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by Mary Alice McGinnis
What questions do you find yourself consistently asking God? In today’s reading, there was a crowd. They were part of the crowd of 5,000 whom Jesus had miraculously fed, with an abundance of food leftover. These people were looking to make Jesus their political leader, their "Bread King." They saw him as the one who would solve all their earthly problems. Jesus’ disciples had left and crossed the lake (during a storm) and Jesus walked across the water, climbed into their boat, and miraculously brought them immediately to the other side. When the “crowd” who were looking for Jesus could not find him, they went to the other side of the lake to search. This is where today’s story begins.
When they find him, they ask Jesus a series of questions.
Pondering on these three questions, take time to reflect on why you might be asking God certain questions?
“Rabbi, when did you get here?” Instead of answering their question about when and HOW He got to the other side of the lake, Jesus points them to the reason WHY they are there. They were not interested in following Him, knowing Him, or learning from Him. They were seeking Him only to have their needs met. They wanted Him simply to perpetually fulfill their hunger. They wanted Him to follow their agenda. Consider, what questions you have for God that are going unanswered? Examine the WHY behind those questions. What is it that you are really looking for? What might God want to give you from His abundance that is even better? Jesus responds: “Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.”
“What must we do to do the works God requires?” Seems logical, doesn’t it? If I do this, God will do that. I just need the magic formula, the perfect set of instructions, the exact habits to get what it is I am seeking. Jesus’ response is: “The work of God is this: to believe in the One He has sent.” The profoundness of the Good News is centered in this message. What must I do to gain God’s favor? Believe in the One God sent, His one and only Son, to die in our place.
But instead of hearing and welcoming this Good News, the crowd responds with their third question: “What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? Didn’t they just witness His miracles? Why are they asking for more? This kind of sounds like some of my prayers, “God, if you really love me, you will . . .” They were so fixated on their own agenda, their own physical need, their own short-sighted desires, they missed the glorious gift of the One who was right there speaking to them. They respond to Him with the title of “Sir.” “Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.” They did not respond to Him as LORD, Messiah, or Savior. How often am I looking for God to serve me and my desires, rather than seeking a relationship of trust with Him?
Listen to this worship song and bring your heart to the One who gave His life for you.
Lord Jesus, I thank you that I can always bring my honest questions to you. Help me be open to seeing the TRUE, lasting, eternal gifts You have to give me instead of always focusing on my limited ways of thinking. Help me to bow at Your feet, see you as my LORD, “The bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”