Day after feeding of the masses-large following-want to make him king- miracle makes crowd want more.
Part of me sympathizes with the crowd, people living on the edge: poor, occupied, taxed, frustrated, hungry.
Think of all refugees in the world today, Syria, Central America, Libya- living from moment to moment. Just because we got fed today doesn’t mean we’ll be fed tomorrow. In those circumstances how can you think of the big picture; survival is the goal.
We here in America, Greene County are very less stressed than those folks Jesus is dealing with, yet we too are so often caught up in everyday living, one day at a time- help me not take a drink today, need an A on the exam, how am I going to continue dealing with aging ailing in-laws.
All the time there is a larger context to our lives that we fail to acknowledge or even forget about; when Jesus answered in v. 26 “ I tell you, you are looking for me not because you saw signs but because you ate your fill of the loaves” not angry but disappointed that they couldn’t see beyond immediate needs.
Jesus on his way to serving up his life on a cross to draw all people to himself, to take away the sin of the world, to strike a sword into the heart of evil and death, all people want is more food, another miracle; take care of the latest problem we have. Why couldn’t they expect more, why can’t we expect more from God?
Why do we settle for bread-fulfilling of immediate needs from whatever source- rather than seeking and expecting God’s immortal love for us that sustains us all the time? Could it be that we “work” for the food that perishes rather than the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man gives us, because we are unwilling or unable to name what we truly hunger for and seek? Fear of being disappointed, a need to protect God from failure, and clarity that we are not deserving- God somehow won’t provide our real needs?
Jesus responds to us as he did the crowd, “This is the work of God that you believe in him whom God has sent.’ (v.29) To believe is to trust that Jesus is the instrument of God’s saving embrace of the whole world, that God in Christ is doing something new that human created conditions and circumstances cannot undermine or negate.
Today we are being asked in the middle of our daily needs and concerns also to remember and to see Jesus as a gift from the Father for the life of the whole world. To believe is to submit everything even our highest stake issue, to God’s saving work in Jesus. Jesus is more than just a problem solver, a wish fulfillment expert, he is Lord of the universe.
Jesus is the bread that fulfills our deepest hunger and thirst. Jesus frees us to follow him not to achieve self-satisfaction, not to get anything that is in it for us, not even to attain or maintain peace of mind. Jesus frees us to embrace God’s redeeming will to restore the cosmos to what God created and humanity to what God intends. Such faith does not mean separating the spiritual from the everyday. It means putting God rather than us at the center of both. When we do, we can and will expect more and by God’s grace receive it. Amen.