I've been working on a Zoom Bible study I'll be teaching the next couples of weeks, on the Gospel of John. As I was working on the study, there was something in chapter 6 that made me laugh.
In the first 21 verses of the chapter 6, Jesus has performed two miracles: He has fed 5000+ people with five loaves and two fish and walked on water. Prior to that, He had performed a number of miracles and taught in a number of towns/synagogues, so He'd built up a following.
The day after the feeding of the 5000 picks up in verse 22.
The same crowd from before has come seeking Jesus again. Not because they believe what He has said about Himself or what He is about to say, nor do they seem to understand what the miracles demonstrate about Jesus. Rather, they seek Him because they are hungry people who got a good meal the day before.
What follows is, genuinely, a funny conversation.
Jesus tell them they're looking for the wrong kind of food (v.25-27). They've come to the right source, just with the wrong reasons.
"Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life..."
The crowd, in verse 28, asks, "What do we need to do in order to receive this kind of meal?"
Jesus' response, "Believe in Him whom He (the Father) has sent."
And they say back to Him, "Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe?"
This exchange is hilarious and tragic for a couple of reasons:
Jesus says, "Believe in Me". Effectively, "Believe what I'm telling you and about to tell you." This is the same guy that the crowd had just proclaimed was the "Prophet who is to come into the world" -- which, if you're curious about what that means, it is the fulfillment of a promise from Moses back in Deuteronomy. And 15 verses ago they were on the verge of making Jesus king. So, they must have believed something about Him yesterday.
Their response, "Show us a sign and then we'll believe" demonstrates that they are immediately missing the point of what He's just said.
And funniest of all, JESUS LITERALLY FED 5000 OF THEM WITH FIVE LOAVES OF BREAD AND TWO FISH. And they still have the audacity to ask for a "sign".
I can imagine the look of exasperation on Jesus' face.
There is a good opportunity for some Lenten introspection. We should evaluate our own spiritual condition. Ask yourself, "When I come seeking Jesus, what am I really looking for?" When you've answered that question, then ask yourself, "Even if Jesus told me what I need, am I spiritually prepared to receive it from Him?"