So when the crowd saw that Jesus was not there, nor his disciples, they themselves got 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 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.” 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?” – John 6:24-30
Is it not interesting when we do something that appears to be in good taste but we have an ulterior motive for doing it? We think that our motive is a secret. However, someone confronts us and exposes our selfish intention.
In such situations, we are left dumbfounded and somewhat ashamed. We are ashamed because our evil intent is brought out into the open.
This happens to the people in the gospel text before us. The people who followed Jesus after the feeding of the 5,000 were exposed in such a manner.
Having crossed over the lake, the people approached Jesus when they found him on the other side and questioned how he got there. But Jesus knew their intentions.
They were not following him because of the miracle but because they figured that they could capitalize on the food he provided. Consequently, Jesus responded, “I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill.”
Daily, we work for our bread, which God has ordained. However, Jesus would not have us work as if we could ever accumulate enough bread or make enough money or achieve enough power to satisfy the deep needs of the soul.
No, they do not because they do not give us eternal life. The things of this world are transient, temporary. Therefore, he says, “Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.”
We should be more concerned with the food which is everlasting rather than that which is earthly and easily spoiled. He is saying that we should not let the things of this world consume us. Unfortunately, we are often so wrapped up in material things, that we forget about the things of God.
We often neglect our Christian faith and fall short in our Christian responsibility. In our search for the things of this world, we gradually abandon the things of God.
Our church attendance becomes sporadic and eventually we neglect to support the church. The world becomes our god.
Regrettably, when difficulties overtake us and our backs are against the wall, the world will not and cannot help us. During times of our own illness and that of our family members, the world cannot help us.
The same God we neglect is the only one who comes to our rescue. He is the only one who can help. Therefore, we should first search out the things of God rather than trying to conquer the world. The things of this world will not make it beyond the grave.
In the people’s search, they were focused on the food Jesus provided rather than on Jesus, the bread that came down from heaven, “the bread of life”. In our search, we will not find him in material things. Jesus is present in his Word and the lives of his followers. He is in the sacraments, baptism and the sacrament of the altar. Jesus is the living bread. Amen.
• Rev. Samuel M. Boodle, pastor at the Lutheran Church of Nassau, 119 John F. Kennedy Drive, can be reached at P.O. Box N 4794, Nassau, Bahamas; or telephone: 426-9084; E-mail: email@example.com; website: www.nassaulutheranchurch.org.