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Monday, July 1, 2013
Today’s Reading | John 6:16–27
When evening came, his disciples went down to the sea, got into a boat, and started across the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. The sea became rough because a strong wind was blowing. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they were terrified. But he said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.” Then they wanted to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the land toward which they were going.
The next day the crowd that had stayed on the other side of the sea saw that there had been only one boat there. They also saw that Jesus had not got into the boat with his disciples, but that his disciples had gone away alone. Then some boats from Tiberias came near the place where they had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks. So when the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum looking for Jesus.
When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” Jesus answered them, “Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for 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 for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal.” (NRSV)
In the story above, Jesus tells a crowd of his followers that they have followed him not because they saw his wondrous deeds of healing the sick and multiplying loaves and fish, but because they ate their fill of food. In other words, Jesus, seeing right into their hearts, knows what motivates them to follow him. He knows that they are looking for benefits. Following Jesus, for this crowd of people, is not an end in itself but is a means to another end.
We may have multiple and different motivations for following Jesus Christ. Taking the opportunity to teach the crowd, Jesus says, “Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life.” Jesus’ words remind us that although temporary benefits can attract all of us, faith based on temporary benefits will not enable us to follow Christ through the ups and downs of life, through good and bad times. Accompanying Christ to the cross takes a faith that is rooted in a love for Jesus Christ as the Son of God and not as a means to some other end.
Good and gracious God, you are the source of all good things. You offer me so many gifts in and through your son Jesus Christ. I am sorry that I sometimes confuse the gift of Jesus Christ himself with the other benefits made possible by him. Correct my foolishness, God. Fill me with the right appreciation, and make this the basis of my faith. In the name of your precious Son, I pray. Amen.
Written by Joyce Shin, Associate Pastor for Congregational Life
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