January 21

Questions with Strange Answers: John 6:22-27

John 6:22-27 On the following day, when the people who were standing on the other side of the sea saw that there was no other boat there, except that one which His disciples had entered, and that Jesus had not entered the boat with His disciples, but His disciples had gone away alone… they also got into boats and came to Capernaum, seeking Jesus. And when they found Him on the other side of the sea, they said to Him, “Rabbi, when did You come here?”

Jesus answered them and said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.”

In John 6, Jesus fed the five thousand near the Sea of Galilee. Afterwards, his disciples entered a boat—which many noticed—and crossed over the Sea toward Capernaum. They encountered a storm, but in the meantime, Jesus had started to walk across the Sea. At first they feared what they were seeing, but when Jesus identified Himself, “they willingly received Him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land where they were going” (v. 21).

Some others that had been fed crossed over the Sea after the disciples. They saw Jesus at Capernaum after they arrived and were justifiably confused. Think of what they could have asked Him, had there been any kind of faith in their hearts: “How did You get here?” or “Did You perform a miracle to get here?” But no, they asked a question that only reflected their fleshly thinking: “When did you come here?” That’s a question one asks when they are locked in a certain pattern of thinking and are trying to bring a confusing experience into their previous perspectives. To them, perhaps it was a matter of simple timing that they were missing. It doesn’t seem to have appeared to them that something (or Someone) great was in their midst, and they were actually in the middle of a miracle.

Jesus doesn’t even bother to answer their question, but goes straight to the heart, working to move them from earthly concerns (i.e., You gave us bread, so let’s see what other things you can provide for us…) to using those very concerns to stir their hearts to eternal things, in this case, that the Bread of Life was standing right there in front of them! They needed to be amazed, not answered according to their folly.

This is what God would love to do with us on a regular basis, if only we have ears to hear and hearts to ask. Much of our thinking (and therefore, our ability to receive from God) is limited by the mental boxes into which we often feel we must put all our experiences. God is gracious enough to meet us where we are when we don’t know Him, in ways that we can understand. But He is God, and never, ever stays put. He is always drawing us to new perspectives, to see things spiritually more than naturally, and to understand that Jesus is the Alpha and Omega, and is really what we need in any and all situations.

Prayer: Father, I confess that much of my thinking is like these people that were just curious about something they didn’t understand. Help me to hear what You are replying when I ask foolish questions like this. Thank You for continual mercy and grace, and help me to see with the eyes of the Spirit instead of my own.

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