This last week I’ve become engrossed with Jesus in John 6. It started with the words “Give us THIS DAY our daily bread,” and since then I have been captivated by what he is saying about himself as the true bread of heaven in the story of the feeding of the five thousand and the following day’s events as recorded in John 6.
I’ve had conversations with a few people about what I’ve seen of Jesus, and those people have helped me to see new things also. Jesus reveals himself in a very real and unique way in John 6, and it’s up to us to receive him as the bread of life. But it’s fascinating to me to see that the people seem to be after something, or better put, some “thing,” rather than to receive Jesus himself.
The day after he had fed them with the loaves and fish, the crowd find Jesus on the other side of the sea. Jesus immediately says to them that they were seeking him because they ate their fill of the loaves. They ask again for a sign, to see and to believe him; a work for him to perform. They are looking for bread, saying “Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'” They are not satisfied with Jesus himself, but require him to do something. They want their bellies filled!
Jesus doesn’t replicate the events of the day before. That was a sign pointing to who he was, the bread of heaven. The following day, they hadn’t seen the sign. They were still asking for a sign, despite receiving one the day before. And Jesus points everything to himself as the bread of life. He is not going to feed them with bread and fish again, he wants to feed them with himself.
I wonder how often we can be like these people? Do we at times chase after the something rather than the someone? Life in Jesus is all about the person, not the product. The product is of the person, but is not the person himself. Maybe we’ve experienced some wonderful blessings from Jesus, but it’s all too easy to get caught up in those, seeking things, seeking sign’s that Jesus is really who he says he is, and miss the person of Jesus. This Jesus, the bread of heaven, is giving of himself “This day.”
This excerpt from the book Jesus, The Inner Spring is brilliantly put.
“This Bread is a gift, for it is Jesus Himself, the Father’s gift to us. It is ‘granted’ by the Father. Jesus is not imparting some ‘thing’, like manna, which was only supplied daily. Jesus gives Himself. The disciples did not have to strive to bring Jesus alongside the boat. He came. That is exactly what happens when the Bread of Life is given to us. It means that Jesus works in this way. He gives Himself for every situation, all the time, without cessation.”
This is our daily bread, Jesus himself. The Father gives us Jesus himself for every need, all the time. Let’s not be looking for a sign to believe, hankering after works so we can eat our fill, but let’s receive the bread of heaven himself so that we might never be hungry again.
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