A morning devotional
Most of John 6 relates to the theme of the spiritual food that Jesus has provided. After feeding the five thousand, Jesus first withdraws, then walks on water to join his disciples on their way across the Sea of Galilee. Soon the crowds follow them all to Capernaum.
After searching around, the crowd who ate the loaves and fish find Jesus. They are seeking more earthly food, like Jesus gave them before. But Jesus wants to give them eternal food. Like he offered the Samaritan woman at the well, Jesus has a better water to give them than earthly water. He has a better food than earthly food. They should work to get this food. How do you work for this food? You do not work in the normal sense for it, like you would at a job to get wages. You work for this food by believing that Jesus is the Christ.
The question of whether we get right with God by faith or by works is a question that has surfaced and resurfaced throughout Christian history. On the one hand, it is always questionable to read one person's thoughts into another person's words. For example, even if you do not know about Martin Luther, there’s a good chance his arguments with the Roman Catholic Church over faith and works has influenced what you think about the topic, if you have any prior conception about the subject at all. But Jesus in John is saying something much more basic--eternal life is not something you have to work hard to get. All you need is to put your trust in Christ.
The crowds in John are not seeking Jesus for the right reasons. They are looking to get their fill of earthly food. Jesus has a much more significant food to give and they are completely blind to it. How many of us do religious things for superficial reasons? How many people go to church to keep up appearances? Some may go for the business contacts. Still others try to keep up the appearance of looking like a good person so that others will praise them or to help them succeed at getting the things they really want. God wants us to look beyond the surface to the things that truly last, to trust in the permanent rather than the temporary.
Jesus, drive us to look for nourishment that is deeper and more lasting than anything we can see with our eyes, spiritual nourishment that truly fills.
“Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33