Summary: Seeing is not always believing. The Jews who witnessed Jesus' miracle of feeding the 5,000 did not understand the truth about Jesus-that He was the manna from heaven in the flesh.
"Believing “Out of Yourself” and Into Christ:" John 6:22-34
John 6 contains 71 verses and includes 2 days in the ministry of Jesus. After Jesus fed the 5,000, He sent His disciples out ahead of Him while He spent time alone with His Father. Last week we had the privilege of witnessing a miracle which Jesus had only shown His disciples, that of Jesus’ walking on water. We saw that this miracle was a declaration that Jesus is “Lord of Creation” because He transcends the limits of gravity and space. He alone is worthy of the adoration and worship of our hearts and lives, creatures made in His image for His glory.
We pick up in John 6:22 (NASV): “The next day the crowd that stood on the other side of the sea saw that there was no other small boat there, except one, and that Jesus had not entered with His disciples into the boat, but that His disciples had gone away alone. (that is, the disciples left without Jesus-the crowd is watching Jesus closely!) 23 There came other small boats from Tiberias near to the place where they ate the bread after the Lord had given thanks. (AFTER Jesus had given thanks, the bread was multiplied…John was paying close attention to the details, too.) 24 So when the crowd saw that Jesus was not there, nor His disciples, they themselves got into the small boats, and came to Capernaum seeking Jesus.
25 When they found Him on the other side of the sea, they said to Him, "Rabbi, when did You get here?" (Or HOW did you get here? The crowds who travelled by foot didn’t catch up with Jesus on the land, and knew He didn’t get into the boat and the sea travelers didn’t see Jesus by boat, so the natural question would have been: How did you get here?
We aren’t certain of the exact location of the feeding of the 5,000, but according to the text, news had traveled to the seaport of Tiberias overnight, and a fleet of boats followed Jesus in search of food after they had heard the story from the multitudes who had been fully fed by Jesus with so little. So the crowd no doubt had grown overnight with the news that Jesus had now gone to Capernaum.
Look at Jesus' response in verse 26: Jesus answered them and said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. 27 "Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal." 28 Therefore they said to Him, "What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?" 29 Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent."
We find a reason NOT to seek Jesus in verse 26: The crowds were seeking Jesus only because they sought miracles and signs. To them the signs were entertaining and physically stimulating. Today many people still seek to be entertained by Jesus, but they do not truly believe in Him.
They think that if they if God would only reveal more, then they would see and believe.
They also think that if they could DO more, then God would give them forgiveness, or at least a better “feeling” about themselves, but eternal Life is not earned; it is received by faith. (That’s why Jesus warned: “Do not work for food…that spoils.”) Eternal life is not achieved but it is received as a gracious gift from the benevolent, merciful, gracious God who reveals His salvation plan in the flesh, in Jesus the Son. That is the “Best News” that a lost world could ever hear and accept!
It is this JESUS who sustains and upholds the entire universe. Colossians 1:15-17 says: “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” (John 1 and Hebrews 1 are fabulous descriptions of the True Jesus as well.) It is this Jesus who saves from sin and grants new life in His Name.
The “Works” that God requires are the “works” which only God can perform! You can’t save yourself, but God provides the works you need IN CHRIST. He lived the perfect life that would be required to entire the Kingdom of God, and He died a vicarious death, a substitutionary death for anyone and everyone who truly BELIEVES.