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One of the most penetrating things Jesus ever said was spoken on the day following His feeding of the five thousand. When the multitude returned, eagerly seeking Him, He said: "Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves" (Jn. 6:26). It is not enough to "seek" Jesus. Our motives must be right, and we must seek the higher things that Jesus is able to provide. From time to time, Jesus will provide "loaves and fishes," but He desires to help us with problems much greater than physical hunger.
Because God is the Giver of every good thing in the physical world, it is tempting to seek Him primarily for those things. We may outwardly appear to be interested in spiritual things, but often our real interest is in what we want to enjoy in this life. The truth of this is seen in the fact that so many people quit serving God at the first sign that serving Him may not bring them a "happy" life in the here and now. There are very few people who will do what Job did: go on seeking and serving God even when it does not pay to do so in terms of temporal happiness (Job 1:1-2:10). The devil was wrong in his insinuation that Job did not "fear God for nothing" (Job 1:9 NKJV). But would he be right if he made the same charge against us?
We do, in fact, need certain things to live in the world. We ought to pray for our daily bread and be thankful for it (Mt. 6:11). God can providentially provide many things, some of which we need because God Himself created the need. We must understand, however, that we need God Himself much more than we need any physical blessing that He can give. Without God, we "die" -- no matter how happily we "live" in this world.
Jesus did not come to make this world a happier place. He came to give us life in the world to come. Often, of course, eternal life makes for a happier life right now. But that should not be why we seek God. Seeking God is just that: seeking God, with or without the "food which perishes." Peter, whose acceptance of life in Christ involved him in much hardship and eventual martyrdom, was thinking clearly when he said, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life" (Jn. 6:68). Jesus Christ teaches us words of life. Throughout the coming week, let's consider that, if need be, eternal life is worth the giving up of this life.
Monday: John 6:25-27
Key Idea: We need spiritual nourishment even more than physical food.
Questions for Family Growth: What did Jesus say the people were seeking? What should they have been seeking, according to v.27? Consider what Jesus said about His own "food" in Jn. 4:34. What did Jesus say, in Mt. 4:3,4, when tempted by the devil? Also consider 1 Tim. 4:7,8.
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 18:17.
Tuesday: John 10:10
Key Idea: Jesus came into the world in order that we might have life.
Questions for Family Growth: What kind of "life" did Jesus make possible for us? What did Jesus mean when He spoke of our having life "abundantly"? What does 1 Tim. 6:17-19 say about laying hold on "that which is truly life"?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 18:18.
Wednesday: John 6:63
Key Idea: The words of Jesus are words of life.
Questions for Family Growth: What contrast is made between the "Spirit" and the "flesh"? What does the statement mean that Jesus' words are "spirit and life"? What is the meaning of Jesus' statement in Jn. 5:24-26?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 18:19.
Thursday: John 6:30-35
Key Idea: Jesus Himself is the Bread of Life.
Questions for Family Growth: What contrast is made between the manna Israel received in the wilderness and "the true bread from heaven" which we are able to receive? How is it possible for us to "not hunger" and "never thirst"?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 18:20.
Friday: John 6:66-69
Key Idea: It is Jesus -- and Jesus alone -- who has the words of eternal life.
Questions for Family Growth: What decision did many of the disciples make, and what seems to be the reason they made this choice? What did Jesus ask the twelve apostles? What is the meaning of Peter's response in vv.68,69?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 18:21.