When we ask Jesus for things that don’t last, he often redirects to things that do last.
Redirected from Things that Don’t Last
Just prior to this passage, Jesus had fed over 5,000 people with one kid’s lunch. He had given them food and then He left; but the crowd followed Him and asked, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” (John 6:25). Jesus, however, saw right through their pursuit and answered, “[Y]ou are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves …” (v. 26).
Jesus knew they were looking for Him just because they wanted more really good bread. And so He redirects them: “Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you” (v. 27). He takes them from seeking food that doesn’t last to food that does.
The Lord is still this way with us today. These people wanted bread. Bread is good – but Jesus didn’t give it to them. Maybe you’re praying for some resolved family or health situation. Those are good things and you know that God wants good things for you, but sometimes He doesn’t He doesn’t give them. When this happens, it’s not because Jesus doesn’t love you or doesn’t hear you, it’s because He is going to redirect you to something more enduring.
Things that Last
So what endures? What is this enduring food that Jesus talked about to the crowd? It’s Himself. He brings them along slowly to this revelation, saying that “my Father brings you the true bread from heaven” (v. 32) and “the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven” (v. 33). By verse 35, He lays it out plainly: “I am the bread of life …”
The reason why Jesus often redirects our requests from what we want to Him is because whoever goes to Him shall not hunger, and whoever goes to Him will never thirst (v. 35). He knows what satisfies our souls. The things we think we want are just shadows of the things we need – so, whether you realize it or not, the hunger beneath all your hunger is actually for Jesus.
How do we receive satisfaction from Jesus? We receive satisfaction by believing in Him. This is Christian belief: persuaded trust. It’s believing that Jesus is who claimed to be and giving ourselves over to Him, letting go of the hopes of all the other ways of life. We only receive enduring satisfaction when we believe in Jesus Christ in that way – when it becomes my repentance, my forgiveness, my reconciliation with God, my new life, my eternal life and resurrection.
Belief like that looks like eating and drinking Jesus. Now that sounds really weird, but Jesus says, “Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day” (v. 54). As food and drink must be broken down and poured out for anyone to benefit from it, so Jesus’ body had to be broken down and poured out for us to benefit. The crowd wanted satisfaction for their stomachs, He wanted satisfaction for their souls. They wanted bread, He wanted them to be reconciled to God.
We’re tempted to want the same things: a Christianity that doesn’t require the cross – a moral improvement boot camp where we can just get a little better. But that’s not what Jesus offers. He offers His broken body and shed blood so you can be fully forgiven and made right with God. We maintain our enduring satisfaction in Jesus Christ by constantly returning to this fact.
Are you finding enduring satisfaction in Jesus or have you been led astray to find satisfaction somewhere else? Other things aren’t designed to satisfy your soul, and they leave you hungrier than before. Are you finding satisfaction in Jesus?
This sermon was preached on Communion Sunday.