September 6, 2020
So they asked him, “What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”
Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
“Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.”
Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.
We want the bread to be the bread and not some kind of metaphor for God. When I am in debt, I want money. If I’m facing a hard circumstance, I want a solution. If I’m in a hard battle, I want victory. If I’m hungry, I want bread. I want God to provide all these things. All the while God simply wills to provide himself. Jesus is the answer. And the answer might not involve a windfall of money to get out of debt or a solution to the problem or a victory in the battle. That’s a problem. I really don’t so much want Jesus as I want help.
Jesus can spot that from a mile away. Remember from yesterday’s text: Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill” (v. 26).
We want Jesus to help us more than we want Jesus to have us. In our shortsighted desperation, what we don’t realize is help in this situation or that one is only a Band-Aid, a temporary fix. Jesus is himself the eternal solution. Watch this:
Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
We look for solutions when we need a savior. Jesus is not God’s solutions to all of our problems. Jesus is God’s gift of himself to us. It sounds cliche to say, but the old adage comes to mind, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you have fed him for a lifetime.”
Give a person the answer to their prayer and you help them for a time. Teach a person to abide in Jesus and you have changed his life forever.
Jesus can solve our problems and, at times, he will. This is not his primary concern. Jesus most cares about becoming our life, our hope, our love, our joy, our all-in-all.
It sounds simple. It will be the hardest thing we ever do—to entrust ourselves completely, unreservedly, and continuously to Jesus. This is the path of discipleship. True maturity does not come from pleading for answers to our prayers, but from desperately seeking the one who answers.
Abba Father, we thank you for your Son, Jesus, who is himself the answer to our prayers. Grow us up to want Jesus more than we want our solutions; to love him for who he is beyond what he can do for us. Come, Holy Spirit, and give us this bread. We pray in Jesus’ name, amen.
1. How do you relate to this point of desiring Jesus more than you want him to solve your problems?
2. What will it take to grow in this kind of maturity? How might we get to the place where we can say, “Jesus, I will love you and cling to you even if you don’t solve my problems”?
3. What holds you back from this kind of faith?
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