Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, you want to be with me because I fed you, not because you understood the miraculous signs. But don’t be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man can give you.” [John 6:26-27 (NLT)]
Although people flocked to Jesus, many came for His miracles and what He could do for them rather than for His message. After all, He gave sight to the blind, calmed storms, gave excellent fishing instructions, cured the paralyzed, freed people from demons, healed the sick, raised the dead, turned water into wine, made money appear in the mouth of a fish, and fed thousands with next to nothing. After Jesus fed the multitude, the people recalled the Messianic prophecy of Deuteronomy 18:18 that God would raise up a prophet like Moses and they wanted to make Him king. They didn’t understand that the kingdom of the Messiah would be a spiritual, not a political, one. Rather than seeing Jesus’ miracles as God’s stamp of approval on Him and coming to Jesus out of faith, they came to Him looking for more. As if feeding lunch to over 5,000 hadn’t been enough, they wanted an even greater miracle on a par with the manna Moses provided for the Israelites. Even though Jesus fed 5,000 men for a day, Moses fed millions for decades!
Jesus, however, corrected them. The manna wasn’t from Moses—it was from God. Moreover, that manna only lasted one day—the true bread from heaven, the bread Jesus offered, would last for eternity. Jesus wasn’t there to sustain life with something perishable but to give life with something everlasting!
Seeing Jesus as a miracle worker and a political king, the crowd followed Him. How do we see Him and why do we come to Him? Do we come for spiritual reasons or worldly ones? We may not expect Jesus to provide the food and drink for our next party but are we seeking Him for other things we think we can get from Him? By joining a church, are we seeking friends, contacts, or status? Do we have a personal agenda like politics, business relationships, or help from the parish? Are we motivated to seek Jesus in pursuit of wealth, success, comfort, emotional experience, or a miraculous fix of a problem?
Do we look to Jesus for our advancement or to advance His kingdom? Do we want to be glorified for what we do or glorify Him with what we do? Do we want to feel loved and or do we want to love Him and His children? Are we seeking an emotional high rather than spiritual growth? Do we seek power, influence, or recognition rather than a life of service and humility? Do we want His joy without our obedience or His forgiveness without our repentance?
Like the woman at the well, do we want His water so we don’t have to walk to the well and fill our jugs? Like the people who followed Jesus to Capernaum, do we want Him to miraculously satisfy our daily physical needs? Are we little better than Judas and following Him for the pieces of silver preached in the prosperity gospel? Are we looking for material possessions and wealth or spiritual gifts and the Fruit of the Spirit? Do we seek Him for what He can do for us or for who He is? Do we look to Jesus to take whatever is in His hand or do we come to offer Him what is in ours? Just asking…
True Christianity is to manifest genuinely Christ-like behavior by dependence on the working of the Spirit of God within, motivated by a love for the glory and honor of God. [Ray C. Stedman]