Seal of Approval
John 6:16-17a, 24-35
16 When evening came, his disciples went down to the sea, 17 got into a boat, and started across the sea to Capernaum. 24 So when the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum looking for Jesus. 25 When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, "Rabbi, when did you come here?" 26 Jesus answered them, "Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. 27 Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal." 28 Then they said to him, "What must we do to perform the works of God?" 29 Jesus answered them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent." 30 So they said to him, "What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you? What work are you performing? 31 Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, "He gave them bread from heaven to eat.' " 32 Then Jesus said to them, "Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world." 34 They said to him, "Sir, give us this bread always." 35 Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
6:24-25 the “crowds” come looking for Jesus
6:26 Jesus speaks the truth…
my paraphrase: I’m telling you straight up… you’re not here because you understood what just happened and what it revealed about who I am… you’re here because you got your stomachs filled…
Even after one of the most remembered miracles of Jesus (it is shared in all four gospels) the crowds still did not grasp the significance of it or Jesus… (further vindication of John 2:24-25; but Jesus on his part would not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people…)
6:27 the truth continued…
Jesus tries to get them to see the real issue… the real need in their lives. It’s the same in our ours. It is one that we either are ignorant of, afraid of, or refuse to believe, or a combination of all three (rather simplistic but true). And that need is filled by God’s grace… nothing we can do to obtain it… it is the gift of faith in Jesus from Jesus (this becomes clear to us in 6:35).
You’re focusing on the wrong thing… you’re going to need to eat everyday for the rest of your life… that need is never going to go away… it’s part of being human. The reality is there is a need you can never satisfy on your own regardless of how many times you eat, drink, go shopping, play X-box or whatever… it’s the need to be connected to God and only I can fill that need… and that’s something you can’t earn… it’s my gift to you as the Son of Man… the one that bears the Father’s Seal of Approval
6:28 still not fully getting it…
My paraphrase: O.K., so what do we have to do to get on God’s good side to get this blessing, how many people do we need to help, how much money do we need to give to the poor, how many times do we need to support the food bank, or flood victims and the like?
They misunderstand Jesus use of the phrase do not work (implying a gift something that can’t be earned) as they need to labor or work in a certain way.
6:29 Jesus makes it plainer
No you still don’t understand… you don’t have to do anything… the so called “work” that God asks of you is simply to believe in me… receive the gift of my grace
All one has to do to be re-connected with God is to have faith in Jesus... to have a personal relationship with him. And in my belief even the ability to believe is something that God empowers us to do… once God has stirred our hearts to the point where we can recognize the gift our response is our participation… we simply say yes… or we refuse to claim it as our own (see 6:27 the truth continued, above). That’s where the crowd is in 6:30
6:30 let’s go a waffling (or still not fully getting it part 2)
It sounds too easy… how can we know that we can trust what you’re saying? What are you going to show us today? Moses called down manna, bread from heaven, for our ancestors in the wilderness.
The connection with the Exodus and Moses continues from last week’s reference to God’s deliverance in the Passover, to God’s faithfulness to sustain the lives of his people by providing food in the wilderness. The crowd wants another sign—as if the one they witnessed yesterday didn’t even happen—a continuation of meeting their physical need only… that is, Jesus is right; the only reason they came was they were looking for a free meal.
6:32-33 explaining it… again.
The Message paraphrase:
32 Jesus responded, "(You’re missing the point). The real significance of that Scripture is not that Moses gave you bread from heaven but that my Father is right now offering you bread from heaven, the real bread. 33 The Bread of God came down out of heaven and is giving life to the world."
Four things to note:
- The giver of the bread is God The Father not Moses
- The gift of the bread happens in the present not the past (gives)
- The bread that Jesus speaks of is the true bread from heaven
- Jesus tells the crowd that they (not their ancestors) are receiving the true bread (gives you)
6:34 having ears but not able to hear
Now you’re talking… give us this bread so that we’ll never have to eat again
The crowd here is like the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4). They only understand Jesus’ words on a physical level… not a spiritual or relational one so…
6:35 Jesus states it even more plainly:
I am what I have been describing to you… I am come from heaven to give life… all who put their trust in me will satisfy their hunger and thirst for God and God’s faithfulness… I am the bread of Life… the True bread from heaven
Jesus answers the crowds demand for a sign by showing them that they have already received one: Jesus is the sign… he is the true bread from heaven… he not only has the seal of approval from God the Father but he is the seal of approval for all who place their faith and trust in him.