The Bread of Life
Two words, passing and lasting. We're always chasing things in our lives. Sometimes we're chasing things that are passing, and sometimes we chase things that are lasting. This reading is about passing and lasting. It's about yearning. We read, "The people were seeking Jesus." They're looking for Him. They're looking for Him, and they're searching for Him. When's the last time you actively sought Him out in your life? Was there a situation you were dealing with where you thought, "I need Jesus' advice. I need Jesus' counsel. I need His wisdom"? Did you seek Him out for that? Or when's the last time you just sought Him out just to spend time with Him just like you do a great friend? The people were seeking Jesus. They were looking for him. When they find him, they're like, "Where were you, Jesus?" It's a fascinating thing. As if Jesus had to answer to them. Like He had gone off their timetable or gone off their agenda.
And then Jesus starts this discourse about food, and He says to them, "Do not labor for the food that perishes but for the food which endures to eternal life." And He talks about how He has come to bring them this lasting bread, this lasting food, this food that doesn't lead to more and more hunger. But they keep dragging Jesus back into the passing. Jesus is trying to draw them into the lasting, and they keep drawing Him back into the passing. And then they're like, "Well, give us a sign, Jesus." I wonder how frustrated Jesus was. It's like, "I'm trying to give you this great thing, and you're dragging me over there." Give us a sign, Jesus. I'm sure Jesus is much more patient than any of us. And they go on. They say, "Our fathers had a sign. Our fathers ate manna in the desert." Their fathers ate this bread from God. It was given to them in the desert. Can't you give us some sort of sign like that? Of course, Jesus, He doesn't play into this thing. He plays into, "Let's focus on the lasting, not the passing." And He talks to them about this lasting bread, this bread that we eat that will not lead to more and more hunger, that leads to satisfaction rather than discontentment, yearning for more.
The people say to us, "Lord, give us this bread always. We want this bread all the time, Jesus. Give us this bread." And then Jesus begins perhaps the most controversial passage in scriptures. He says, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst." Were the people satisfied? No. Because they were looking for the passing. Jesus was trying to call them into the lasting. What's it about? I think it's about yearning. It's about yearning. We all yearn. What are you yearning for today? And how are you looking to address that yearning, in a very worldly passing way? Because if we do that, we wake up tomorrow morning, have to address that yearning again. We wake up every day for the rest of our lives, have to address that yearning again if we deal with our yearnings in passing ways. And of course, God is inviting us to deal with our yearnings in lasting ways. He's calling us to recognize our yearnings, to recognize that our yearnings serve us, okay? Your yearnings are a servant to your journey, to the process of making you whole, to the process of helping you become all God created you to be. And that God places these yearnings within us. They draw us down a path that He wants to draw us along.
But He's interested in dealing with them in lasting ways, not in passing ways. So what are you yearning for today, and are you approaching that yearning from a worldly perspective or from the wisdom of God? Are you inviting God to address that yearning in your life, or are you just trying to satisfy that yearning in a worldly way, which means inevitably it will continue to rise up in your life over and over again? And we will continue to feel dissatisfied. Because Jesus says, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me, shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall not thirst." How hungry are you? How hungry are you spiritually, emotionally? How hungry are you? How thirsty are you? And what are you trying to fulfill, answer, satisfy the spiritual hunger with? How are you trying to take care of the spiritual thirst? Because if we try to feed ourselves worldly things to satisfy spiritual hungers, never works. And of course, this goes on to every aspect of our lives. We're constantly looking for worldly solutions to spiritual problems, and they always fail. And so today we're being invited to take off our limited worldly mind and to put on the mind of God and ask ourselves, "Okay. How does God want me to deal with these yearnings that are naturally a part of my life?”