Labour For The Imperishable Bread
Written by Rev (Dr) Prabhudas Koshy Thursday, 06 April 2017
22 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; 23 (Howbeit there came other boats from Tiberias nigh unto the place where they did eat bread, after that the Lord had given thanks:) 24 When the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, neither his disciples, they also took shipping, and came to Capernaum, seeking for Jesus. 25 And when they had found him on the other side of the sea, they said unto him, Rabbi, when camest thou hither? 26 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. 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. 28 Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? 29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.
2 Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. 3 Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.
he day after the feeding of the five thousand, the people recognised that something strange had occurred. There had been only one boat the day before and the disciples had left in it without Christ (v.22); yet in the morning He was nowhere to be found. They did not know that the Lord walked on the water and entered the boat to go across the sea. The crowd finally located Jesus in Capernaum and asked Him when (and presumably how) He had gotten there (v.25). Our Lord used this opportunity to teach an important truth, based upon the miracle He performed the day before. Firstly, Jesus exposed their error saying that their eagerness was not because they believed on Him as the Messiah but because they wanted Him to help grant them more physical satisfactions (v.26).
So, He challenged them not to labour for perishable food but for the imperishable food that offered eternal life (v.27). Jesus was sent as God’s gift to man that through Him they may have eternal life. When the people wanted to know how they might “labour” to obtain eternal life (v.28), they were undoubtedly thinking in terms of performing some meritorious deed or deeds so as to merit divine approval and ultimate salvation. Their question to Jesus reflected the Jewish thinking that resulted from false rabbinical interpretations of the Old Testament that strict practices of their tradition would lead to their salvation.
The Lord answered that the “work” which man needs to perform is really not a work at all (v.29). He said, “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” The work that God requires of them is just to believe in Christ. God would provide full salvation by the merits of His Son, and He offers this finished work of His Son to man freely for the taking. Man’s faith is not a “work” in the sense that it implies effort which achieves some earned result, but is man’s response to the work which God has performed through Christ, His unique and divine Son.
Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and that is our duty.
Lord, may I always seek You more than anything else.