Prepared by John E. Marshall
John 6:22-24 (Holman) The next day, the crowd that had stayed on the other side of the sea knew there had been only one boat. They also knew that Jesus had not boarded the boat with His disciples, but that His disciples had gone off alone. Some boats from Tiberias came near the place where they ate the bread after the Lord gave thanks. When the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor His disciples were there, they got into the boats and went to Capernaum looking for Jesus.
Even on the day after Jesus fed 5000, the crowd was still clamoring for Him. They had expected Jesus to return. When He did not do so, they wasted no time and spared no trouble crossing the sea to find Him.
On the surface, this crowd=s seeking for Jesus looks commendable. A closer look reveals serious flaws in their attitude. They complimented Christ and followed Him zealously, but were as lost as the men who later sought to kill Jesus.
People who continually seek after Jesus, but never commit, are disobedient to God. If they were yielded to Him, they would stop seeking and start trusting.
There is certainly some good in seeking. Seeking can help, but is not the ultimate issue. These falsely motivated fanatics were successful in finding Jesus. For whatever reason people seek Jesus, He will be found. The issue is not finding Him, but rather deciding what to do with Him once we find Him.
Continuous, repeated seeking is dangerous. I would not discourage anyone from seeking Jesus for a season, but I would encourage them to trust Him quickly. Seeking in itself cannot save, but can be a vehicle of one=s destruction. The act of seeking can be a poisonous counterfeit balm to a restless soul.
Trusting, not seeking, saves us. If we will not hide under the blood of Jesus, we will go to hell as quickly from a place of worship as from a tavern. Without commitment, we will perish as certainly with Bible learned as with Bible burned.
Be not deceived. If we are merely seeking, danger lurks before us. We may have offered excuse after excuse for not trusting, but need to see destruction before us and trust Jesus. Endless seeking is a game too dangerous to play. Decide to trust Jesus.
John 6: 25-27 When they found Him on the other side of the sea, they said to Him, ARabbi, when did You get here?@ Jesus answered, AI assure you: You are looking for Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate the loaves and were filled. Don=t work for the food that perishes but for the food that lasts for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal of approval on Him.@
This crowd seemed devoid of spirituality. They saw the feeding of 5000 as not a sign of His Divinity, but as evidence He had magical powers.
Had they come on the basis of seeing in the feeding of the 5000 a spiritual miracle, this would have at least indicated some measure of faith. Faith dependent on miracles is not the highest kind of belief, but better than no faith at all.
Instead of seeing a sign from God, they saw only bread. Completely materialistic, they did not want a higher spiritual life, just a better physical life. They were completely bound to things of this world.
Jesus, knowing their motives, immediately rebuked them. ADon=t work for the food that perishes@ did not mean people should never labor for daily food (see II Thessalonians 3:10-12). Jesus merely meant we must not make things of this world our chief care and concern.
Jesus rebuked giving excessive attention to the body to the neglect of the spirit. This is a message desperately needed today. What Chrysostom said centuries ago is still true today. AMen are nailed to the things of this life.@
If two visitors came to our city, and one offered wealth while the other offered simplicity and peace of heart, which would most people follow? We might piously say the latter, but people=s lives actually say the former.
Let=s examine ourselves. Is our attitude about material possessions in check? Let=s recall what the Bible says about our use of money.
One, money is to be used for God=s glory. AHonor the Lord with your possessions and with the first produce of your entire harvest@ (Proverbs 3:9). The first 10% belongs to God; the other 90% does, too. Every penny should be used in a way pleasing to God. The saved must please God more than self.
Two, money is to be used for family. AIf anyone does not provide for his own relatives, and especially for his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever@ (I Timothy 5:8). Jesus= love pervades a bread winner when he or she is the last family member to enjoy benefits of their own labor.
Three, money is to be used to help the poor. AThe thief must no longer steal. Instead, he must do honest work with his own hands, so that he has something to share with anyone in need@ (Ephesians 4:28). The Bible does not place a high priority on caring for one=s own self materially before others more needy are helped.
Four, money is not to be loved. Our quest for money can easily become a dangerous distraction. AThe love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and by craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains@ (I Timothy 6:10). We are not to labor exclusively or excessively to satisfy our physical wants. We overdo it when material pursuits keep us from spiritual and family duties.
Five, money never satisfies. It only increases our appetite. AThe one who loves money is never satisfied with money, and whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with income@ (Ecclesiastes 5:10).
Our own culture gives stark proof of this truth. Some would proudly say our current age of possessions and stuff is evidence of successful affluence. It would probably be more accurate to say our accumulation of things rather gives evidence of appalling inner hunger. People are searching everywhere for a new thrill and a new exciting slice of life. The recent resurgence of the arts in our society is viewed by many as an effort by people who Ahave it all@ to find the meaning they are failing to find in stuff.
God puts in everyone hunger for Himself. Even believers sometimes try to fill this spiritual hunger with physical supplies. Don=t work solely for food that perishes. Keep the primary focus on Jesus. He alone satisfies.