Summary: Usually when someone says this it's not met with much resistance from me. But when it comes to the bread of Jesus there are plenty of people who say, 'no thanks'.
INTRODUCTION: Usually when someone says this it's not met with much resistance from me. But when it comes to the bread of Jesus there are plenty of people who say, 'no thanks'.
1) Who wants bread? (John 6:25-36)
In John 6, we see the story of when Jesus fed 5,000 plus with five small loaves and two small fish. They all ate and had their fill and when the disciples went around picking up the scraps there was enough for them to take with them. This miracle of provision would set the stage for Jesus declaring that he is the bread of life.
After this miracle, the people started to recognize Jesus as the Prophet that was to come into the world. But their reaction, albeit with good intentions, was not appropriate. They wanted to take him and make him king by force. So, Jesus withdrew from them and went off by himself.
The disciples had gotten into a boat and were headed across the lake to Capernaum. Jesus came to them during the night, walking on the water. The next day, the people who had been with Jesus got into their boats and went over to Capernaum as well. They had deduced that Jesus hadn't been with the disciples when they set sail so they were surprised to see him with them when they got to the opposite side of the lake.
John 6:25-27, "When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?” Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”
Jesus doesn't answer their question he just goes directly after the reason why they were so earnestly looking for him. Jesus had filled their bellies and they had to make sure he didn't get away. Jesus knew they weren't looking for him for the right reasons. Although they recognized him as the Prophet, their idea of what the Prophet was here for was to be like a modern-day Moses, providing manna and water for the people. They weren't looking at Jesus as the Savior, just a meal ticket.
Sometimes we can be like this. We look at Jesus as if he's there just to give me what I want. When we go to the Lord in prayer, do we seek physical things or spiritual things? Not that it's wrong to ask for material things but how often do we pray for wisdom and discernment? How often do we pray to be more loving or compassionate? Or is it usually, "Lord I need this" or "Lord do this for me"?
"Do not work for food that spoils but for food that endures to eternal life". Jesus instructed them to focus on acquiring food that wouldn't spoil-heavenly food. Yes, you need physical food, but your primary focus should be on spiritual food. This goes with what Jesus said about storing up treasures in heaven rather than treasures on earth. Don't put all your effort into that which holds no eternal value.
In Matt. 6:25-33 Jesus taught us to not worry about what we will eat or wear, for the pagans worry and chase after these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and all these things will be given to us. We can get caught up in spending more time, money and energy chasing after material things and not be focused so much on pursuing spiritual things.
Worry causes us to do that. Selfishness can cause us to do that. We want what's tangible and we want what will benefit us right now. But any financial adviser will tell you that it' wise to invest for your future. So we can acknowledge the wisdom of investing in my retirement but not for the kingdom? We're willing to make sacrifices now for the sake of having it later in life but we're not willing to do that for spiritual reasons?
Vs. 28-31, "They asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” So they asked him, “What miraculous sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? Our forefathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”
"What must we do?" They were wondering what they needed to do in order to get this eternal life food Jesus was talking about. Jesus makes it clear that it's not about doing, it's about believing; the work you must do is believe in me. There is nothing we can do to earn God's favor. The only way we can be in right standing with God is to believe and accept what Jesus did for us.