After Jesus had fed the 5000 and then crossed over to the other side of the lake, the crowd of people continued to follow him, hoping to make him their king. But Jesus knew their real motives. They weren’t there because they truly wanted him and what he had to offer, they wanted him to be king because he had given them free food.
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.John 6:26
Jesus had given them food because he had compassion upon them. They had been following him while he had been healing and performing miracles and he knew that they would be hungry as they followed him…so he fed them. Simple as that.
But Jesus also knew that their motives weren’t necessarily to find God. They weren’t really trying to see what God was doing. They were trying to fill their stomachs. They were trying to be entertained. They had other motivations from what Jesus had in mind.
Jesus told them that the work that God requires is that they believe in the one that God had sent. And what do they ask for? A sign!
Hadn’t they just all received food? Didn’t they understand that there had been sign from God that had just been performed in their midst? Yes, they knew because that was the reason that they had been following Jesus in the first place. He was doing great things. Incredible miracles. But they were interested in the miracles themselves and the amazement value of them more than the one who was perfoming the miracles.
The miracles were intended to simply help confirm the words that Jesus had been speaking. They had been the confirmation that Jesus was who he said he was.
Who did Jesus say he was?
He explained to the people that he was the bread that came down from heaven. And yet the people complained because they knew him from when he was a young boy.
Yet here he was also perfoming these signs and wonders, so they couldn’t seem to figure out how best to understand him. They weren’t willing to open their eyes and see that only God could do the signs and wonders that Jesus had been doing. Only God could make the blind see, the lame walk, and the deaf hear. Only God could walk across a lake or tell a storm to be calm. Only God could drive out demons and evil spirits, healing people from their sicknesses.
But they couldn’t see it. They were blind to what was happening right in front of them. They couldn’t understand what Jesus was explaining to them. They could only see the miracle of the bread that had been given to them. They could only understand the physical, but they were unable to understand and comprehend the spiritual.
So this is why Jesus explained to them that there is a significant difference between the physical break and the spiritual bread:
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.John 6:32-33
In the time of Moses, the Israelites received manna, a bread that would sustain them in the desert. That was, in reality, also a bread that came from God.
But now, God has given them a true bread from heaven and gives life to the world.
In the same way, God offers bread to us even today through the life of Jesus. The entire world can live if we believe in him, and for this reason, we should not simply have our fill of that which comes to us physically, but instead allow Jesus to fill us as the true bread that has come down from heaven.