Why do you seek Jesus? Do you want the many benefits of Christianity? Do you want gifts of healing and prophecy, a good name, all your needs met, good friends, and the guarantee of Heaven? Or do you want to know God on a deep level? Many people say they seek God, but they really seek gods, peace, happiness, and the advantages of spirituality and religion.
Jesus had fed five thousand men plus women and children with two fishes and five loaves of bread. He had multiplied those resources so that after everyone was filled to the brim, He collected twelve baskets of leftovers. The followers that shared that meal with Him recognized that He was from God.
The next day they looked for Jesus but He wasn’t there, neither were His twelve trusted men. They had seen the twelve leave without Jesus. But He was nowhere to be found. So they got into boats and went to Capernaum to find Him. Verses 25-27 read,
“When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” 26 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. 27 Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.”
He told them the truth about their motivations, “Y’all aren’t here ‘cause you believe I’m the Messiah or even because you realize I’m sent by the Father. Y’all are here ‘cause you ate bread ‘til you needed your Thanksgiving tunics.’ But then Jesus added, ‘Don’t go after earthly stuff like provisions, bread and the rest of this temporary stuff, pursue the stuff that lasts forever, pursue only what I can give you. Only I have been given the authority and power to carry out my Father’s will.”
But they didn’t understand, they heard Jesus offering them more bread, magical bread. And they wanted it, so they asked what they had to do. Verse 29 reads,
“Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”
Okay! It is that easy! Just believe. Cool! They had plenty of reason to believe. They had heard Jesus speak so profoundly that He shook the core of Judaism, they had seen Jesus heal the sick, and they themselves had just eaten bread multiplied miraculously. So did they say, “Thank you, you are the Christ, we believe?” Nope, they said, “Show us a sign, make us believe.” They wanted more of the good stuff. They wanted miracles, not salvation. They wanted bread, healing, and a new government, not Jesus Christ. They even suggested a miracle, they said, “Our ancestors ate manna, God gave them bread from Heaven.”
Verses 32-33 read,
“Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
Jesus was telling them, it isn’t miracles or magic bread that they needed, it was Him, it was God they should be seeking. God provided manna to sustain the lives of the Israelites, God provided His Son to give true and eternal life. Jesus, the Word of God, the will of God manifested, the Son of God, the exact image of God is all we need seek. Everything else will fall into place. But these people didn’t really want the will of God, they wanted magic bread and earthly provision. They answered Jesus by asking for the bread He described.
Jesus knew it was time to get a little harder. He knew it was time to make them face the truth of their intentions so He gave them some difficult words. Verses 35-40 read,
“Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
Well, the Jews didn’t like that Jesus claimed to come from Heaven and He was promising to raise people from the dead but Jesus got even tougher. He continued in verses 53-58.
“So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.54 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. 56 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate, and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.”
A lot of the people who had been following Jesus, watching the spectacle, and enjoying the miracles were really freaked out by that teaching. Was He telling them they had to eat his flesh and drink His blood? Most of them said, ‘no thanks’ at that point. Jesus was saying some heavy stuff. He continued to reveal their true reasons and rationales to them, He gave them a ‘what if’ scenario that was actually prophecy about what would be. He said, “Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?” (Verse 62). “What if you saw me rise up and go back to Heaven? Would you believe me then?” We know reading after the fact that He did indeed ascend to Heaven and even that wasn’t good enough for some people to believe.
It is the Spirit that allows people to understand and believe, it is the Father who permits people to believe, and it is Jesus who carried out the will of the Father to make it possible. Jesus put it this way in verses 63 and 65,
“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life… “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”
The words Jesus spoke were not just words, His words and actions were God’s Spirit and God’s will.
Jesus had weeded out the true followers, those who wanted to know God more deeply from those who wanted the good stuff that came with knowing God. Many left. So Jesus turned to the twelve and offered them the chance to leave too. But Peter answered in verses 68-69.
“Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, 69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”
Verses 70-71 read,
“Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the Twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.”71 He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the Twelve, was going to betray him.”
Jesus chose you as well. He gave you the chance to seek God. He gave you the chance to enjoy God completely on a profound level that the lost can’t perceive. But it is up to you to believe. The Father granted you the faith and the choice. The Spirit grants you the revelation. The Son grants you the way. You can either believe and seek God with your whole heart or you can keep waiting for God to prove Himself to you and seek His blessings instead of Him.