Scripture: John 6:22-24
The next day the crowd that had stayed on the other side of the sea saw that there had been only one boat there. They also saw that Jesus had not got into the boat with his disciples, but that his disciples had gone away alone. Then some boats from Tiberias came near the place where they had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks. 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.
Today, we are embarking on what will be another multi-post reflection on a lengthy interaction between Jesus and a crowd of people. And this isn’t just any crowd, but some, or all, of the 5,000 who Jesus fed with the five loaves and two fish. That image of food and hunger will be a prominent theme as we work our way through the coming conversation. Jesus will explain to them how he is the Bread from Heaven. I actually see a lot of similarities between this story and that of the Samaritan woman at the well in that Jesus uses a very physical, life-sustaining object (i.e. water and bread) to illustrate who he is and the work that he does. Jesus will, again, transform a bodily necessity like food into a spiritual sign of his divinity.
And already in these introductory verses, the theme of hunger stands out prominently. Just imagine this massive crowd of people. They’ve just experienced this Jesus miraculously provide enough food for 5,000 people. They’ve caught a glimpse of a life where food is never scarce and all have enough. They’ve gone to bed full. But, now, they’ve awoken hungry. So, they begin to look around. The crowd searches for Jesus and his disciples because they are, again, in need of something to fill there stomachs. The people are hungry. They are hungry for bread, but even more so, they are hungry for another miracle. They long to have Jesus satisfy their every want and need again. The crowd wants to benefit from another sign. Patiently waiting for Jesus to return isn’t an option. They want him right now. So, they hop in some boats, and start looking for him.
This scene makes me wonder how often we are like this crowd. We experience Jesus in some powerful way. He graciously provides for us without us asking or even expecting it. But somehow in that gift, we miss the point. Instead of being gracious and thankful, we get a little greedy. And all of a sudden, we start seeing God as a wish granter instead of our creator, sustainer, and savior. Now, I will say that I do kind of admire the gusto of the crowd. They want more of Jesus, and they’re willing to search high and low for him. Yet, they’ve forgotten that Jesus doesn’t hide from us. He seeks us out and finds us. The enthusiasm of the crowd is great, but the energy is misdirected. Instead of taking that lesson of enough that the miracle taught us and implementing it in their daily lives, they do the very opposite. They demand more. The temptation to demand more is always there. We, too, are a hungry people. The hard part is learning how to be satisfied. The harder part is learning how to share.
Lord of all, help me to be satisfied in you and with you. Amen.
Thought for the Day:
Christ wants to give you more of himself, but he wants you to share when he does.