Rabbi, When Did You Get Here?
Jesus feeding the crowd
Rabbi, when did you get here?
We are all worried about many things. Most of the people look for a job to survive in this competitive world. Some people do business and others are dependent on the income from their property or returns from their investments. Every one of us is very much concerned about our life. 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear? or 'Where shall we sleep?' are the basic concerns of people. When these concerns are met, people turn to focus on achieving more power, position and prestige in the society.
When we look at John 6:1 onwards we see that Jesus was also concerned about the people who came to listen to his teachings. So he asked his disciples to feed them. But they were unable to feed them. Jesus did a miracle to feed the people. All those who were there ate to their full. Jesus himself has started the custom of eating after the meeting. Many of us follow this custom.
People were happy and they returned to Jesus the next day. They took extreme pain/efforts to find Jesus. (John 6:25) When they find him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?”
Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed 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. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”
People got a strange answer form, Jesus. He said that "you came because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Why Jesus replied like this when they asked: “Rabbi, when did you get here?”
If you or I confronted with such a reply, will you go to him again? No. No one would go to him. Imagine, one Sunday you went to attend the church and the pastor offered you lunch. When you returned to the church next Sunday and the pastor says to you that you came because you ate last Sunday, what an embarrassing situation that would be! You would not return to that church anymore in your life. Because you find it an offensive statement.
What is important in life? Money, power or prestige?
The same situation happens with the Canaanite woman who came to Jesus for the deliverance of her daughter. See the answers given by Jesus
Mathew 15:24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”
The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.
He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”
Here also we find that the words of Jesus are very offensive. But she was positive and answered: “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” What a positive answer! She needed help. For getting that much-needed help, she was ready to ignore the harsh words of Jesus. It points to one thing that even though we do not deserve the blessings, by faith, we can get the blessings.
But why Jesus replied to the people who came to him with such a tough language. The question “Rabbi, when did you get here?” could be answered with the time of his arrival. Have you ever thought why Jesus replied like this?
There is a purpose for such a reply. When Jesus looked at the people He understood that people are running after him for physical and material blessings only. They are no more concerned about eternal life. They wanted to live the life in this earth with much money and possession. They are not concerned with life beyond death. Even today people are not concerned about eternal life. People are more concerned about food, clothing, prestige, power etc. All are busy getting these material blessings.
But here Jesus has something more valuable and important to offer them. It is much valuable than food that perishes. Jesus wanted to offer them eternal life. People are ready to satisfy with the physical food. Dear brothers and sisters, eating choice food and sleeping is not the purpose of your life. There is much more beyond that. Secure your eternity.
To make them feel the importance of eternal life, Jesus used such harsh words. You are looking for food, but I have much more important than food to give you. Are you ready to receive that?
When we look at the life of Jesus, He constantly and repeatedly reminded people about eternal life. Life after death. His sermon at mountain itself starts with the mention of eternal life. Many parables were told to explain the life after death.
There are many reports about the near-death experiences. Everything points us towards the one thing. Life in this earth is a stepping stone to the eternal life.
Jesus here tried to point out what was in the mind of people. Your mind is stuck up with material things. How to get material things, that is the focus of people then and now. Without revealing the mind, it is impossible to turn the mind into another realm of life. He told them the hard truth about their mind that they are very much concerned about food.
The polished speech will not do the work. Jesus spoke about the hard truth. Polished words will not change the mind. It offended many people of His time. But, at the same time, it turned many sinners towards the Lord. A patient requires the help of a doctor. Not the one who is well. Jesus came to rescue the sinners. Not the saints.
Jesus said to them: "Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life". What about me and you. For what we are working?. Are we working for the food that spoils?
This is the time to think about it. This is the time to work for food that endures forever. Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life."
Yes, Jesus is the bread of life. But that statement offended many people of his time. What you think about it. Do you think Jesus is the bread of life? Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.
If you want to spend a happy eternity, there is no other way but Jesus. Jesus said: "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. There is no other way than Jesus. So this is the time to turn to Jesus and be saved. Jesus is the bread of Life.
