Latimer Congregational Church


Day20 - John 6:22-40

By Iain Clements, 08 Feb 2017

If you want to be popular, you need to give people what they want. In John 6 Jesus is at the height of his popularity. As we listen to what he says to the crowds who come searching for him, we see that he doesn’t just say what they are happy to hear. As a result, by the end of chapter 6 people start drifting away from him.

This is not surprising, because as soon as the crowds find Jesus again he exposes their motives (verses 26-30). They are not coming after Jesus because they recognise he is the Son of God, but only because they want more bread. They even ask for another sign (which is astonishing considering all they have already seen). But this isn’t because they are genuinely unsure of Jesus’ identity - it is probably because they want more food. They want what Jesus can do for them - they don’t want Jesus himself. It is this attitude that Jesus warns them about in verse 27.

Jesus refuses to perform another sign, instead he explains the sign he has already given. Why did Jesus give them bread on the mountain? To show them who he is. Bread that satisfies our physical hunger is only a picture of the spiritual staple diet that God has provided to deal with our deepest need. Jesus himself is that bread - only he can bring us to the Father. Only he can satisfy what we really need as human beings created in the image of God to glorify him. And he truly satisfies - if we go to him, he will give us eternal life, and will raise us up at the last day. This is why Jesus has come into the world - not just to provide for our physical needs. He’s come to do his Father’s will, of saving a people his Father will give him.

There is a challenge in Jesus’ words to the crowds, and to us. What do we most want? Do we simply want our physical needs met? Are we only concerned with food, money, career, relationships, family? Or do we recognise our deepest need - for God himself? Are we able to look beyond what God gives, to God himself in Jesus Christ?

It may seem like Jesus’ mission was a bit of a failure. Many of the crowds even then began to walk away from Jesus. Yet, it is a guaranteed success. Why? Because all that the Father gives Jesus will come. That shouldn’t make us complacent - we are responsible for how we respond to Jesus’ offer. But if we come to Jesus that is a great comfort. We are safe with him, because ultimately the Father has given us to the Son.