Daily D – John 6:30
They answered, “Show us a miraculous sign if you want us to believe in you. What can you do?” JOHN 6:30 (NLT)
People love magicians. They know that real magic is not taking place, but they love the experience of illusions and sleight of hand. A well-known magician died yesterday from complications of COVID-19.
There is a preacher on television offering miracle cures for COVID-19. For the right price, you too can claim your miracle.
Jesus fed over 5,000 people by multiplying a little boy’s lunch. Those people ate all they wanted and left twelve baskets full of leftovers. The next day they sounded like Oliver Twist, “Please sir, I want some more.”
They looked for Jesus where they last saw him. He wasn’t there. He had gone to the other side of the lake. He took a little walk across the stormy sea (vv. 16-21). The well-fed crowd from the day before experienced growling stomachs and chased down Jesus for another miraculous meal. Jesus knew their motive. “I tell you the truth, you want to be with me because I fed you, not because you understood the miraculous signs,” (v. 26).
Jesus pointed beyond the bread to what it indicated. The crowd wanted more proof. And more bread. And they didn’t say, “Please.” Their request was a bit more demanding than that. They even threw down the gauntlet of Moses providing manna from heaven, daily bread.
In other words, give us daily bread, keep us well fed, and we are all in. It’s amazing how quickly loyalties shift for full bellies and entertainment. Rome figured this out with their bread and circuses. Now that the toilet paper crisis has been solved, people would like to get this COVID-19 thing over in time for late summer and fall football. Some things never change.
So, once upon a time, the crowd of people who experienced the one miracle recorded in all four gospel accounts asked God Incarnate, “What can you do?”
In John’s Gospel, Jesus speaks seven I AM statements. These statements declare who he is.
- “I am the bread of life.” (John 6:35, 41, 48, 51)
- “I am the light of the world.” (John 8:12)
- “I am the door of the sheep.” (John 10:7,9)
- “I am the resurrection and the life.” (John 11:25)
- “I am the good shepherd.” (John 10:11, 14)
- “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” (John 14:6)
- “I am the true vine.” (John 15:1, 5)
Jesus was so much more than a magician. He was the one through whom all things were created (1:1-4). He who created the world from nothing, who spoke it into existence, who formed a man out of dust, and a woman from a man, was so much more than a meal dispenser.
Where Jesus wanted them to see the greater reality the miracle pointed to, they stopped at full bellies. A tuna fish sandwich was all it took to win their loyalty. To keep their loyalty, Jesus would have to keep it up every day. A magician is only as good as his last illusion. A miracle worker is only as good as his last miracle.
Keep reading in this chapter and you find that the multitudes melt away when it becomes apparent there is no more miracle bread. Jesus even asked his closest followers if they wanted to find a new gig. They made the wise choice to look beyond miracle bread and walking on water and healing all kinds of physical ailments to see increasingly clearly who Jesus was. They also stuck around to see the miracle of all miracles, the resurrection of Jesus after his brutal execution.
Wait until you see his next trick. It’s a real world stopper.
I will look beyond the signs to the reality they point toward.
Our Father, let us never content ourselves with bread and entertainment. Let us content ourselves only in knowing you and experiencing you more each day. Let us never follow you only for what you can do, but for who you are. You are all we need. May you become all we want. Amen.
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Ruth 1:20, 21 “Don’t call me Naomi. Call me Mara,” she answered, “for the Almighty has made me very bitter. I went away full, but the LORD has brought me back empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since the LORD has opposed me, and the Almighty has afflicted me?” (CSB)