“So they said to him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’ ” Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.” (John 6:30-34).
I’m sure you have often heard the expression, “What have you done for me lately?” It expresses an ongoing entitlement mentality that is always looking to receive one more thing, or in the case of Jesus and His identity as God, one more miracle to prove what already has been proven, but not believed.
Or what about the saying “Seeing is believing.” The reasoning is that you must prove to me what you’re saying is true by showing me something. Let me see something that proves what you say is real and I will believe.
Well, you know what happens. The individuals in question want to have one more thing done, or what has been already shown to them is not sufficient for them to believe. Such was the case in John 6:30-34. The people who the previous day had witnessed an astounding miracle in the feeding of the 5,000 testifying to the identity of Jesus Christ as God now want to witness another miracle.
They request another sign. In fact, the grammar indicates that they were not looking for just one sign at one particular time but rather an ongoing series of signs. The sentence could read, “what signs will you continue to perform that we may see and believe you?” Or, “what work will you continually perform?” We want to see another miracle, and another, and another, etc. There weren’t satisfied with what Jesus had already revealed about Himself, they wanted more.
They even give Jesus an example of the type of miracle they require. They cite the manna God provided to the Israelites during the Exodus. They even cite Scripture by saying, “‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’ (Exodus 16:15; Numbers 11:7; Psalm 78:24).
Dr. John MacArthur explains the Jews perspective. “The crowd’s logic appeared to be that Jesus’ miraculous feeding (John 6:1-14) was a small miracle compared to what Moses did. In order for them to believe in him, they would need to see him feed the nation of Israel on the same scale that God did when he sent manna and fed the entire nation of Israel during their wilderness wanderings for 40 years (Ex. 16:11–36). They were demanding that Jesus outdo Moses if they were to believe in him. They quoted from Ps. 78:24.”
Jesus’ response was that it was not Moses who gave Israel the bread for 40 years but rather it was God. However, that bread was temporary. Jesus’ statement was not unlike His reference to the water in Jacob’s well from John 4. The Father, in reference to God, gives you true bread from heaven. True bread is reminiscent of “living water.” Notice the tenses of the words “gave” and “gives.” God gave Israel physical bread during their wanderings through the wilderness. He now “gives” spiritual bread or nourishment through faith in Jesus Christ.
Dr. MacArthur adds, “The manna God gave was temporary and perished and was only a meager shadow of what God offered them in the true bread, Jesus Christ, who gives spiritual and eternal life to mankind (“world” vv. 33, 51).
The Jews response was again not unlike the response by the woman at the well in John 4:15. “They said to him, ‘Sir, give us this bread always’.” They were thinking solely in physical terms and failed to understand the spiritual and eternal implications of what Jesus was saying.
It was in response to their demand of Jesus that He give them an ongoing supply of physical nourishment that Jesus plainly said, “I am the bread of life.”
Has Jesus nourished your soul not only as the living water but also as the bread of life? Receive the spiritual nourishment that only Jesus can give by repenting of your sin and receiving Jesus Christ by trusting, committing, depending and worshiping Him as Lord and Savior.
Soli deo Gloria!