The next day the crowd that was left behind realized that there had been only one boat, and that Jesus had not gotten into it with his disciples. They had seen them go off without him. By now boats from Tiberias had pulled up near where they had eaten the bread blessed by the Master. So when the crowd realized he was gone and wasn’t coming back, they piled into the Tiberias boats and headed for Capernaum, looking for Jesus.
When they found him back across the sea, they said, “Rabbi, when did you get here?” Jesus answered, “You’ve come looking for me not because you saw God in my actions but because I fed you, filled your stomachs—and for free. “Don’t waste your energy striving for perishable food like that. Work for the food that sticks with you, food that nourishes your lasting life, food the Son of Man provides. He and what he does are guaranteed by God the Father to last.” To that they said, “Well, what do we do then to get in on God’s works?” Jesus said, “Throw your lot in with the One that God has sent. That kind of a commitment gets you in on God’s works.” They waffled: “Why don’t you give us a clue about who you are, just a hint of what’s going on? When we see what’s up, we’ll commit ourselves. Show us what you can do. Moses fed our ancestors with bread in the desert. It says so in the Scriptures: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”
Jesus responded, “The real significance of that Scripture is not that Moses gave you bread from heaven but that my Father is right now offering you bread from heaven, the real bread. The Bread of God came down out of heaven and is giving life to the world.”
They jumped at that: “Master, give us this bread, now and forever!” Jesus said, “I am the Bread of Life. The person who aligns with me hungers no more and thirsts no more, ever. I have told you this explicitly because even though you have seen me in action, you don’t really believe me. Every person the Father gives me eventually comes running to me. And once that person is with me, I hold on and don’t let go. I came down from heaven not to follow my own whim but to accomplish the will of the One who sent me.”
John 6:22-38 MSG
Everyone loves free samples. And many companies are happy to give them away. You can practically have lunch just by walking though the grocery store and feeding off the samples they are giving away for free. If you ask the average person though, most of them are not interested in purchasing the product. They're just looking for some free food.
It seems these folks we read about in John 6 were doing the same thing. After Jesus fed the 5,000, they came looking for Him. But just like running for free samples at the grocery store, these folks really weren't interested in making a commitment to Him and 'purchasing the product'. They were just looking for some more 'free samples'. They were only looking for Him to meet their earthly, worldly needs. Nothing more. Nothing deeper.
Jesus recognized this and basically said, "I get it. You're here because I fed you. But, listen, God sent me not just to feed your bellies but to feed your souls. I AM THE BREAD that will keep you satisfied your whole life. Come after this Bread. Go deeper with me. Make a commitment to me. Buy the 'Product'!"
How many of us take this 'free sample' approach with God? We aren't really interested in throwing our lot in with Him, taking the plunge of commitment, and following Him. We're really just looking for Him to make life a little easier for us. We want Him to meet our earthly needs, but nothing more, nothing deeper.
But Jesus says the same thing to us: "Don't stop there! Don't just want me for provision. I Am sooo much more than that! I Am the Bread that will feed you for a lifetime! I Am the Gift that keeps on giving. I Am offering you more than just free samples. I Am offering you LIFE! Take the plunge! Make the commitment! Buy the Product!"