John 6:22-29: The ‘work’ of faith.
“22 The next day the crowd that had stayed on the opposite shore of the lake realised that only one boat had been there, and that Jesus had not entered it with his disciples, but that they had gone away alone. 23 Then some boats from Tiberias landed near the place where the people had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks. 24 Once the crowd realised that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into the boats and went to Capernaum in search of Jesus.25 When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, ‘Rabbi, when did you get here?’26 Jesus answered, ‘Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. 27 Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.’28 Then they asked him, ‘What must we do to do the works God requires?’29 Jesus answered, ‘The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.’”NIV
One commentator said about (25), we know the real question is not ‘when’ but ‘how?’
”You’ve come looking for me not because you saw God in my actions but because I fed you, filled your stomachs – and for free.” The Message.
Jesus meets material needs. This is a truth about Him. He cares about our physical condition. But human nature being what it is, we can seek Him for self-centred reasons. Prosperity teaching ‘prospers’ (to the extent it does), because it appeals to selfish motives. However, if we seek first God’s kingdom and righteousness ”all these things will be given…as well.” Jesus knows what is ”in a man”. (JOHN 2:25). He sees just where we are coming from (26). We can seek His blessing without wanting His rule. If we just go after what Christ can give us materially, but don’t want Him we will miss out on His best.
Verse 27 is all of a piece with chapter 4: 13. We can ‘eat’ at the world’s heavily laden table; we can ‘drink’ from it’s water supply, and yet go away totally unsatisfied. There is a level of consumption that whilst doing something for the body, does not reach the soul, the spirit. We may ‘work’ hard to fill that God-shaped hole, but our labours will get us nowhere. Everything the world system has to offer ‘spoils’, but what Jesus gives ‘endures’. It is a life that is ‘eternal’ (27)
”Don’t waste your energy striving for perishable food like that. Work for the food that sticks with you, food that nourishes your lasting life, food the Son of Man provides.” The Message.
There is one ‘work’ we need and that is to put our trust in Jesus (29). This is a ‘work of God’. When anyone is converted and becomes a disciple; when they really believe in Jesus, that is something God Himself has done. So no Christian can ever boast about it.
Prayer: Thank you Lord Jesus that you fully satisfy.
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