Jesus answered them and said, “ Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.”
Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?”
Jesus answered and said to them, “ This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” John 6:26-29
Yesterday we looked at how, if we believe in Jesus, we are doing the will of God. We saw how the relationship between us and our Father is only based on our belief in Jesus, it is not based on any works. Well, today I would like to look at how our works, our actions should come out of that relationship.
Good works should be the fruit of a relationship not the root. We should do stuff because we love God and because He loves us. This is what Jesus did. We should not do stuff to make Him love us. If Jesus had never performed a single miracle it would not have stopped Him from being the Son of God. However because He was the Son of God, walking the earth, and because His relationship with the Father was so strong, the fruit of His life was the outward flow of God’s love and compassion and the miracles happened as a result.
Good works should be the fruit of a relationship not the rootSo it should be with us. Our relationship with Father God should be so strong that we start to think like He does, feel like He does and act like He would like us to – like Jesus. So what was it that Jesus did? If we are to be like Him we should know what we are to do.
Jesus came to give the people the food which endures to everlasting life. So what does that mean? Jesus came to feed people the truth that would lead them in the Kingdom of Heaven and relationship with Father.
What Jesus is saying here is something that is so important that we must not miss it. The real value and importance in the miracles and the healing was not the actual miracle or healing itself. No the real value was in the love of God that they showed, in the ability of God to have a meaningful impact in a life, of the strength of God and the supremacy of His Kingdom over the kingdom of the world.
The people asked for a sign and Jesus replied that the people were focusing on the signs, not on the truth behind the signs. This comes just after the feeding of the five thousand. Jesus tells the people to stop focusing on what He did with the bread and fish because that isn’t important.
Yes they were fed for the day, but that wasn’t the miracle. Jesus is saying the fact that your earthly bodies were fed for one meal, in the course of your life, means nothing. No, the miracle was that He was tapped into the power of the Kingdom and He was telling people that they too, by believing in Him, could become part of this eternal Kingdom.
The sign was to show the truth, but the people were so impressed with the sign that they never went deeper into the truth. The miracles were like the shop window. Jesus was saying to people, “Don’t just stand there, look at the window and then walk past. Come in!” There is so much more available inside.
I believe that there was a lesson there for the disciples too. You see, Jesus never did a miracle for the sake of the miracle. The wonder was never the goal. It was always the means to the end. The closest I think to Jesus performing a secret miracle is the water into wine at the wedding.
There was no, “The kingdom is like…” as He told the servants to get water. There was no, “See how great your Father is” as the groom drank the tasty wine. It seems to be a miracle for a miracles sake. Except, the servants knew. They would not have been able to keep their mouths shut. The disciples knew. They would have developed greater faith in the Teacher that they had decided to follow. Word would have got out, a foundation for greater miracles was laid.
But all the other miracles? They were all as signs to point to the greater truth. God loves you. God wants you. His Kingdom is available to you. Just believe.
Jesus was not simply a charity worker. Jesus was an evangelist.There is a lesson for us too. Now don’t get me wrong, I love the whole random act of kindness movement. I think we should see more love, caring, help and charity in the world. But please, let us not confuse this with evangelism. Buying a coffee and a sandwich for a homeless person is the right thing to do. But it is not evangelism. It is not bringing the person closer to the Kingdom.
It is like the loaves and the fishes, a miracle to that person. Food and drink where there was none. However, if you just give it and walk away, the miracle ends. Jesus was saying here to the people, “don’t follow me because I can feed you. Follow me because I know where the source of the food is.”
How about asking to pray of the person as you give them the coffee. How about praying a blessing over and into their life? That makes the coffee take on a spiritual benefit as well as a physical one.
Does you church hand out food parcels? Do you share the Gospel as you hand them out? Good works are great! Please hand out as much food and support as you can. But if you are not declaring the love and goodness of our Father in Heaven as you do it, please realise that it is charity, it is not evangelism.
Jesus was not simply a charity worker. Jesus was an evangelist. Everything He did was to proclaim the love of God towards us. Let us be like that. Yes we can do charity, that is the right thing to do.
However let us not confuse charity with evangelism. Whatever we do, if we do not declare the name of Jesus and the love of God as we are doing it, let us understand, however busy we are doing it, we are not proclaiming the Kingdom.
“Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life,” is the warning that Jesus gave His disciples and His followers. It is the warning that He give us today too.
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