (congregations). …
“A major reason this church has grown from its humble beginnings to its current strength is the faithfulness and devotion of millions of humble and devoted people who have only five loaves and two small fishes to offer in the service of the Master. They have largely surrendered their own interests and in so doing have found ‘the peace of God, which passeth all understanding’ (Philippians 4:7)” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1994, 4–5; or Ensign, May 1994, 5–6).
After Jesus fed the multitudes, he instructed his disciples to get into a ship and go to the other side of the sea. He then sent the multitudes away and went up a mountain to pray. As the disciples were crossing the sea, they were caught in strong winds. (See John 6:15–21 and Matthew 14:22–33.)
From the ship, the apostles saw Jesus walking to them on the water. Thus comes the famous story of faith and doubt, when Peter attempted to do the same. As long as he had his eyes fixed on the Savior, Peter succeeded, but as soon as he looked around and considered with his logic the unlikelihood of being able to walk on water, he began to sink and had to cry out to the Lord to rescue him. The Lord tells us we must have “an eye single to His glory” in order to succeed in coming unto Him. We must not be distracted by the things around us.
Jesus is the Bread of Life
Mormon apostle Jeffrey R. Holland said the following:
“During the Savior’s Galilean ministry, He chided those who had heard of Him feeding the 5,000 with only five barley loaves and two fishes, and now flocked to Him expecting a free lunch. That food, important as it was, was incidental to the real nourishment He was trying to give them” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1997, 87; or Ensign, Nov. 1997, 65).
Jesus taught that the bread the people sought would temporarily satisfy their hunger, but that He was and is the “bread of life.” Those who partake of the sacrament of His suffering and death for us will live eternally and never hunger, never thirst. “never hunger” and “never thirst”? (See John 6:47, 51–54; Matthew 26:26–28; Alma 5:33–35; D&C 20:77.)
When part of the multitude rejected Christ, He turned to His apostles and asked them if they would also go away. Peter responded, “Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the wordsof eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God” (John 6:68, 69).
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