We spend lots of time buying, preparing, eating, and thinking about food. Imagine how much time we would spend planting, cultivating, growing, harvesting, and preparing food if there were no electricity, supermarkets, or Burger Kings.
It is in this inconvenient, slow-food world that Jesus miraculously multiplies a little boy’s lunch to feed well over five thousand people. Jesus multiplies the food with no back-breaking effort, no toil or labor. The mob of well-fed on-lookers immediately calls for Jesus to be crowned king. Jesus was their ticket to easy street. Instead, Jesus says to them, “You are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.” Later He says, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.” What an incredible word picture! Jesus is our necessary nourishment. Belief in Him equals spiritual satisfaction.
It is because of these verses, which were difficult for Jesus’ followers to understand, that many disciples turned from the faith. My faith in Christ, however, doesn’t waver because of deep, hard-to-understand theology. My faith wavers when I am lazy and unwilling to work for spiritual results (something “that endures to eternal life”). Jesus never promised me an easy life. He does, however, promise me a life full of meaning. The same Jesus who fed five thousand people offers to save me from self-inflicted spiritual starvation. I have to stop worrying so much about things that do not last, so that I won’t miss the spiritual opportunities all around me which have eternal consequences. I’ve got to be about His work. His work is to see many believe.