Text: John 6:1-71, Acts 3:22-23, Psalm 29:10-11
The day after Jesus miraculously multiplied loaves and fish, the crowd He fed went looking for Him. They loaded into boats and stalked Jesus across the Sea of Galilee. When they found Him, Jesus knew the real reason they had come: “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” (John 6:26-27).
The crowds didn’t yet understand the meaning of the Bread Jesus spoke of, so they took Him literally and hoped He would perform the miracle again. They begged, “Sir, give us this bread always!” (v. 34).
It sounds demanding, right? A little superficial? How could these people stand before the Son of God who offered them eternal life and demand more barley loaves instead?
It sounds ridiculous, but it also sounds familiar. I’ve done this before with my prayers and requests. I have often begged for bread (and when I am asking Him for bread, it’s the lower-case bread). I am asking for what I want instead of Jesus Himself. Because, admittedly, what I want is often not Jesus.
Our conversations might go something like this:
Me: I want a new job! I hate this one!
Jesus: Here is contentment. It will put your soul at rest. This is what you need. Not a new job.
Me: I want a husband now because everyone else I know is getting married!
Jesus: Here is trust. Trust in me and our relationship will deepen.
Me: I don’t know what to do. Give me a sign!
Jesus: Here I am. My Spirit lives inside of you, guiding you all the time.
I need the same explanation the crowd did that day when Jesus said, “I am the bread of life.”
The Bread of Life is so much more than the bread I ask for. It endures (v. 27). It gives life to the whole world (v. 33). It is given freely to those who believe (v. 29). Those who eat it will abide in Christ, and Christ will abide in them (v. 56).
The true miracle of the Bread of Life is that Jesus is all we need. All that other stuff we are hoping will fill our bellies up? It is nothing compared to Christ Himself.
After a bit of refining and a lot of grace, my hope is that we will look up one day and realize that our prayers for perishable things can be simplified into one prayer. May we grow to want only one thing and passionately learn to pray, “Give us Jesus, always!”