Have you seen the show “Chopped” on the Food Network? Four chefs are given baskets of mystery ingredients and 30 minutes to create a dinner out of what they’ve been given. They must provide enough for 3 plates so each of the judges can taste their creation. It is interesting to see their creativity as they cook these meals in such a short time, but they only have to cook for three people. What if they had to cook for a crowd? Say….5,000 people? Impossible? For them, yes. For Jesus, no.
Jesus fed a crowd of 5,000 using only the contents of one boy’s lunch box. Not only that, John chapter 6 tells us that there was more left over than what He started with! After this amazing display, the crowd followed Jesus to the next town. They were not only looking to see what miraculous thing He might do next, but now they wanted to get in on the next free meal (John 6:26)!
When Jesus confronted them over this rather shallow motive for following Him around, they asked “What must we do to do the works God requires?” He simply answered “The work of God is this: to believe in the one He has sent” (John 6:28, 29). The most surprising part of this chapter of John’s gospel is not the miracles (Jesus is, after all, God in the flesh). The most surprising thing that happened that day was the answer the crowd gave to Him. They asked Jesus what miraculous sign He would now do so that they would believe in Him! On top of that, they had a suggestion…another free meal! They pointed back in their history to God’s daily provision of the bread (manna) they ate during their years in the wilderness after the exodus from Egypt. They were steering the conversation back to asking for another free lunch. Incredible.
Jesus responded to this request by stating “I am the bread of life” (John 6:35). Jesus told them that He is the source and sustainer of life. They need Him, not lunch! He is heaven’s greatest provision. He doesn’t merely satisfy our stomachs for a few hours, until the next meal. He satisfies our souls completely and forever, providing us with eternal life!
People then (like now) were focused on the temporary solution to their physical needs, always asking for more. In the process they missed who Jesus really is and what only He can provide for us. He came to meet our greatest, deepest, eternal need and they were asking for another sandwich!
This Thanksgiving, we pause and thank God for the many ways He provides for us. We thank Him for His physical provision, celebrating with a Fall Feast. This is good to do and we should participate in this process together. Yes, enjoy your dinner, have seconds, and try both pies. As you do, remember that in celebrating God’s past provision, we also look ahead and acknowledge our continuing dependence on Him for our “daily bread”.
As we celebrate this provision with gratitude, let’s be careful. As we reflect on our physical needs, don’t miss who Jesus truly is and what He actually offers to us… the bread of life. He is indeed the source and sustainer of this life. He is also the provider of eternal life.
When Jesus told the crowd that day about the spiritual need He came to meet, they were confused, bored, and frustrated. They walked away because He wasn’t doing for them what they wanted, expected, or demanded. Jesus then turned to the 12 disciples and asked “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Peter replied “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy one of God” (John 6:68-69).
As you eat with family and friends this Thanksgiving weekend, look closely at the dinner rolls. Express your gratitude to God for His provision of your daily bread; bread for life. Then embrace His Son, the Bread of Life. This will last longer than a meal will, He offers life eternal!
Contact us at harrowbaptistchurch.com if you have questions about having Jesus as your source of life, or come join us on Sunday morning at 10:00 as we worship together. We would be happy to see you.
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