What are You Working For?
A daily devotion for January 17th
22 The next day the crowd that had stayed on the opposite shore of the lake realized 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 realized that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into the boats and went to Capernaum in search of Jesus.
Jesus the Bread of Life
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.”
30 So they asked him, “What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? 31 Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”
32 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
34 “Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.”
35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. 37 All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. 38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”
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.(John 6:27)
It is very clear from this passage that these people greatly misunderstood who our Lord was, what he was doing, and what he said to them. No other passage of Scripture more clearly reveals the confusion in the average person's mind about Jesus.
Notice what Jesus must correct about their confusion: First, he says to them,
Do not work for the food that perishes. He is not, of course, saying,
Do not work for a living. Jesus is not advocating that. What he means is,
Do not work merely to get food. Food is important. It is necessary for life, and you have to earn it. But do not let that be the sole reason for your working. Rather,
Work for the food which endures to eternal life.
These people, like many today, clearly felt that the most important thing in life is to keep alive, to be healthy, strong and economically sufficient. That was what life was all about, they thought. Clearly the majority of people all over the world today have this view that this is why people work.
Jesus asks us the question,
What are you working for? Are you working merely to make a living, to have a nice home, to be comfortable? If so, our Lord is saying that when you get all this you will find yourself wondering, Is This All There Is? That is true of all humanity. The thing that makes human beings different from the animals is that having a full belly and a comfortable place to rest does not satisfy us.
To this hunger, Jesus said to them,
I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst. (John 6:35). Jesus recognizes the universal hunger for bread beyond physical bread. You cannot go anywhere on earth today without finding people hungry for something more than a full belly and a comfortable home. There is a restlessness about us that cries for more. Jesus recognized this. Everyone in this crowd wanted whatever it was he was offering. They did not understand what it was, but they wanted it. They sensed there was more to life than bread.
Jesus tells the crowd plainly how to eat and partake of the bread of life. He uses two simple things everyone understands: hunger and thirst. What do you do when you are hungry? You eat, and if you keep on eating regularly you will never hunger. What do you do when you are thirsty? You drink, and if you keep on drinking you will never thirst. What Jesus is saying is that eating him is coming to him, or coming to him is to eat of him.
Coming means to see him as present in your life and expecting him to do something.
Eating means a sense of expectancy that he is available and that he will act.
Drinking is believing, listening to what he has to say and obeying it. If you keep on doing that you will never thirst. How simple, how beautiful this is!
Come and believe. Keep on coming. Keep on believing. This is the way to lay hold of the gift of bread from heaven, life that is real life indeed.
Thank you, Father, for the bread that came down from heaven, that bread of life which is available to me, Lord, which you have offered to give me and do give me as I believe in you.
Life Application: Is there more to life than a roof over our heads and food on the table? What is the bread of life that Jesus wants us to have?
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