“Jesus answered them and said, ‘Verily, verily, I say unto you, You seek Me, not because you saw the miracles, but because you did eat of the loaves and were filled. Labor not for the meat which perishes, but for that meat which endures unto everlasting life, which the Son of Man shall give unto you—for Him has God the Father sealed’.”
Our quest and our prize all begin and end at the same Place.
Oh how we love the sensational! Truly, we love those things that tickle our fancies and stimulate our minds; yet, as Jesus told the ones seeking Him that day (vv.22-24), they traveled all the way across the Sea of Galilee because of their “lust of the flesh” (I Jn. 2:16)—i.e., because He’d fed them when they were hungry and they were hoping to get another free meal.
Such is the way of our fickle flesh.
Yet, food for fleshly appetites is never enough. Soon our hunger pangs will arise again and soon we’ll once again be pursuing something to quiet them. And, if we’re not careful, we’ll begin seeing Jesus as little more than some Heavenly “dispenser,” Whose purpose in life is to keep us “healthy, wealthy and happy.” And, in the process, we’ll miss seeing Him; in fact, some will follow in the footsteps of the “666 Crowd:” “From that time many of His disciples went back and walked no more with Him” (Jn. 6:66).
Oh, dear Pilgrim, nothing in this world should allure or captivate us more than “knowing Him.” Even though we need food to eat and water to drink, even these should pale in comparison to our “knowing Christ, the power of His Resurrection, the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable to His Death” (Phil. 3:10).
Only when we realize He is “the Bread from Heaven. . .the Bread of Life. . .the Living Bread the satisfies the hungry soul. . .and His words are spirit and life” (vv.32, 35, 48, 51, 63) . . .will we have everlasting life and contentment of soul (vv.35, 40, 47, 50).
Just as God gave manna from Heaven to His hungry People in the wilderness (vv.49-51), so does He now give Heavenly Bread (Jesus) to those who “hunger and thirst” after Him. Although they ate of the small, tasting-like-honey wafers in the wilderness, they still died (v.49); but those who partake of Christ, the Living Bread, shall never die (vv.50-51; Jn. 11:25-26). Hallelujah!!
This begins with a “first bite”—i.e., Jesus’ entrance into one’s heart through the New Birth. And, from that moment on the Journey of faith involves “laboring for that Meat which endures unto everlasting life.” The Greek word “ergazomai” is used for “labor” here and basically means “to toil, be actively engaged in, committed to, etc.” Thus, it’s clear that the process of sanctification (“being transformed into Christ’s likeness”) is a rigorous one, not one that happens overnight or handed to us on a silver platter.
Eternal faith is an “enduring faith,” which shall truly be tried and transformed by “fiery trials and tribulations” (I Pet. 1:6-7; Jn. 16:30); yet, because, as beggars, we know where to go and find Bread, we do not cease in our quest to know Him and will do all we can to tell other beggars how they can know Him, too.
By Tom Smith Morning Manna Dated June 10, 2010