Monday, June 23, 2014

More bread?

Jesus answered them and said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate the loaves and were filled. Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life."
- John 6:26-27, NASB

I can't say that Alabama suddenly developed a huge baseball following in the student body. For years I've been going to games, and for years the number of students at the games was just a handful. But this year, for some reason, there was a huge crowd of students in the new stands beyond the right field wall. Wow! Students are baseball fans!

Well, not exactly. I soon figured out from my twitter feed that there was a new policy. Students are now allowed to bring a cooler to the game if they will sit in those outfield stands. So, you guessed it - it was an excuse to gather in a big group, sunbathe, and drink beer. It may have looked like they were there for one thing, but it was really another.

Sunday morning, our teaching pastor Patrick Quinn walked us through John 6, which began with Jesus feeding the 5,000 and ended with him on the other side of the lake teaching about bread. When he got to the other side of the lake, the huge crowds that had been fed the day before had followed him. Obviously wanting more bread. So that's when Jesus said, basically, "I know why you're really here. You want more food."

It may have looked like they were there for one thing, but it was really another.

And Jesus then began to teach them, I can offer you much more than bread. I am the bread of life, and I can give you something that really satisfies. Something that will keep you from being hungry again. Life.

So Patrick posed this question to us: What do you want from Jesus? More bread...or more life?

Like those residents of Galilee, those of us who come to Jesus are coming to receive something. I am afraid that for me, it is too often something other than fellowship with the living God. So what do you want from Jesus?

  • Happiness?
  •  Freedom from suffering in this life?
  • An afterlife free from the fear of hell?
  • To be blessed with material prosperity?
  • The approval of your friends and family that expect you to be religious?
  • To see your loved ones in heaven?
None of these are bad things. In fact, all of them are good. But so is bread. But bread was not the best reason for the throngs to follow Jesus to the other side of the lake. If we are coming to him for any selfish reason, he says we are missing the point. Don't come because I can feed 5,000. Or make you happy. Come because I made you, I am the source of life, and I will make you everything you were created to be.

So the question remains:

More bread (in whatever form)? Or more life?

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