25 When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, ‚ÄúRabbi, when did you come here?‚Äù 26 Jesus answered them, ‚ÄúTruly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. 27 Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.‚Äù
John 6.25-27 ESV
Jesus doesn‚Äôt waste any time at all w/ small talk. He calls them flat out on why they are there. I think Jesus is so blunt sometimes that we just can‚Äôt even comprehend what it would be like to be so blunt. There is no discussion of the weather, no complimenting clothing, just BAM! Maybe that‚Äôs just how they wrote it, or maybe that‚Äôs how their culture was in that day‚Ä¶no tellin‚Äô.
Jesus confronts them directly but doesn‚Äôt send them away. I could just hear someone say ‚Äúyou are seeking me because you ate your fill of the loaves, now go away‚Äù but He doesn‚Äôt do that. He recognizes our weakness but still gives us a prescription to get strength. He doesn‚Äôt just write us off. The people didn‚Äôt plan ahead and were out in the wilderness with nothing to eat. It was their fault, but he didn‚Äôt condemn them, he fed them. Now they are chasing after him for more food (it‚Äôs a new day so they need a new supply of manna) and He exposes the truth in them but keeps them nearby to learn what to do about that truth.
The Father dos not become disgusted w/ our shortcomings. He does not reject us for our immaturity. The masses were there our of immaturity, but the disciples were there out of maturity. But even that maturity they had was a gift from The Father.
Every one of those people that were fed and ‚Äòate like pigs‚Äô was now hungry. They all know what bread that perishes is all about, because the miracle that happened 18 hours earlier had vanished. The leftovers might even be gone by now. That opens the perfect opportunity for Jesus to explain bread that perishes and bread that lasts.
They have worked hard to get to Him today. They had to go around the lake or call over some boats and track him down. Surely they would be worn from the trip, and ready for some more food. Jesus tells them not to sweat and work so hard for barley bread and sardines. It‚Äôs not worth it. You should work for the eternal life food.
(according to Google Earth, if he was in Bethsaida, or on the coast near there, it would be about 4 miles to Capernaum across the water. That route will be important in a few days)
How often does the Father take the opportunity that shows up in our normal life and desires to teach us something about Himself? I think about fasting and how hungry you can be for food, and to realize that you don‚Äôt even live off of food, but off of God. Or the yearning of a man for his wife in the days leading up to their wedding, how small a yearning that is compared to God and His Bride! Or the yearning for justice that we have when we see or experience the darkness of oppression, either by people or powers, and the deepening trust that we have that at the end of time God will put all things right.