THAT YE MIGHT BELIEVE (#22)
“When Seeking Jesus Is A BAD Thing”
1) Growing up in and around church, you oftentimes pick up on church lingo. For instance, when a preacher was preaching really well, someone might say, “He surely is shellin’ the corn.” When a person cried or praised the Lord, someone might say, “They really got happy today.”
2) This type of lingo was also used to describe unsaved people who seemed to be interested in getting saved. If an unsaved person came to church (sometimes regularly), listened intently, raised their hand for prayer, and seemed concerned about their soul, people would say this about them: “Pray for so-and-so, they’re really seeking the Lord right now.”
3) Now, to be far, the Bible does speak about people seeking the Lord. Isaiah 55:6 says, “Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near.” Jeremiah 29:13 gives a qualifier for seeking the Lord. He says, “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall seek me with all your heart.” We see this type of “seeking” in the life of the Wise Men and the Shepherds who sought Christ after he was born.
4) Yet, there may be times when “seeking the Lord” is NOT a good thing. In our text, we find a group of me who are seeking the Lord, but it really isn’t a good thing:
“The day following, when the people which stood on the other side of the sea saw that there was none other boat there, save that one whereinto his disciples were entered, and that Jesus went not with his disciples into the boat, but that his disciples were gone away alone; (Howbeit there came other boats from Tiberias nigh unto the place where they did eat bread, after that the Lord had given thanks:) When the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, neither his disciples, they also took shipping, and came to Capernaum, seeking for Jesus.”
5) Here’s what is happening: This event takes place the day after Jesus fed the 5,000 with 5 loaves and 2 fish. A group of people had remained in the area where Christ performed the miracle. When morning comes, they are standing on the eastern shore of the sea. They understood that yesterday, only one small boat was on the shore…the boat the disciples got into when they left to go to Capernaum. Here’s something else they knew: Jesus didn’t get into the ship with them. So, they think Jesus must be around.
6) In verse 23, a small fleet of ships come to that place, looking for Jesus. When they realize that Jesus isn’t there, they leave and set sail to Capernaum. The Bible says that they are “seeking Jesus” (vs. 24). *Yet, what we discover as we read the rest of their encounter is that they don’t meet the requirement set by Jeremiah 29:13; they are not seeking Jesus with their whole heart.
What was it about this group that made their “seeking Jesus” a bad thing? There are four characteristics about them that I want us to focus on.
I. Their CARNAL DESIRE 6:25-27
1) “And when they had found him on the other side of the sea, they said unto him, Rabbi, when camest thou hither?” (vs. 25) They finally found him in Capernaum. They are confused about how Christ got to Capernaum because he didn’t leave on a boat. But, instead of a RESPONSE to their QUESTION, Jesus gives them a REBUKE of their INTENTION.
A) They Were Focused On Their Stomachs. 6:26
1) Verse 26 says, “Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.” Here their problem is revealed; they are not interested in Jesus meeting their SPIRITUAL NEEDS, they are only interested in Jesus meeting their PHYSICAL NEEDS.
2) Why did they gather that morning on the shore of the Sea? Why did they seek Jesus? The food they had eaten (fish and loaves) had digested and would no longer satisfies their hungry stomachs. Their motivation was SELFISH at best.
B) They Should Have Focused On Their Souls. 6:27
1) Jesus says in verse 27, “Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.” This verse is puzzling to some. What is Jesus really saying to these people? Is Jesus saying that we shouldn’t work for food, but we should work for our salvation? That’s what it sounds like to some.
2) Again, this is a subtle rebuke from the Savior. These people had waited all night, searched the other shore for Jesus, gotten on a ship, and sailed to Capernaum just so they could get a meal, something that would be gone in a few hours. Yet, when it came to everlasting life, they were not concerned. They wanted a MEAL more than the MESSIAH. They wanted PHYSICAL SATISFACTION more than PERSONAL SALVATION. They wanted the LOAVES more than the LORD. They wanted the TEMPORAL more than the ETERNAL.
3) Sadly, many people “seek Jesus” for the same selfish, sinful reasons. Some people seek Jesus because they have Cancer and they want to be cured. Some people seek Jesus because they have Financial difficulties and they want a bailout from Heaven. Some people seek Jesus because their marriage is falling apart and they think Jesus can put it back together again. Now, do I believe Jesus can heal the sick, financially bless those that are in need, and save a broken marriage? Absolutely! But is that a strong basis for “seeking Jesus”? NO!
4) I have spoken to many unsaved people who have been diagnosed with cancer. Do you know the ONE THING I NEVER SAY TO THEM? I never tell them, “Jesus can heal you of your cancer.” Why? Because I don’t want them to receive Jesus The Healer. You can believe Jesus is a Healer, die lost, and go to Hell! I would rather their soul get saved and them die of cancer than for them to be healed of cancer and their soul be lost forever! Jesus said, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Mark 8:36)
5) If anyone seeks Jesus for any reason other than that they’re lost and they know they need Jesus as their Lord and Savior, they’re not seeking Jesus in a way that will lead to a personal relationship with him.
Their Carnal Desire
II. Their COUNTERFEIT FRONT 6:28-29
1) One thing you have to credit this crowd for is persistence. They won’t quit. They are hungry, and they want a meal. So, they’ll do about anything to get it, even if that means doing it their self.
