As I’ve worked my way chronologically through the Gospels, I’ve noticed how Jesus keeps telling His disciples that they don’t understand. For instance, when Peter asks Jesus to explain a parable about unclean food in Matthew 15, Jesus replies, “Don’t you understand yet?”
And just a little bit later, when the disciples start arguing about the yeast of the Pharisees, Jesus says in exasperation, “Don’t you understand even yet? Why can’t you understand that I’m not talking about bread?”
Then in Mark 6 after Jesus walks on water, gets into the disciples’ boat, and calms the wind, the text says that “They were totally amazed, for they still didn’t understand the significance of the miracle of the loaves. Their hearts were too hard to take it in.”
Now if I had been one of Jesus’ disciples, I might have started taking offense at His constant accusations. What do you mean, Jesus? My heart is too hard to take in this miracle? Just how stupid do You think I am??
So by the time I got to Jesus’ words in John 6:26 — “I tell you the truth, you want to be with Me because I fed you, not because you understood the miraculous signs.” — I started to think that for all the thousands of years and countless sermons and Bible commentaries standing between me and those poor dense disciples, perhaps I don’t understand the big picture, either. Maybe I don’t understand the significance of it all.
Because His miracles still amaze me. And because His power still impresses me. And because, truthfully, I can only echo the words of Jacqueline in the movie Ever After: “I’m only here for the food.”
All I know is that I keep coming back to Jesus because He feeds me.
In this passage Jesus is talking to some of the 5000 He’d fed the day before. They had witnessed His wonders. They had seen His signs. Yet Jesus knew they weren’t there for the right reasons; they were only there for the food.
And I start to wonder, do I really understand this Jesus business?? Or am I completely missing the point?? If I’m only here because He feeds me, what is it that I’m not quite getting??
But then Jesus seems to go off the deep end in verse 35 and claim that He’s the bread of life. Huh?? The bread of life? As in, getting my nourishment from Jesus? You mean that maybe, just maybe, the way I survive is the way Jesus actually wants us to survive??
So maybe I’m not too terribly far off base here. Maybe it’s ok that I’m only here for the food, that I’m only here for the Bread of Life. I still might not understand the true significance of the miracles, but He feeds me, and that’s all I care about.
I’m with Peter, who, when asked just a little while later if he was going to desert Jesus like so many others had, answered, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life.”
Amen to that, Peter. I’m putting a stake in the ground along with you. For truly, Lord, to whom would we go? You are our food and You are our drink. You are the True Bread that came down from Heaven, and we’re only here for You.