August 3, 2003

John 6:24-35

[24] So when the crowd realized he was gone and wasn't coming back, they piled into the Tiberias boats and headed for Capernaum, looking for Jesus.

[25] When they found him back across the sea, they said, "Rabbi, when did you get here?"

[26] Jesus answered, "You've come looking for me not because you saw God in my actions but because I fed you, filled your stomachs-and for free.

[27] "Don't waste your energy striving for perishable food like that. Work for the food that sticks with you, food that nourishes your lasting life, food the Son of Man provides. He and what he does are guaranteed by God the Father to last."

[28] To that they said, "Well, what do we do then to get in on God's works?"

[29] Jesus said, "Throw your lot in with the One that God has sent. That kind of a commitment gets you in on God's works."

[30] They waffled: "Why don't you give us a clue about who you are, just a hint of what's going on? When we see what's up, we'll commit ourselves. Show us what you can do. [31] Moses fed our ancestors with bread in the desert. It says so in the Scriptures: 'He gave them bread from heaven to eat.' "

[32] Jesus responded, "The real significance of that Scripture is not that Moses gave you bread from heaven but that my Father is right now offering you bread from heaven, the real bread. [33] The Bread of God came down out of heaven and is giving life to the world."

[34] They jumped at that: "Master, give us this bread, now and forever!"

[35] Jesus said, "I am the Bread of Life. The person who aligns with me hungers no more and thirsts no more, ever.

[The Message]


1. We've just been fed. We note that the feeder didn't leave in the vehicle that brought the supplier of our need. We suppose he must still be here and ready to feed us again. When we get hungry and can't find the feeder, we widen the search. In Capernaum we meet again -- our need with our expected relief. Nothing new in all of this. Kids of all kinds are prone to gravitate to where their needs can be met.

2. Then it is time to mature another notch. This doesn't come easily. We've been caught on the surface of things, dissembling, by asking a "when" question when we really want to complain or demand that we are hungry and want more bread.

Jesus cuts to the chase for us.

And we say, "Huh?" not wanting to take that next step. We think we can trick the feeder into doing it again, "Show us again." But Jesus sees our sly grin and keeps pushing us to a different desire.

3. Eventually it dawns on us, we can't play the same game anymore. We need to work on two levels at the same time. Our physical hunger is real but it can no longer block our sense of metaphysical hunger. In time to come we will learn more beyond our own multifactedness. We will also learn about levels between ourselves and others. Also to come are learnings about levels of forgiveness and how "now" and "forever" really go beyond either.

So where have you been caught not saying what you wanted and getting caught by someone who listens beyond your words, to your life? Are you learning how to so listen to others?