Jesus replied, “Truly, truly, I tell you, it is not because you saw these signs that you are looking for Me, but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that perishes, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on Him God the Father has placed His seal of approval.” Then they inquired, “What must we do to perform the works of God?” Jesus replied, “The work of God is this: to believe in the One He has sent.” So they asked Him, “What sign then will You perform, so that we may see it and believe You? What will You do? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” “Sir,” they said, “give us this bread at all times.” Jesus answered, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to Me will never hunger, and whoever believes in Me will never thirst. But as I stated, you have seen Me and still you do not believe. – John 6:26-36 BSB
As we read the Bible we can see that man never changes, outside of a real connection with the God of the Universe. We are self-absorbed creatures; We want what we want. In the Bible, as in the world today- People came to Jesus to get what they wanted. In this verse above, they wanted a free meal, they wanted to see miracles, they wanted to hear words that sufficed their “itching ears”. Hear the Word of the Lord: “The time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear” (2 Timothy 4:3). For many people Jesus is nothing more than the Genie in Aladdin’s lamp. They want Jehovah Jireh, the God who provides. They want Jehovah Rapha, the God who heals. They want Jehovah Shammah, the God who is present. They want Jehovah Tsidkenu, the LORD our righteousness. They want Jehovah-Nissi: The Lord is our banner. The lifting up of the rod of God in the hand of Moses symbolized the presence of God, the power of God. This was the banner under which Joshua and the troops of Israel had fought and won the battle. They want Jehovah Shalom, the Lord is our Peace. People want a prosperity Gospel, that if they will just CLAIM IT in the name of Jesus it is theirs! They want to live their lives and bring in their lucky ‘rabbits foot’, their 4-leaf clover called Jesus. This is the point of the temptation of Job. The devil knows this creature called man, he despises us, and he told God straight up that the only reason Job is righteous is because of all the stuff you do for him. BUT GOD knows those who want to be known by God. People like Job, Noah, Abraham, and if God knows you then He knows why you DESIRE HIM, why you FOLLOW HIM, and why you YEARN for Him! And the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?” (Job 1:8) God said to the devil, “I believe in Job!”
Leader, instead of what Jesus can do for us, what would Jesus like us to do FOR HIM? First of all Jesus wants us to LISTEN TO HIM. “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. (Luke 6:46-48) Jesus wants us TO KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS. “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. (John 14:15-17) Which brings us to the next thing Jesus wants from us. Jesus wants us to DIE TO OURSELVES and let HIM LIVE THROUGH US! This is the point of Paul’s prayer, and his commitment. “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me”. (Galatians 2:20) Which shows us that Jesus wants us to PICK UP OUR CROSS DAILY. And he (Jesus) said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. (Luke 9:23-24) I believe what Jesus wants the most FROM US, is to LOVE! “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:36-40)
Conduit, in his great book, “What Jesus demands of the World”, John Piper talks about this LOVE, that JESUS DEMANDS. In the book Piper identifies 50 things that Jesus DEMANDS FROM US. Jesus is so committed to us grasping this thing called LOVE that Piper labeled Demand 28: Love your enemies! Our flesh has a hard time understanding love. We think it is a feeling, we think it is tied to sexual activity, we think it is something we FALL INTO. But God tells us that LOVE is a VERB, it is NOT a noun, it is NOT a feeling. John 3:16 tells us, For God so loved the World…that He did something about it. Here is an excerpt from Pipers, Demand 28: “We live in a time when emotional offense, or wounded-ness, often becomes a criterion for deciding if love has been shown. If a person can claim to have been hurt by what you say, it is assumed by many that you did not act in love. In other words, loves is not defined by the quality of the act and its motives, but by the subjective response of others. In this way of relating, the wounded one has absolute authority. If he says you hurt him, then you cannot have acted lovingly. You are guilty. Jesus will not allow this way of relating to go unchallenged. Love is not defined by the response of the loved. A person can be genuinely loved and feel hurt or offended or angered or retaliatory or numb without in any way diminishing the beauty and value of the act of love that hurt him…This truth is shown by the way Jesus lived His life. He loved in a way that was often not felt as love. No one I have ever known in person or in history was as blunt as Jesus in the way he dealt with people. Evidently His love was so authentic it needed few cushions.” Going back to our original scripture verse in John 6, the events wrapped up in many people realizing that they DID NOT want to do FOR JESUS what He demanded, they just wanted what they wanted! Hear the Word of the Lord: So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of Man, you have no life in you. Aware that His disciples were grumbling about this teaching, Jesus asked them, “Does this offend you? From that time on many of His disciples turned back and no longer walked with Him. So Jesus asked the Twelve, “Do you want to leave too?” Simon Peter replied, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that You are the Holy One of God.” (John 6:53,61,66-69) Jesus PAID IT ALL, we must remember the last thing Jesus said on the cross, before giving up His Spirit: “It is finished!” (John 19:30) What are you willing to do to show your LOVE to, and for Jesus?