And when they found Him on the other side of the sea, they said to Him, “Rabbi, when did You come here?”
Jesus answered them and said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.
Do not labour for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.”
Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?”
Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”
[John 6:25-29 NKJV]
If Jesus walking on the water was a miracle for the disciples; Jesus appearing ‘on the other side of the sea’ with no apparent means of His getting there, was a miracle of a difference sort, but nonetheless astounding to those people who had been fed by Jesus and wanted to know more of Him.
Those people of course represent us; folks who have seen Jesus, maybe only briefly but have been intrigued or touched by His presence or His word, perhaps even experienced healing or comfort from Him — and we want to know more. In a sense, He becomes addictive; and I mean that because Jesus is very difficult to let go, once you have met Him.
And we all want to know what we should do next. What is the next step, Jesus? What shall we do?
This ‘need to do’ is very much ingrained into most of us, and Jesus answer is the very antithesis of all that our work ethic tells us. Jesus says ‘that you believe’. Believe that Jesus is exactly who and what He says He is ‘the son of man’ and ‘the son of God’.
At this point, I am reminded of a trip to the theatre in Glasgow as a boy to see a production of J M Barrie’s ‘Peter Pan’, starring Julia Lockwood as the eponymous hero. Those of you who know the play will know that there comes a point where the children are asked to believe in fairies to save poor Tinkerbelle. I think we all had to shout “I believe in fairies”, and of course the tiny spotlight that represented the fairy grew brighter and brighter and we all cheered at saving a tiny life — albeit an imaginary one.
Why do I mention this? Possibly to try to deal with the naysayers who equate Jesus with a fairytale and not real. A figment of our minds; a primitive need to explain what we do not understand. I can only say that 25 years ago I might have thought in such a way ...
But now, I find myself convinced beyond a doubt that He is more real than I could ever have envisioned. Since I accepted Jesus as Saviour and Lord, so much has been transformed. A lot of it has been painful and difficult, to be sure — He has to turn us inside out and upside down to make us just like Him — but it has been a small price for me to pay for Him, when He paid such an enormous price for me.
“All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.”
[John 6:37-38 NKJV]
My personal life may be crowded with small, petty incidents altogether unnoticeable and mean, but if I obey Jesus Christ in the haphazard circumstances, they become pinholes through which I see the face of God and when I stand face to face with God I shall discover that through my obedience thousands were blessed.