Right action . . . wrong motive. Right pursuit . . . but focused on the wrong prize. Very commendable effort . . . but too common an expectation. John says they were “seeking Jesus” . . . so they got in their boats and crossed over the sea and went to Capernaum (John 6:24). Right action . . . right pursuit . . . commendable effort. Good on them for seeking Jesus. But when they found Him, Jesus kind of asks the tough question, Why are you seeking Me?
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 labor 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.” (John 6:26-27 ESV)
They sought Jesus because they had been there when He fed the 5,000 with just a few loaves and fish. But they sought Him not because they desired the One who had performed such a great miracle . . . instead they wanted more of the miracle. It was less about seeking Jesus because He just might be the Messiah, and more about seeking Jesus because they just might get to feed their fleshly wants. Though God the Father had set His seal on Jesus as the promised One through the wondrous sign of taking essentially nothing and providing food enough to feed all who are hungry, their primary focus remained on “food that perishes” rather than on the Son of Man.
And so, Jesus seeks to elevate their gaze. To turn their eyes from their stomachs and to the things of eternity.
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.” (John 6:28-29 ESV)
Seek not just the benefit . . . but believe in the Benefactor. When it’s just about the bread, then Jesus becomes, in a sense, our genie . . . us thinking that our wishes become His command. But when it’s about believing in the Giver-of-Bread, then Jesus becomes our Lord . . . His commands becoming our desires.
So do not labor for food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life.
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.” (John 6:36 ESV)
Jesus offers so much more than food for the stomach. And so much more than any blessing we would desire in this life. Whoever comes to Him . . . and not only to the blessings they might get through Him . . . there is a satisfaction of soul that is beyond imagination . . . beyond explanation . . . that is, quite literally, out of this world!
Oh, that having tasted of His goodness we might seek Jesus for no other reason than that He is good. That having believed He is the Son of God, we might pursue all that it means to follow the Son of God.
Seeking Jesus. Not for some food that perishes, but for food that endures to eternal life. Not relying on our strength . . . but drawing on His abundant grace. Not just for our benefit . . . but for His glory.