“Ye seek Me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.” John 6:26
This was an abrupt reality check to the gathered throng. Just one day prior their enthusiasm for Jesus was at a fever pitch. Many in the crowd had witnessed the miracle of the fish and loaves. Imaginations of what the miraculous powers of Jesus could do for them were on each mind as they crowded about Him.
But then, instead of hearing words that would flatter their ambitions, Jesus began to shine a bright light on their hidden motives. Knowing that to follow Him for the purpose of securing temporal advantages was folly, Jesus again explains the requirements of His kingdom.
“Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.” John 6:27
They understood Him to say that their priorities in life must be more than temporal advantages and material benefits. There must be a commitment to the spiritual life that could only be found in the Son of Man.
This week as we talk about Living by Faith, we do so as spectators of a pivotal day when “many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.” John 6:66
This exchange between Jesus, the Pharisees and the gathered crowd is worthy of our study as it perfectly illustrates what it means to keep the law, seek the Lord and love the truth. Everything is connected and with great care Jesus unfolded to His listeners what it would mean to follow Him.
And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. John 6:35
Feigning ignorance and misconstruing His words, the Pharisees sought to discount this essential truth of salvation. They could not bring themselves to admit that Jesus was the Messiah. His stark contrast to their way of living and to their values in life was too much for them to embrace and they refused to humble themselves and accept Jesus as the king of their lives.
Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. John 6:53-55
To the crowd Jesus made plain that their salvation was dependent upon making Him their everything. No partial service but an entire heart surrender was the requirement of discipleship. Jesus was but expounding on the words written in Jeremiah 29:13,
“Ye shall seek Me, and find Me, when ye shall search for Me with all your heart.”
His words were so plain that they could not be misunderstood. To gain life they would have to make Christ their all in all. As food was vital to their bodies, so He must be to their souls. Sadly, to some the price was too much and John records, “From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.”
How close they were to the kingdom! How close they were to experiencing the peace that passes all understanding. How close they were to having life and having it more abundantly. So close but so far away…
Turning to His disciples Jesus asked them if they too will turn away. Peter, ever ready with a response, spoke words that flesh and blood did not reveal unto him.
But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” John 6:68-69
To these words of Peter we say amen and amen.
Here are a few Hit the Mark questions for this week’s lesson discussion:
- What does “seeking God” mean to you?
- What does it mean to search for Him with your whole heart?
- Isn’t it true that God does not expect us to follow Him completely until after we’ve grown in the faith? Why yes or no?
- Describe what it means to eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of Man.
- If one still battles with self over temptations does that mean that their conversion was not real? Explain your answer.
- Is the following statement True, Mostly True, Somewhat True or Not True: To follow Jesus means that we must give up everything. Explain your answer.
We close this week with the promise given by Jesus in response to Peter stating that he and his fellow disciples had left all to follow Him. This sounds like a good deal to me:
“Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life.” Mark 10:29-30
Until next week, let’s all continue to Hit the Mark in Sabbath School!