In the first half of John 6, we find two of Jesus’ most talked about miracles, the feeding of 5,000 and His walk across the storming sea. After these miracles, in verses 25–36, we come across an incredible conversation between Jesus and some of those from the mass feeding the night before. The crowd, who “had eaten their fill” (6:12), were once again hungry and seeking more food. They must’ve been very hungry, or the original Wonder Bread was miraculously good, because the quest for bread wasn’t a short one, requiring the people to take boats to Capernaum in an attempt to find Jesus.
Once the people found Jesus, he spoke in a way that displayed His Divine knowledge, as he could see their hearts’ intentions. Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves.” Jesus was aware that these people didn’t desire Him, but only what He could give them. He desired more for them. The same is true today. He desires more for us.
Jesus then spoke to the hunger they were currently experiencing, “Do not work for the food that perishes.” Jesus knew that there was so much more available for these people than temporary satisfaction. He then said, “but [work] for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you.” I imagine they were thinking, “What kind of food can the Son of Man give us that will never go bad? I want that!” Immediately the people’s attention eagerly turned to how they could possess such an amazing food, saying, “Sir, give us this bread always.”
Always? Jesus wasn’t looking to give them a bread to eat whenever they were hungry, but was communicating that he had a way to rid them of future hunger or thirst. Jesus responded, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” What kind of food was Jesus offering to them? He was offering them the only thing that could possibly give them fulfillment. He was offering Himself.
In this day and age, it is easy to find ourselves caught in the never-ending quest for fulfillment. This hunger can even lead us to temporarily seek fulfillment in things that seem good; such as family, community, success, etc. However, just as those who had eaten their fill when Jesus fed them, within days, or maybe even hours, we can find ourselves hungry and in need of fulfillment once again. Today, Jesus extends the same grace-filled invite to you and me, “Whoever comes to me shall not hunger.” In Him we find a “food that endures to eternal life.”