John 6:25-30, NIV

25 When they [the people in the crowd] found him on the other
side of the lake, they asked him, "Rabbi, when did you get here?"
26 Jesus answered,
"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.

27"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." 28 Then they asked him,
"What must we do to do the works God requires?" 29 Jesus
answered, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he
has sent."


March 28, 2011
The people in this passage had participated in the miracle of the
multiplication of the five loaves and the two small fish. Actually ate food
created directly from the hand of Jesus and now were back for more.
They were very much like those of us who use our senses to get
whatever we can from life. Whenever there is something unusual to
be seen, we go for it and send u-tube clips to all our friends. We listen
for the latest news, music, fads, hot tips and hot picks. The people in
this crowd even got to touch, taste and smell the product of Jesus'
latest miracle.

So Jesus knew how highly they valued and relied on the physical world.
They were totally absorbed by what they could experience with their
senses. On this day they were in the mood for more but instead of
giving them what they fancied, Jesus told them something they didn't
necessarily want to hear and which they failed to appreciate. Why?
Because what Jesus said they really needed they could not experience
with their senses.

It could not be handled, consumed or relayed in the usual manner.
The "food" they really needed had no expiration date but would live on
eternally! The "food" they really needed would never get stale, go out
of vogue or fail to satisfy. The next meal Jesus wanted to give them
held God's seal of approval. It would even outlast their body. They could
begin now and continue eating until they met Jesus again in heaven's
banquet hall!

There's much more to this life than what we can taste, smell, touch,
see or hear. There is another realm waiting to be explored. A few
verses later, Jesus would inform them that he is "the bread of life."
That statement comes with an invitation to feed on him. Clearly, this
will take some time to process and discover what Jesus means.

 


                                                                           More journal entries


January 14, 2002
Onlookers could see that something fishy was happening here on the
shores of Galilee. How did Jesus get from one side of the lake to the
other and make his way back to Capernaum? Were they trying to
hone Jesus in and confine him within the predictable laws of physics!
"How and when did you get here, Teacher?"


April 6, 1983
Jesus never answered that question. He changed the subject instead--
from when he got there to why they were looking for him. Jesus felt
no obligation to stay and feed them again. The crowd wanted to know
when and how Jesus got to the other shore? Jesus wanted to talk
about food and work, believing and receiving.

The feeding of the 5000 men began with people swarming around
Jesus asking for physical healing for themselves and for their loved one.
I can imagine all the additional people who would flock to Jesus now
thinking they should receive a free meal. People were poor and lived
day to day. Normally they worked for food and that occupied their days.
But if Jesus would feed them, they could eat without working.

Unlike his other miracles, when Jesus fed the crowd there were no
bystanders. The loaves and fish were a gift to each person who was
present. They all experienced this one and benefited personally. Everyone
was invited to partake, as much as they needed, until their hunger was
satisfied


January 15, 2002
The crowd wasn't done with Jesus yet and Jesus wasn't done with them
either. He acknowledged what their motives were and why they were
concerned about him and followed him around. Let's get this out on the
table honestly: You seek me not only to watch the miracles, but because
I fed you yesterday. Now, while I have your attention, let me tell you
something you need to know. . . .

Before the end of this chapter Jesus talks to 3 groups of people:
            1) the people in the crowd,
            2) critics whom John calls "the Jews" and
            3) his disciples/followers/believers.

He starts with group #1, but group #2 chimes in so he addresses them
too. John concludes this chapter, this slice of Jesus' life, with the reaction
of Jesus' disciples--the many without names and the 12 with names.


April 9, 1983
Don't work for food that doesn't last! These were mostly poor people that
Jesus was talking to. They knew that in order to eat, they must work.
Whether they grew their own food, or bought it--work on their part was
required. Jesus also knew that people need to eat. We don't live on
dreams, ideas, or lofty thoughts. So why would Jesus make such
a statement?

Jesus went on to say that food which endures unto eternal life is not
something we work for. It is given to us by "the Son of Man", a term Jesus
used when talking about himself. God has placed his seal of approval
on him, that sounds like a guarantee to me. God's seal of approval--
what higher honor could there be? The food Jesus gives is guaranteed
for eternity too.


March 29, 2011
If it's not to work for our daily bread, then what is the work that God
requires of us? If our task in life is not primarily to survive, then what are
we here for? If all our striving is for things which do not last, then what
are the "eternals"?

Jesus begins the answer to these questions by telling these people the
food which endures eternally is a gift which he could give them when
they are ready to receive it. Just like yesterday when they had opened
their hands to receive the miraculous loaves and fish, so now today and
everyday, living food is available to all who believe. Jesus, the bread of
life, is pure gift, just like the mountainside meal.


April 11, 1983
What must we do? What is our true job in life? Believing in the works of
God, believing in the one God has sent into our world. Belief is not passive.
This is the food that lasts on into eternal life. Jesus didn't ask us to do
an easy thing; belief is difficult. Simple yet hard, like forgiveness.


April 12, 1983
Jesus worked--doing the will of God, being an eternal spring of water
and source of food, giving his body, sharing his life and resurrection.

Jesus was God on earth--giving, teaching, saving, making whole. Jesus
was the Word, revealing the story of God the Father. Jesus was the
Light and Life of the world, the Lamb of God branded with the sign of
God's approval and authority.

Although physically I must work for daily bread, mentally I am free to
decide how to spend my time and thoughts. In that way I can opt for the
food which lasts into eternal life. God, help me to make that decision,
and receive the nourishment Jesus wants to give me.

The food that leads to eternal life is: giving, teaching, saving, making
whole.  Also for me, keeping my vessel empty so God can fill it up. Or
in another analogy--a musical instrument; God is the musician, and
my responsibility is to keep the instrument clean, tuned and in good
condition.


April 13, 1983
Father, guide my day that I may work for those things that lead to
eternal life. Not asleep, but awake to your presence; not passing the
time, but eagerly, expectantly, lovingly seeking you.

God sent Jesus into our world, like in the parable of the vineyard,
because all else failed to bring his people to terms with God's covenantal
love--to live by the spirit of the Law, to do justice, love righteousness and
create peace. Jesus is the Way that leads to life. Foreseen by the
prophets, expected by the devout. Yet mostly unrecognized, disregarded,
treated like an impostor.


April 14, 1983
Why would Jesus say that believing is work? The work of God for you
is to believe . . . . As long as I can remember, I have always believed that
Jesus was God's son sent to be our Savior.

But Jesus calls it work, not leisure, or natural (unless work is natural).
Does work in this sense mean struggle, difficult labor, the curse of Adam?
Obstacles to overcome like the weeds and thistles are to the gardener or
the farmer? Or was Jesus talking about the joy and fulfillment of work?
What I feel after a job well done. Or like yesterday after walking across
town to Millersville? I felt healthy, alive, had good color in my cheeks, a
good appetite and pride in accomplishment?

Work is a fair exchange for money. Eternal life is the fair exchange for
doing God's work. My work is to believe in the one God sent--to believe in
Jesus as God's man, God's voice, God's signpost pointing the way. And
more than that, the bread of life without which I could not live.

How do you get what you want out of life? Most people might answer,
"By working for it." How do you get eternal life? By receiving the gift God
wants to give. By believing in the one God has sent to you. Believing is
a powerful tool.


April 15, 1983
I said "no" again yesterday--this time to substituting at nursery school the
last Monday in April. How clear that decision was! To work for pay or to
go and spend my time with the old folks at Conestoga View. To work
"for food that does not last" or "for the food that lasts on into eternal life."
The way seemed obvious and so I chose the latter. I wish all decisions
could be that clear!

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