In the UK, there is a chain of ″Next″ department stores. In the search for satisfaction, what should we buy ″Next″? The prodigal son discovered that the search for freedom and satisfaction was an elusive one.
Today’s reading contains Jesus’ fourth (vv. 1-5) and fifth (vv. 16-24) signs as well as His first ″I am″ statement (vv. 35, 48). From five small loaves and two small fish, Jesus feeds 5,000 men and 12 baskets of food are left over after everyone is full (vv. 8-13). Moses had fed people miraculously with manna; now Jesus feeds them miraculously. Jesus, they conclude, is the prophet like Moses (Deuteronomy 18:15-19) and, as Moses had led Israel out of Egypt, Jesus would lead them against the Roman occupiers (vv. 14-15).
As the Creator, by whom all things were made (John 1:3), Jesus walks on the sea and catches up with the disciples. They arrive at Capernaum. Jesus now makes it clear to the crowd that to be involved in the work of God is not to be part of a political revolution; but to believe in the One God has sent (v. 29). So Jesus tells the people to work for food that endures-to pursue things of eternal value (vv. 27-29), which is to do God’s work, which is to believe in Jesus (v. 29). The crowd then asks for another sign, one more spectacular than the miracle of the manna. The feeding of 5,000 is not good enough for them-they want something more! Jesus uses the occasion to teach about His being the Bread of Life (vv. 35, 48): He is the one who can satisfy their hunger, and this is something that is of eternal value (vv. 41, 51).
We come as the gift of God the Father to God the Son (vv. 37, 39). We believe, trust in Jesus, and so are eternally satisfied. Manna did not give eternal life, but the one who feeds on Jesus, the Bread of Life, will live forever (v. 58).
Now none but Christ can satisfy,
None other name for me.
There’s love and life and lasting joy,
Lord Jesus found in Thee.
What does it mean to feed on the Bread of Life?
How can you share this Bread with others?