ATP Blog 37
For those of you who earnestly pursue that relationship with Jesus Christ the Bible teaches we need, what is your primary motivation? What is it that keeps the desire alive to know Him more? In the previous passage, Jesus had taught, then done two amazing miracles. One was feeding the crowd from a small lunch, and the other was walking on the water to join His disciples. In case you are thinking, ‘Why do they not get who Jesus is yet?’ we must remember the culture in which these people grew up. The teachers of the Scriptures carefully taught young people what we know as the Old Testament, especially the first five books which contained the laws given to Moses for Israel. In the prophets were hints and descriptions of a coming Messiah that would save Israel and the world. Unfortunately, the religious teachers of Jesus’ day took a biased, skewed view of this coming Saviour, choosing the conquering hero descriptions, and ignoring the suffering servant descriptions. So the crowds, and even Jesus’ disciples, had a lot of training to overcome.
Picky & Choosy Do you pick and choose what you want to believe or see in the Scriptures, or do you allow God’s Spirit to teach you even if it is uncomfortable? The crowd and the disciples were confronted with a man claiming to be the Messiah, yet looking very different from what their teachers had described! Who are they to believe, and what evidence did they require? John 6:22-25 describes how the crowd discovers that Jesus and His disciples had crossed the lake, although they knew that Jesus had not gone with His disciples! They were baffled, and seem to have not considered a miracle. They just asked Jesus, ‘Rabbi, when did You come here?’
Wrong Reason Who doesn’t like a good miracle, especially if it benefits you directly? The crowd had just been fed miraculously, and so they followed Jesus to see what He would do next. Apparently, they ‘forgot’ to pack their lunches again, trusting Jesus to do another miracle meal. Jesus answered them, and said, “Most assuredly I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the bread and were filled. Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.” (v26-27) Elsewhere Jesus reprimands those who come to Him only for the signs, saying that He had given them plenty enough signs. Here, the people had stooped even lower, and were coming just for the free food. All that effort! Jesus clearly states that our spiritual hunger must be a higher priority even than our physical hunger. He had come to meet the spiritual needs, and was meeting some physical needs to get their attention.
Right Reason In Matthew’s gospel (chapter 6), Jesus tells us that we should not worry about any of our physical needs, but to trust in Him to provide. Our focus must be on our spiritual needs, and then using what God has given us to meet the needs of others in service to Him. So, our pursuit of Jesus is to be for the ‘food which endures to everlasting life,’ which is the teaching regarding Kingdom living, and comes from Jesus Christ, the Son of God, as a gift! The proof and motivation we need is the seal that God the Father has set on Jesus Christ. That same seal (the Holy Spirit) is given to all of us who truly believe, and have received the gift that He offers!