- Religion and Philosophy
What happened the day after Jesus fed the 5000? John 6:22 - 30 #51
John 6: 22 - 30
"On the next day the crowd that remained on the other side of the sea saw that there had been only one boat there, and that Jesus had not entered the boat with his disciples, but that his disciples had gone away alone. Other boats from Tiberias came near the place where they had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks. So when the crowd saw that Jesus was not there, nor his disciples, they themselves go into the boats and went to Capernaum, seeking Jesus. When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, Rabbi, when did you come here? Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not work for he food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Gather has set his seal." Then they said to him, "What must we do, to be doing the works of God:" Jesus answered them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent. So they said to him, "Then what sign do you do that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform?"
Questions to consider
1. When you don't find Jesus where you think he should be, do you continue to look for him?
2. What do you work for?
3. How do you respond when you see Jesus doing things in other's lives but not yours?
4. Are you trying to earn God's favor? How?
5. How hard is it just to believe in Jesus?
6. Do you need signs and miracles to believe?
Today the crowd was even larger than before. Those who had been there yesterday spread the word about Jesus’ miracle and now everyone was hoping he would do it again. My cousin Simeon was the boy who had brought his snack and gave it to the disciples. He was making sure everybody knew it too. With his five barley loaves and two little fish Jesus had fed thousands. There was whispering among the adults. Some of them thought he should be king. Others were comparing him to Moses, who had fed our ancestors in the desert with bread from heaven. For centuries our people had been waiting for a prophet like Moses. It was predicted in our ancient scriptures, promised by God. Now there were those who believed our wait was over. I didn’t know what to think, I was just hoping to see another miracle.
Some people were a little annoyed that Jesus had crossed over to the other side of the lake during the night. They came over this morning on the boats from Tiberias. When they found Jesus, they wanted to know when he got here. He knew what they were after. He also knew how to get their attention. I didn’t really understand his response.
“Jesus answered them and said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you, for on him the Father, God has set His seal.”
There was some uncomfortable shifting at these words. Jesus had seen right into their hearts. It was true, they didn’t necessarily care about the things Jesus was doing to help others. More concerned with their own empty bellies, they wanted miracle bread. But I think Jesus was offering more. I had been listening to him. I didn’t understand everything he said, but I knew when he talked of eternity, I wanted to know more. I wondered what kind of food was needed for eternal life. He spoke of things that were common, but I’m sure he meant something deeper, something more spiritual. Jesus called himself the son of man, like he was one of us. But he was beyond us. He had God’s approval, God’s seal. He told us he was from God, that he was equal to God. His statements that he was one with God made a lot of people angry. It seemed impossible but he spoke it with such conviction I thought it might be true.
There is something you should know about us Jews. We are God’s chosen people and we take that position and responsibility very seriously. We strive with all our might to please God. We work very hard to keep all the laws he gave us to the very letter. Working to earn God’s favor was something we understood. Our Pharisees did their best to make sure we kept in line. They defined the law for us and taught us how to apply it to our everyday lives. It could be difficult sometimes, but God’s favor was important to us. Sometimes their explanations bordered on ridiculous. No one dared to admit it out loud, but I am sure that more than one person among us occasionally wondered how accurate the Pharisee’s definitions were. So when the people heard that Jesus had the seal of God set on him, they wanted the insider information. They were quick to ask Jesus “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?” I mean, if this man was so close to God, he should know what God wanted from us. Everyone held their breath. What would Jesus say? Would his list be complicated and difficult to keep, or would it be easy to remember? How much time and effort would Jesus ask from us? We all wanted to know. Even the younger children seemed to feel the importance of the question and stopped bickering among themselves for a minute.
You could have heard a pin drop after Jesus answered the question. “Jesus answered them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” Surely he didn’t understand what we were asking. Even I knew that wasn’t the answer everyone was looking for. Something wasn’t right. Jesus didn’t give us a check list of things to do. He didn’t burden us with any new rules to follow or ceremonies to perform. There were no additional sacrifices to be made and no extra laws to learn. In fact, he only said one thing, and it didn’t require any physical effort at all. It was too easy, maybe he was joking. The murmuring began. Rumbles of discontent warned me that some people were offended. Was he insulting their intelligence? Most of the people weren't upset though, rather they were confused or surprised. We had all heard Jesus claim that he was sent from God, so we knew he was talking about himself. We just weren’t sure what it meant to believe in him. I mean really, who was this man? Was he from God like he said? How could someone coming from God say so many things that seemed to contradict what we were taught?
We needed to know more, we needed a sign. We were looking for something that would tell us without a doubt whether Jesus was the Prophet like Moses, the Messiah that we were looking for. And some of us were just looking for a show.