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The Scriptorium

Rightly Seeking

Jesus tells us what to seek.

The Gospel of John: John 6.22-40

Read and meditate on John 6.25, 26.
When the people finally caught up with Jesus, they wanted to know when He had arrived. But He knew that was not what was on their hearts most of all, and He got right down to business with them.

                                                25They found Him then,
and asked Him, “Rabbi, when did You come here?”
26But Jesus answered them and said, “Now hear
Me, for I say to you, you seek Me, not
because you saw the signs, although these ought
to have been the reason. No, you ate the bread
I freely gave you, and were filled. 27Instead
of seeking food that perishes, you should
work for the food that lasts, that is, the good
food, which the Son of Man will give to you,
which gives eternal life. The Father, Who
has set His seal on Him will make it so.”

- John 6.25, 26

1.  The people address Jesus as Rabbi. We’ve seen that this means “Teacher.” What does this suggest about how much they have understood about what Jesus has been teaching? Is this necessarily a bad thing? Explain. Complete this prayer: Lord, I realize that it can take time for people to understand fully Who You are and what this means for them. Give me patience, so that…

2.  Jesus did not answer the people’s question. Why not? Was He just rude? He turned their question back on them, because, as we’ve seen, Jesus knows what is in every person (Jn. 2.24, 25). Why was Jesus so abrupt with these people? It’s not always easy to discern the thoughts and intentions of people’s heart, Lord. As I’m talking with others about You, help me…

3.  In verse 26, Jesus exposed the improper motives of the people. Why were they seeking Jesus? Were they looking through “the signs” He had done, to see Jesus for Who He is, or where they stuck on the signs only? What does this suggest about the hearts of people? We’re all basically self-seeking and self-serving Lord, but please, do not let me…

4.  Notice how, in verse 27, Jesus deftly connects their ulterior motive for seeking Him with His own mission to them. He makes a bridge from their self-interest to His purpose. Suggest some ways you might do this with people in your Personal Mission Field. Help me to keep focused on You and the gift of eternal life, Lord, as I’m…

5.  Meditate on Ephesians 1.13, 14. What “seal” had God set on Jesus? What was Jesus promising to give these people? In what sense was this “food”? Do we who know Jesus still need to “labor” for this “food” (cf. Phil. 2.12)? How? Bring together into one prayer the prayers you wrote from questions 1-4.

“So he who had fled to the mountain mixes and converses with the multitude. Only a little while before they would have kept him and made him king.… But after the sacrament of the miracle, he begins to teach … and fills their souls with his word whose bodies he had just satisfied with bread—provided they take it in. And if they do not, let that be taken up which they do not receive so that the fragments may not be lost.” Augustine (354-430 AD)

Jesus interprets the feeding of the multitude as a sign, indicating that He had been sealed with God’s Spirit to offer the gift of everlasting life to the people. He met their temporal need, but meeting the temporal need was only a pointer to the greater “food” He could provide. How should churches try to connect doing good in their communities with the Good News of the Kingdom?

Closing Prayer
What shall I render to the LORD
For all His benefits toward me?
I will take up the cup of salvation,
And call upon the name of the LORD.
I will pay my vows to the LORD
Now in the presence of all His people.
Precious in the sight of the LORD
Is the death of His saints.
O LORD, truly I am Your servant;
I am Your servant, the son of Your maidservant;
You have loosed my bonds.
I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving,
And will call upon the name of the LORD.

Psalm 116.12-17

Psalm 116.7-14 (Mit Freuden Zart: All Praise to God Who Reigns Above)
Full well the Lord has dealt with me; my soul from death He delivered.
My weeping eyes, my stumbling fee, He has redeemed forever.
Forever I before His face shall walk with those who know His grace,
And dwell with them forever.

Afflicted, I believe His Word, though lying men would undo me.
What shall I render to the Lord for all His blessings to me?
Salvation’s cup I lift above and call upon the God of love
And pay my vows most truly.     

T. M. Moore

We are happy to offer each week’s Scriptorium studies in a free weekly PDF, suitable for personal or group use. You can download all the studies in our series on the Gospel of John by clicking here. Please prayerfully consider sharing with The Fellowship of Ailbe through your giving. You can contribute to The Fellowship by clicking the Contribute button at the website or by sending your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 19 Tyler Drive, Essex Junction, VT 05452.

Jesus is the Centerpiece of all Scripture, as He Himself explained (Jn. 5.39). But how can we learn to see Him there? How do the primary themes of Scripture revolve around Jesus? Our online course,
Introduction to Biblical Theology, shows you how best to get at, get into, and get with the Word of God, so that you can grow more consistently in the Lord. It’s free, and you can study at your own pace. For more information or to register, click here.

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from
The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series IV a and b: John, edited by Joel C. Elowsky, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006. Verse translation of John by T. M. Moore.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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