Today’s Reading: Matthew 14:34-36; Mark 6:53-56; John 6:22-71
“Show us a miraculous sign if you want us to believe in you. What can you do?” – John 6:30
This was the ridiculous comment the crowd said to Jesus just after he had fed the 5000 with only five barley loaves and two fish. They were following Jesus that day because they saw his miraculous signs as he healed the sick. Then God provided for their physical needs in an amazing way, similar to when He provided the manna from Heaven for their ancestors. But apparently healing the sick and feeding 5000 people with a child’s sack lunch were not enough for this group. They wanted more.
They wanted more – this is where we come in. How often does God provide over and over again for us, yet we sit back and say, “I’ve never experienced a miracle” or “I wish God would move in a mighty way”? God provides for our needs yet we desire more. We look at what others have around us and see what we do not have, rather than focusing in on what God has so generously given us.
Jesus calls out to us today just as he did to the crowd in John 6:35: “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” He says to stop getting caught up in the perishable things this world has to offer – these things do not even last. “Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man can give you” (John 6:27).
Then, it wasn’t enough that the crowd was able to witness miraculous signs in the lives of others, they wanted the ability to perform these miracles themselves – they wanted power and glory.
They replied, “We want to perform God’s works, too. What should we do?”
Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.” – John 6:28-29
At times our focus is on the desire for God to do something great and mighty through us for others to see, just as this crowd requested the ability to perform God’s works. But God’s response to us may be the same as it was to the crowd – to first seek Him, consume Him, believe in Him and fully experience life through Him.
“I tell you the truth, anyone who believes has eternal life. Your ancestors ate manna in the wilderness, but they all died. Anyone who eats the bread from heaven, however, will never die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever; and this bread, which I will offer so the world may live, is my flesh.” – John 6:47-51
“I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you cannot have eternal life within you. But anyone who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise that person at the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Anyone who eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. I live because of the living Father who sent me; in the same way, anyone who feeds on me will live because of me. I am the true bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will not die as your ancestors did (even though they ate the manna) but will live forever.” – John 6:53-58
It is as if God is saying – I can answer your prayers and provide for your needs here on earth, I am capable of that. I can once again show you my generosity and you can experience the miracle of My provision, but I want to provide you with so much more than what you are asking for. I can heal you of your physical problems or diseases but you will still die eventually. I am offering you something so much greater – I am offering you eternal life!
Perhaps the miracle is not in the provision but in the satisfaction. We know that God is able to provide – the moment of surprise is when we rest in His care, trusting and believing in Him whether or not He provides as we have asked. The miracle is in our satisfaction with what God has done and will do according to His will. Consume the Bread of Life and you will experience the MIRACLE OF SATISFACTION.
For some, this was too much. For some, they would not allow themselves to be satisfied with who Jesus was and what Jesus asked of them.
At this point many of his disciples turned away and deserted him. Then Jesus turned to the Twelve and asked, “Are you also going to leave?”
Simon Peter replied, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life. We believe, and we know you are the Holy One of God.” – John 6:68-69
For these twelve apostles, Jesus was enough. They were satisfied that he truly was the bread of life and they were determined to follow Him in pursuit of the answers instead of walking away when they didn’t fully understand. Jesus was enough. Or at least he was for eleven of them. It was at this point that Jesus identified the dissatisfaction of Judas, the Iscariot.
And what about us? Will we be satisfied with all Jesus has to offer us or will we turn away and desert Jesus?