In the book of John, chapter 5, Jesus had just completed feeding the masses with two fish and five loaves. And the next evening He walked on the water to catch up with His disciples who were rowing in boats. (You might want to let your brain and your faith actually connect on just those two facts alone.) Got it? Okay, let’s continue.
The next day, the recently fed masses went looking for Jesus. “I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On Him, God the Father has placed His seal of approval.” Jesus said.
Let’s pause here a moment. Why are you looking for Jesus? Do you want the miraculous supernatural life? Or do you want your belly filled? I know in my own life, I get sucked into only asking for mortgage payments when God wants me learn how to co-rule in His Kingdom.
The crowd asks Jesus a pertinent question. “What must we do to do the works God requires?”
To the surprise of us all who have been seduced into a “working for God’s pleasure” mentality, Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one He has sent.”
Huh? That’s it? Believe in Jesus? Not quite. This verse immediately sent my mind back to Psalm 78 which recounts the plight of the children of Israel. After all that God did in their midst, they were doomed to the desert because “they did not believe in God or trust His deliverance.”
To believe in Jesus is not a glib comment, or fish logo, or wristband. This is a “way of life” dependence on a Person. Not on programs, jobs, families, churches, bank accounts. Jesus is the central nervous system to the whole of our life. In Him, we live and move and have our being.
I’m not sure the folks with Jesus connected the dots yet because they turned around and asked Him for a sign. “What miraculous sign then will You give that we may see it and believe You? What will You do? Our forefathers at the manna in the desert; as it is written: He gave them bread from heaven to eat.”
What are you asking Jesus for? Are you asking for more of His heart? Or are you still trying to be convinced that He is the Messiah? Do you want His life or are you satisfied with manna? If ever there was a case of selective memory, this is it.
That manna experiment didn’t end so well for their forefathers and they are asking Jesus for the same thing. And Jesus helped them raise their sights. He said, “I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
Can I dare to ask you who is your Moses? Who are you crediting for your provision and success and supply? Is it your work, your husband, your parents? Do you look to them to provide for you when it is our Father who gives you all you need for life and godliness?
Slowly a new hunger is stirring in those around Jesus. The people asked Him, “Sir, from now on give us this bread.” Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life.”
I don’t know about you, but for the first time in my life I understand why Jesus instructed us to pray: “Give us this day our daily bread.” It’s not the physical bread but the spiritual He was speaking of. Jesus has just told the disciples in Chapter 4, “I have food to eat you know nothing about.”
The disciples, like us, were still thinking the physical and asked a hilarious question: “Then His disciples said to each other, ‘Could someone have brought Him food?'”
Does God care about the physical needs? Of course He does. In fact Jesus tells His followers later, “Do not run after these things like the pagans do, your heavenly Father know you need them. But seek first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added to you.”
What is so startling is the remainder of this conversation with Jesus. He has made this declaration and then proceeds to tell them “He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe me.”
Wow. My head is spinning today about what I am asking and why and who. I want to believe more. I want to feast on The Bread of Life. How about you?