January 22

He Doesn’t Have the Answer; He is the Answer

John 6:24-35 [The day after Jesus fed the 5,000, those who were fed] got into boats and came to Capernaum, seeking Jesus…. Jesus… 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….”

Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” Therefore they said to Him, “What sign will You perform then, that we may see it and believe You? What work will You do? Our fathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”

Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” Then they said to Him, “Lord, give us this bread always.”

And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.”

Read these words carefully. Jesus has miraculously fed the 5,000, many of whom sought Him the next day in Capernaum. Believing that He might be the Messiah, they enjoyed his extraordinary feat with the bread, and hoped that if He indeed were the Messiah, He might go one better than Moses did, whom they credited with providing a bread-like substance for their ancestors.

When they ask what they can do to gain the food that lasts forever, Jesus tells them to believe (an answer worthy of meditation for us all). Then instead of trusting and believing in Him, they ask for yet another miracle. Perhaps they thought that a miracle greater than their feeding would do the trick for them. Jesus corrected them in reminding them that it was God who provided the manna, not Moses, and added that God was indeed going one better than Moses in bringing them the Living Bread of Life Himself. Jesus was quite clear that He was the “bread of God…who comes down from heaven.” Yet, astoundingly, they asked Him to give them this bread, while He was standing right in front of them!

Graciously, patiently, He answered, “I am the bread of life.” Yet this became another moment of rejection instead of faith. Perhaps some couldn’t make the connection He was trying to make between the earthly provision of the day before and the eternal, spiritual provision He Himself was presenting to them. The Scriptures make clear that others were stumbled by their offended intellects that couldn’t or wouldn’t make the necessary adjustments to rethink what they knew about God and the coming Messiah (John 6:52, 60, and 66).

The lessons? Too many to expand upon here. But one is how easy it is to not see that He Himself is not just the Source of our Provision, but He Himself is what we are looking for. He is our Provision. He is our Portion.

That may fly in the face of our intellect, as it did for many of those in Jesus’s time. But if we’re open, it can fly into the center of our hearts.

Prayer: Father, forgive me for the times when You are offering Yourself and I am looking for something else. Give me ears to hear You and eyes to see You in those moments. You’re my sole Provision in the next life; help me to see You like that in this one.

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