Jesus has just fed 5000 people with what seemed like not enough bread to do it. And it ended up being more than enough. Oh, he also taught that crowd from his wisdom. Now they are looking for him again, and he's not where they thought he would be, and he doesn't have for them what they thought he would have for them.
This is a significant metaphor for us. How often do we look in the wrong place for something--and how often do we look for the wrong thing in the wrong place?
We think that if we just have enough money, we'll be happy. Any number of wealthy people throughout history attest to the fact that, as the saying goes, "money doesn't buy happiness". Or we look for the person we've already manufactured in our mind is the "one"--that checks all of the boxes we've determined are the boxes we want--and discover, hopefully not too late into the relationship, that that's not necessarily how these things work out--that maybe we were concerned about the wrong boxes. And the divorce rate confirms this "looking for love in all the wrong places".
This applies in all sorts of areas of life. And Jesus has a metaphorical response for it here in John 6, verse 27: "Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you".
If we've spent any time in church, or studying the Bible, or even listening to sermons (hopefully), we know this. We've heard this. This is not really news--and after all, even if we haven't been in church, we all know the two sayings above, "money doesn't buy happiness" and "looking for love in all the wrong places". And yet it seems it takes a lot of missteps to walk this life in the right path, as we all too often make these kinds of ill-advised choices again and again.
We may look for the answers to repeat what has satisfied us, like this crowd did. But we may find that what has satisfied us is not what we thought it was. The money doesn't bring the happiness. The idea of who will bring love doesn't bring love. The bringer of the "food that endures" is he HIMSELF the "food that endures".
GOSPEL John 6:24-35
24 So when the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum looking for Jesus.
25 When they found him on the other side of the lake, they said to him, ‘Rabbi, when did you come here?’ 26 Jesus answered them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. "do not not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal.’ 28 Then they said to him, ‘What must we do to perform the works of God?’29 Jesus answered them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.’ 30 So they said to him, ‘What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you? What work are you performing? 31 Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, “He gave them bread from heaven to eat.” ’ 32 Then Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave 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 that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.’ 34 They said to him, ‘Sir, give us this bread always.’
35 Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.