A) Their Request 6:28
1) “Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?” Now, they’re getting somewhat pushy. They’ve been working for hours to find Jesus, their appetite is getting worse, and when they finally find Him, he doesn’t give them a meal, he gives them a rebuke. So their natural response is this: “What can we do to work the works of God?”
2) Their intentions, again, were dishonest. They didn’t want to work the works of God; they wanted the power to be able to produce meals like Christ produced.
3) Their hearts were like Simon the Sorcerer in Acts 8, who went along with the Apostles, even being baptized, so that he could receive the power Phillip had. He wanted to be able to lay his hands on people and they receive the Holy Spirit. Why? Because he was more interested in the POWER than the PERSON. He even offered to buy the power (cf. Acts 8:18-19).
B) The Response 6:29
1) Verse 29 says, “Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” The works of God is not about Wielding some Power; the work of God is about Yielding to a Person!
2) The “work of God” which brings “everlasting life” (vs. 27) is to “believe on him whom he hath sent.” In other words, the greatest work is NOT about making a large meal out of a lunchable; the greatest work is about making a Saint out of a Sinner. That can only be done by faith!
Transition: Their Carnal Focus; Their Counterfeit Front
III. Their CORRUPT FAITH 6:30-34
1) Now, they turn to trap Christ through scripture. Here’s what they say, “They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work? Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat.” (vs. 30-31)
2) One thing you have to say about this crowd: They are persistent and logical (in a sense).
A) The CHALLENGE (vs. 30).
1) They ask two questions: 1) What sign showest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? 2) What dost thou work?
2) Why these questions? They wanted a sign (what about feeding the multitude?); and then they wanted an answer. If working the works of God is believing in on Him (vs. 30), what works had Christ done to prove himself that he is worthy to be believed in?
B) The CONTRAST (vs. 31)
1) In the Old Testament, God’s people (Israel) were called out of Egypt to go into Canaan. Things didn’t go as smoothly as they had hoped and they ended up spending 40 years in the wilderness. But while they were in the wilderness God supernaturally provided for them. Their shoes never wore out; they had a Rock to drink from; and they had food to eat. God fed them daily with manna, bread that came down from God. For 40 years, they lived off of this manna.
2) Why does the crowd mention this? Here’s what they’re saying: “You think you’re special because you fed 5,000 people 1 meal with 5 loaves and 2 fish, but Moses fed all of Israel EVERY meal for 40 years with NOTHING!
3) Again, do you know what they are really saying? Give us another meal and prove to us that you’re the one we need to believe in; prove that you’re the one whom the Father has sent. You fed us yesterday, but we want something today, tomorrow, and for 40 years! “We want bread from heaven,” could have been their rally cry!
C) The CORRECTION 6:32-33
1) Jesus says, “Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.”
2) They were confused about the Provider. Moses didn’t give them bread from heaven; God was the one who gave them the bread.
3) They were confused about the Provision. The manna wasn’t the true heavenly bread. It only typified the true bread that was going to come. Just as the manna sustained their earthly life, God was going to send bread from heaven that would give eternal life to the world!
Their Carnal Focus, Counterfeit Front, and Corrupt Faith
IV. Their COLOSSAL FAILURE 6:34-36
1) Again, we see that their hearts are blinded by their hunger. They can’t exercise true faith because they are only concentrating on food. They hear Christ speaking about bread from Heaven that will give eternal life, and what is their response? They say, “Lord, evermore give us this bread” (vs. 34).
2) On the surface, this looks like a very honorable request. It almost appears that they have gotten what Christ is speaking about, but, sadly, we see that they didn’t. We know this because of 3 things.
A) Christ’s Declaration 6:35
1) Jesus tells them WHO the bread from heaven is. He says, “I am the bread of life”. We’re going to see that this is the FIRST of SEVEN “I am” statements that Christ makes concerning himself. In this instance, He is declaring that He is the one who came down from Heaven to give eternal life to those who would believe. He is the one who will save and sustain those who partake of Him!
2) He wasn’t talking about physical bread, but he was talking about Himself!
B) Christ’s Description 6:35
1) The multitude had just asked for this bread. No doubt, they thought Christ would simply make some type of bread appear before them, bread so spectacular that one meal would suffice a person for the rest of their life. All they would have to do is eat it.
2) Yet, we know Christ wasn’t talking about physical bread; therefore, how can one partake of bread that is no physical? How can we partake of the bread of life (Jesus)?
3) He tells us exactly how:
“…he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.”
4) Here we see a beautiful picture of how Repentance (“cometh”) and Faith (“believeth”) parallel one another. Coming and believing in Jesus are not TWO separate moves; they are one in the same. One can’t come unless they believe; one doesn’t believe unless they come.
5) In order to partake of the Bread of Life, you must COME to Him. This means a turning from Sin to the Savior, true Repentance.
6) In order to partake of the Bread of Life, you must BELIEVE on Him. You must trust Him and Him alone, for your salvation.
C) Christ’s Determination 6:36
1) Jesus said, “But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not.” Sadly, Christ looks at the crowd. He sees their hearts and he knows that they don’t believe on Him. Although they requested the bread, they don’t believe.
1) Jesus told this crowd not to labor for something that perishes, but for something that will be eternal. What are you laboring for?
2) You may have the same request in your heart today that the multitude had in their head. You may want to eat of Heaven’s bread. How do you do it? By COMING and BELIEVING! Do you believe? If so, come!