John 6

John 6 Devotional
by Pastor Lawrence

It is possible for someone to earnestly seek God and Christ for all the wrong reasons.  In this particular chapter, there were great crowds following Christ all around the Sea of Galilee primarily for two reasons: they had seen him heal the sick and he had given them bread to eat.  One might think that those reasons would be good enough to at least gain a hearing for the gospel and that Jesus ought to do even more wondrous things such as these so that the crowds might multiply even more, but Jesus greatly disappoints his disciples by refusing to entertain these thoughts.

Just when the crowd begins to realize how powerful Jesus is and have some messianic expectations of him, they seek to lay hands on him forcefully to make him their king.  Jesus, perceiving the mob’s intentions, immediately withdraws from them.  This act alone should make us question the methods of many seeker churches today, for the assumption of many church leaders is that if we somehow grab the attention of the unbeliever by worldly or sensual means then perhaps he or she will stay around long enough to have their spiritual appetite quickened as well.  Jesus, on the other hand held no such philosophy.  He didn’t heal the sick and feed the hungry in order to entertain the crowds but to prove that the kingdom of God had come in order that they might hear the good news.  The minute that the people showed that they had no intention of hearing from him, he left the “seekers” and went to preach elsewhere.

In fact, he rebukes them directly saying in v.26, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of loaves.  Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you.”  But even when he speaks so plainly to them, they still don’t get it.  They are still asking him to give them more bread.  When he tells them that He is the bread of life, they begin to grumble and then turn back and no longer walk with him.

In any evangelistic endeavor, the Church must not seek any bait-and-switch tactics, for they just don’t work.  We will never draw men to Christ through worldly means; there will always be some need for hearers to count the cost of following Jesus.  That doesn’t mean that we should belittle any earthly benefits of following Christ, but it is not the benefits that should be our focus; our focus should be on Jesus as savior and Lord.  Those whom the father has called will listen to such a gospel and will want to follow Jesus not because of bread and circuses but because Jesus alone has the words of eternal life.