Should a Christin pray for material blessings?
Does it mean that you should not pray for material things? Let us look at what Bible teaches about material needs. There are arguments and counter arguments about praying for material things. Let us look at what bible says about it.
Philippians 4:6 "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."
If you have any anxiety, concern or tension, you need to pray for it. By prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present your requests to God. God is there to take care of your needs. After praying, it the concern of God to do the needful. You will have the peace to sleep after you submitting your tensions to your God. So it is appropriate, in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
Again Bible tell us to look at the nature. Matthew 6:26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
Look at the birds, they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, but still they are happy. They never complain to you. They never grumble. They are always happy and living their life. God is there to protect them and take care of them by giving it food on time.
Again bible says "And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Go to the garden see that how beautifully God clothed all those plants. You will see amazingly beautiful flowers and trees. Do they labor or spin their cloths? Still they are beautiful. Our heavenly father is there to take care of it. "Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these." The wealthiest and wisest king ever lived in this earth never got such a beautiful dress in his life time. God clothed the lilies and tress with beautiful dress. Then why do we worry about our dress.
So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?'
Again bible tell us to look at ourselves. “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?
Look at your body. Is not body more than cloths? You buy cloths for Rs. 500 or Rs. 1000. But your body is more precious than the cloths. Have you ever felt that there is a heart within you. Normally you never noticed that, till you felt pain in your heart. It is given by God. It work smoothly from the day you formed in your mothers womb. It continues even today. That is why you are reading this page. Praise the Lord. Have you ever felt the working of your kidney. You may never knew that there is a kidney working inside you. Yes there is a kidney. We will feel the importance of kidney only when we face some kidney problem. Can you praise the Lord for that.
Look at your life. Is not life more than food? Yes life is more important then food. Skipping one or two meal will not cause any damage to our life. Eating more food than required is dangerous to our life. Heart-attack, diabetics, blood pressure are the result of eating more than what is required. For many people, purpose of life is food. No, we are not living for food only. There is much more than that. Our life is precious. That is what Jesus is taking about. You came to me because you ate to your fill.
Be content with what you have
But I have something more than food to offer you. That is eternal life.
Now bible teaches us to look at God. "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."
What is meant by "All these things" To know the same we need to look at the statement above it. It says: "So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."
For fulfilling your material and physical needs, you need to look at God and do his will. Seek first his kingdom means, the eternal life. Do all those things to go to eternal life, the physical and material blessings will follow you.
Hebrews 13:4 Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."
Bible teaches us one more thing about our material needs. That is "be content with what you have"
In this competitive world, everyone tell us to do more to get more. More money, more power, more prestige, more business, more sales, more wealth, more, more, more.... This world will never teach you to be content with what you have. That is why we are not happy. Bible says, keep your lives free from the love of money!
We are not content with what we have. That is why we are not happy. That is the origin of all our sorrows and tension. When we become content with what we have, then we will be happy. When we leave our love of money, then, we will be happy. There is a clause for each and every blessings. We want the blessings, but we don't want the kingdom of God. We want the blessings, but we do not want the author and perfecter of our faith.
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
There is one more way to fulfill our needs of life. That mentioned in the same chapter of key verse. See John 6:1 onwards. Here Jesus took that five small barley loaves and two small fish and multiplied it. He did a miracle. I believe in miracle. I experienced miracles in my life. Yes Jesus took that five small barley loaves and two small fish and multiplied it. Not for 10 people, not for 100, not for 1000. He multiplied it not only enough for all those who were there, but also filled twelve baskets.
Yes Jesus is alive and do miracles even today. If there is no other way, God can perform a miracle to fulfill your needs.
Jesus has many ways to provide for your needs. But the most important of all these needs are eternal life. That is why Jesus said to those who came to him: “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed 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. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.” This is the time to secure your eternal life. To know more about the eternal life through Jesus, read bible. May God bless you.