Yeshua had just fed 5000 people by miraculously multiplying a small portion of food. The people wanted to follow Him and make Him king. We can gain insight by reflecting on the words He spoke to them.
Words to the People
26Jesus answered them and said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. 27“Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.” 28Therefore they said to Him, “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?” 29Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” 30So they said to Him, “What then do You do for a sign, so that we may see, and believe You? What work do You perform? 31“Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘HE GAVE THEM BREAD OUT OF HEAVEN TO EAT.’”32Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven. 33“For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.” 34Then they said to Him, “Lord, always give us this bread.”
35Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst. 36“But I said to you that you have seen Me, and yet do not believe. 37“All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. 38“For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39“This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. 40“For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”
Yeshua first addresses that this crowd is following Him not because they believe Him to be Messiah, but because the food He gave satisfied them and they want more. He warns them not to work for simply food that we consume and then we are hungry again. Instead, devote your lives to pursuit of the bread which satisfies for eternal life… the bread that is Yeshua. Let us recognize that not all who follow Christ actually believe in Him as Messiah. Some come along yet do not believe. This is true still today. Let us be sure we are not complacent in accepting that we “go to church” and hang out Christians and read the Bible, yet have no relationship or true belief in Him as Messiah.
They ask an important question… “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?” Yeshua’s answer is very important… “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” Our first and most important “work” is simply to believe in Yeshua as Messiah, sent from the Father. In this way we receive the bread that lasts into eternity, and satisfies… never leaving us hungry or thirsty. Of course He is referring to spiritual food that we receive in close relationship with Yeshua and the Father. We are to pursue Yeshua as bread that satisfies. There is no other “work” required. What a loving God! However, as we pursue Yeshua genuinely and wholeheartedly, our actions change and our motivations change. Our genuine pursuit of Him is reflected in our behaviors and our thoughts. We change.
I am a bit stunned at first by the dialog where they ask for a sign. Had He not just performed a great sign by the feeding of the 5000? He will address this starting in verse 36. Never the less, Yeshua continues to address them. However, He does not perform a sign just because they asked for one. He had already performed a sign. We can learn from this. Let us not always demand signs from YHWH but rather look to acknowledge the signs and wonders already at work in our lives around us.
Starting in verse 36 Yeshua addresses the fact that some have seen Him and seen Him perform signs, but they still do not believe. They still ask for signs. Not all have been given to Him by the Father, but listen to the beautiful closing of this section of scripture in regards to those whom the Father does give to the Son.
37“All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. 38“For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39“This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. 40“For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”
It is an amazing thought for those of us who desperately want to take some sort of credit for our own salvation, even by simply choosing the Lord when He reveals Himself to us. Let us remain humble. Let us first and foremost pray the Lord help those who are not walking with YHWH, who have not accepted Yeshua. For we see that all the Father gives to Him, will come to Him. Yeshua accepts all of us, and we must choose to accept Him, but recognize that the Father first calls us.
This can cause some difficulty for some. They struggle with their idea of “fairness” that the Father gives some to the Son and others He apparently does not. Let us trust the Father as we seek to understand. Ask Him as we would a loving Father whom we trust deeply. But remember that He is ultimately in control and His ways are far beyond our own.
19You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?” 20On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it? 21Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use? 22What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? 23And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, 24even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles.
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