What are You Looking For?

“I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you saw the miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill.  Do not work for food which spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.  On Him God the Father has placed His seal of approval.”  John 6:26, 27.

 So today I’m looking at this text wondering why these people even wanted a Messiah at all.  They had just experienced being fed mirculously by Jesus, but here they were to challenge Him again to repeat it…as a sign so they could believe.  Jesus confronts them about their motives without even any preamble or softening of the blow.

I guess now would be a good time to remind anyone reading this that I’m taking the Bible for what it says as best as I can understand it and using reason from its perspective.  The conclusions I come to are those derived from the text as I read it, while doing my best not to super-impose my own agenda to what is being said.

If Jesus’ conclusion is correct, and since this is inspired Scripture, we must assume He is, then those who crossed the lake to find Him did so not out of a desire to get closer to God but find a free ride.  They were looking for another thrill, not a message of heart change and reconciliation with God.  Strangely these very people were called God’s children or the children Israel—Jacob’s name after he wrestled with God, which is also its literal meaning—yet they struggled to accept Him as His own Word presented Him to be.  Instead of being like their namesake, Jacob, they continued to struggle with God and contend with the Almighty’s will and purpose.

In other words, they refused eternal life for the sake of a temporary mastery of their small universe.  I doubt very many were aware of the concept of entropy, and even if a few were, they weren’t cognizant of the extent to which sin degraded life as we know it.

Our instructions from Christ is clear, given in part through a true story in order to illustrate it:  The food we are to seek with all our hearts is that which comes from the Son of Man.

Nothing else in all creation is as important as this one factor in creating a place for life and happiness.  Only once we conform to the mind of the One who created us will we find contentment, true satisfaction and harmony, for our connection with our Maker is all that keeps us alive or fulfilled.  Some of you will read that last sentence with a jaundiced spiritual eye because either you are seeing it as a command to hyper-spiritual awareness, or you take it as over the top spiritual rhetoric.  As much as I can tell from Scripture, neither attitude is accurate.

God didn’t make us to be puppets or praise machines in the way some evangelicals project His desire—you know the type, singing all the time, saying “praise the Lord!” after every sentence and finding a moral to the story in breakfast cereals—because His instructions to mankind at creation were to be fruitful and multiply and take care of the earth.  In other words He had done His job by creating a self-sustaining world, it was our job to nurture, train and build the rest.  He gave us two feet to travel from place to place; two arms with hands to carry things; a mind to analyze, picture, construct and reason with in order to fill our job description in a new way and a place already designed to benefit us in every way possible.  I have a theory that our very solar system was designed to house humanity as we grew in population and a knowledge of God.

This reasoning might sound like a rabbit trail to some, but I see it more as explanation of why we just don’t get God’s purpose for life.  He isn’t called “The Creator” for nothing, it’s an absolute essential part of His very make up to be so, and we are made in His image.

His purpose from before the foundations of the earth were laid was to connect with autonomous people in a mutually beneficial way.  When God demands glory, He’s not asking for empty phrases devoid of any connection to real meaning or substance, but asking of us to give Him credit for who He is in character, personality and behavior.  That sounds way too formal, let’s make it a little more plain by saying God created all that is, so we glorify Him by speaking of the fact of it.  It is His glory that He created all things, it is our tribute to this fact which glorifies Him from our lips.  We see that He sent His Son, Jesus, on a mission to reconcile God to man, this shows His heart for even His rebellious creation, which tells us something vitally important about God:  He prefers love over vengeance.  By telling others what we believe to be fact, we are speaking to what is true about Him, which is what the word “glory” actually points to.

This means that praise music glorifies God only in so far as it speaks to the realities of who He is and what He does.  Just simply saying “praise the Lord” doesn’t really tell us or Him what we’re talking about and many times becomes rule on rule, precept on precept, line upon line, here a little, there a little, or as Isaiah quotes God, their words are empty of meaning and devoid of praise.  What Jesus did was His glory.  In other words, feeding the five thousand didn’t speak to His glory, but actually was His glory.  Glory is misused so often and applied in such meaningless ways by religious habit, that it becomes something ethereal rather than concrete and brimming full of significance.  By merely saying in faith that I believe Jesus fed a host of people with five loaves and two fish I am giving Him His due, which is what glorifying Him actually is.

Our glory, for we are to have a part in His glory, is to live out our lives according to the purpose for which He created us.  Yet we have a addundum to creation in the cross as well.  Our glory is to be that of creation and the cross.  Chew on this for a while, you’ll be glad you did.  God wants substance from us not empty words.

Another sentence that stood out is the last one telling us God stamped Jesus with His approval and sealed Him to His mission.  We can think of at least three ways this was done:  1) At Jesus birth the angels sang, 2)  At His baptism the spirit landed on His head,  3) the miraculous abilities He demonstrated.

The people witnessed these things, for Israel is a small country and news would reach Jerusalem fairly fast because of the feasts every year.  Anyway, Bethlehem isn’t that far away from Jerusalem so it wouldn’t take long for someone to report the supernatural events.  Jesus also confounded the teachers of the law at age twelve leaving a bunch of very impressed men behind.  When He appeared again at the river Jordan to be baptized, I’m sure those who remembered the stories surrounding His birth and life sat up to pay attention.  They could ignore Him only if He remained in Nazareth, once He began His mission and ministry, however, that would be impossible.

So here they are confronted with His power, what do you think they will do next?

That’s a good question for everyone, I think.

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2 Responses to “What are You Looking For?”

  1. What are You Looking For? « Free Hosting News Says:

    […] Read the rest here: What are You Looking For? […]

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