God, my Father, this day is Yours. I ask for Your watchfulness over me. Help me to find You through the day.
Read John 6:25-40
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good” (Isa. 55:2).
This dialogue with the crowd moves between themes of bread, work and life, culminating in “I am the bread of life” (35), the first of the seven “I am” sayings which are such a distinctive feature of John’s Gospel. The themes interconnect naturally. In everyday existence, work is necessary to earn the money to buy bread, and bread is necessary for life.
The crowd had pursued Jesus back across the lake. They had experienced the miracle–their bellies were full–but they had not understood the sign or responded in faith. They had been fed miraculously, just as their forebears had in Moses’ time, but then they ask for a miracle like the manna, even though they had already witnessed one! Jesus pointed them away from the temporary to the permanent, from the merely physical to the spiritual (which includes physical transformation–being raised up on the last day!).
This echoes Jesus’ offer of living water to the Samaritan woman in chapter 4. Like her, they want to know what they have to do. What work is required to get this superior bread? They are told that only one thing is necessary. The bread of life is a gift, just as the manna in the wilderness had been a gift. This gift has to be received by faith. Jesus himself is the gift. He is living water and the bread of life. Faith was, and is, the only proper response to his offer of himself. But faith is what this crowd lacks because faith involves being willing to receive, rather than to achieve through our own efforts. Those who come to Jesus in faith come with empty hands. The very question, “What do we have to do?” prevents them–and would prevent us–from hearing Jesus’ answer.
We come before God with empty hands. What are your needs at this time? Ask God to give You what he knows is best for you.
Loving Lord, everyday Your gifts are all around me. I ask for eyes to see those gifts I take for granted. Living with You and for You is what I long for.