A Reflection on John 6:30
Scripture: John 6, 24-35
Once the crowd realised that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into the boats and went to Capernaum in search of Jesus. When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, "Rabbi, when did you get here?"
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. 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."
Then they asked him, "What must we do to do the works God requires?"
Jesus answered, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent."
So they asked him, "What miraculous sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? Our forefathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written:`He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'"
Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the 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."
"Sir," they said, "from now on give us this bread."
Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty." (John 6:24-35 NIB)
Gospel reading for Trinity 5 (August 5th, 2012).
In this reflection, the key verse is verse 30:
So they asked him, "What miraculous sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do?" (Joh 6:30 NIB)
Observation from the Passage
This conversation between the people and Jesus happened after Jesus fed the 5,000 men (John 6:1-21). Before feeding them, He performed miracles by healing the sick (John 6:2). They asked for more miracles from Jesus to justify His claims - more than the multitude of things that have happened before their eyes. It is contrary to the seeing isn't believing idea.
The idea of having awesome miracles is always equated to being powerful. The Jews were waiting for their messiah - someone who would deliver them from Roman clutches and restore the Kingdom of Israel and Judah. While the Pax Romana may have contributed to the peace, within their lives they expected a warrior prince who would free them. I dare speculate that, with this in mind, they would be more receptive if Jesus was given a winged horse like Pegasus and a master thunderbolt.
But the miracles of Jesus have all been practical. They are also very subtle. In the previous miracle, Jesus fed 5,000 men - probably 8,000 some commentaries suggests if you include the women, children and slaves - with 5 loaves and 2 fish. Not only were the crowd filled, the leftovers amounted to 12 full baskets!
When the apostles saw Jesus with Elijah and Moses (Luke 9:30) and later heard the voice, there was a group of them. It wasn't narrated by Jesus to them. They were witnesses. It was before their eyes!
Life is complex, but it doesn't need to be lonely. It has many challenges, but why must we walk alone? Jesus' miracles are practical to our stations in life. But He will not grant us an iPad, a Samsung Galaxy SIII or a mansion!
Instead, He wants to fulfil our most basic needs - especially our spiritual needs. His purpose of coming is to reconcile us to God. Just as the purpose of Israel leaving Egypt during exodus is to bring them to the Promised Land.
Miracles of Jesus can still be seen through His disciples today and through His Bride, the Church. Where there is kindness shown to one's neighbours, it is in the spirit of that "love thy neighbour".
Lord, your miracles are indeed amazing! And anyone can enjoy what You have done if they believe. Continue to kindle in our hearts that love and passion towards you, that we may perfectly emulate You, and share our Father's grace to us with others. Lord, make us the salt and light of the earth, that more and more people would come to know you through us. In the name of Jesus, Amen.