Journal Jn 6 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?”
Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you: You are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves.
Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life—which the Son of Man will give you….Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered them: “This is the work of God—that you believe in him whom he has sent.”
So, they said to him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform?” (excerpts from John 6:25-30)
Observation: I cannot help but notice that Jesus spends a lot of time clearly speaking, and the crowd spends a lot of time twisting the conversation, trying to get an advantage for themselves.
Analysis: There are times where, reading a section of Scripture, I can be drawn to something being said but in the same thought, have a hard time putting a comprehensive thought together.
This is one of those times.
It seems to me I can clearly see that the people around Jesus could be following only because of miracles—it may be as basic as, “let’s go see this dude; I heard he is at least good for a substantial lunch.”
With at least some, there is a conversation started with Jesus about (broadly speaking) what “food” is sustainable for eternal life…Jesus making a metaphor (which, incidentally, has teeth—no pun intended).
The crowd shows their religious heart (maybe while brushing the crumbs from their beards) by countering Jesus’ statement of “seek the food of God, leading to eternal life, not just the food that satisfies your body”, by asking “how do I justify myself for that eternal stuff? Do you have a checklist I can follow? Can I have a list of “doing things” on the outside so I don’t have to change on the inside?”
Jesus answers: “This is the work of God—that you believe in him whom he has sent.”
I can imagine the crowd may have thought, “Huh, that is not exactly the answer I am looking for. If that is what I have to do (seeing that He is really calling for a surrendered life), that is more than I want.”
So, they ask, “If that is what you want me to do, then do you have any validation as to your authority? Got a sign in your pocket? How about a list of works available on your resume’?”
Basically, “Prove yourself to me…” they said to Jesus, before I change my ways—and besides that, I still want a checklist: “What must we do to be doing the works of God?”
I think that many folks, like me, can move into being moral (a type of work) instead of the Holy Work of believing and surrendering to Christ. Being a moral person is not being a Christian disciple.
There’s a point to consider with the face in the mirror, perhaps?
Prayer: Lord God, deliver me from just being nice and moral and forget to serve you, not just all my days, but today.