In chapter 6 of the Gospel of John we find the account of Jesus feeding over five thousand people. John records how this miracle impacted the twelve: “Then those men, when they had seen the sign that Jesus did, said, ‘This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world’” (John 6:14 NKJV). John says that Jesus then went away by himself because the people wanted to “. . . come and take Him by force to make Him king” (John 6:15 NKJV). John then adds an application to this event later in chapter 6. Sometime later that evening, Jesus and the apostles went across the Sea of Galilee to Capernaum. The next morning, people who had been in the crowd got into boats to find Jesus. When they found Him, He gave this critique of their motives: “You seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you . . .” (John 6:26-27 NKJV). Jesus was saying that the people were guilty of seeking the “blessing” more than the “Blesser.” They wanted to find Jesus not because the miracle had opened their eyes to who He was, but because they were pleased with the benefit that being with Him brought to them.
We are often guilty of the same thing. Our prayers are often filled with lists of things we desire rather than with words of praise for our Sovereign King or words of conversation with our Faithful Friend. Instead of allowing the Bible to be the “Gospel food” that whets our appetite for more time in God’s presence, we are satisfied to find an answer to a question or a boost for our emotions. As John quoted Jesus, we are looking just to be filled but not seeking the One who alone can fully fill forever.
This is the point that Mary Lathbury made in her Gospel hymn, Break Thou the Bread of Life.
Break Thou the bread of life, dear Lord, to me, as Thou didst break the loaves beside the sea.
Beyond the sacred page I seek Thee, Lord; my spirit pants for Thee, O Living Word.
Jesus, the Living Word – the Bread of Life – makes Himself known to us and feeds our souls through the written word – the Bible. But knowing Bible facts or truths alone is not what we need. I heard someone pray recently that the Lord would deliver us from “dead orthodoxy – being right in the head but wrong in the heart.” We can have a lot of Bible knowledge without that knowledge leading us to the Source. The written word was given so that we might know and love the Living Word.
Break Thou the bread of life, O Lord, to me, that hid within my heart Thy Word may be.
Mold Thou each inward thought, from self set free, and let my steps be all controlled by Thee.
This is the point that is made in Psalm 119: “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11 NKJV). The purpose of the written word is that we hear from the Spirit of the Living Word and open ourselves up to being changed from the inside out.
Open Thy Word of Truth that I may see Thy message written clear and plain for me.
Then in sweet fellowship, walking with Thee, Thine image on my life engraved will be.
This is also the point that the apostle Paul made when writing to the Corinthians. God is not interested in us just knowing about Him, but in our transformation as we spend time with Him. “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:18 NKJV).
O send Thy Spirit, Lord, now unto me, that He may touch my eyes and make me see.
Show me the truth concealed within Thy Word; and in Thy Book revealed I see the Lord.
May the Spirit of God do such a work in us that we will “. . . pant for Thee, O Living Word;” that all our steps will be “. . . controlled by Thee;” that His “image on [our lives] engraved will be;” and that in Him we will truly find our “. . . peace, [our] all in all.”
Bless Thou the truth, dear Lord, to me, to me, as Thou didst bless the bread by Galilee.
Then shall all bondage cease, all fetters fall, and I shall find my peace, my All in All.
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