Seeking the Giver, Not the Gift
Sin can corrupt anything. We would think that to seek Jesus would always be a good thing, but Jesus points out in the event recorded in our text that people can seek Him for wrong purposes.
Initially we observe that people were following the Lord (vv 1-2) “because they saw the signs which He was performing on those who were sick.” The signs Jesus did were, at least in part, to show that He was the Son of God. For a person simply to come around to be “entertained” by Jesus’ miracles would be to miss the point. Jesus was not a magician going around “wowing” people.
Jesus saw the need of this large crowd of about five thousand which was following Him and fed them from the five loaves and two fish (you remember the story). He took care of their bodily needs. Following this miracle, Jesus separated Himself from them because they wanted to make Him king by force. First He went up a mountain to be alone, and then He started walking on the sea to cross to the other side. He joined the disciples in their boat, and “immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.” However, the crowd followed Him around the lake.
At this point, Jesus stands up to them with this rebuke: “...you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.” Amidst all the wonderful signs which Jesus was doing, they could only think of filling their stomachs! They could not see that the signs were pointing to something greater. Jesus says, “Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you...” (v 27).
Today we can seek Jesus for all of the “goodies”: good health, decent job, protection, long life, etc. - even salvation. Although Jesus promises to bless us, to seek Him simply to get these things is merely to indulge our desires and miss the point. And note this very carefully. Jesus did not say to seek Him for eternal life, but for the “food” which endures to eternal life. That food is Jesus Himself! “I am the bread of life.” (v35). The Giver is the real gift.
Seek the Giver. Get to know Him. He will take care of you.