It is very frustrating to be lost, but it is even more frustrating to be lost and not know it. Have you ever been on a trip and been on the wrong road and not realized it until you have driven a long way in the wrong direction?
The people in John chapter six were like many today—they were in constant pursuit of things. They were lost and didn’t know it. Jesus wanted to free them, just as he wants to free us from this obsession for things. That’s why he gave the Bread of Life talk – to rescue us from the emptiness of life.
Christ taught the people that they were empty if they did not have him. He told them that he could rescue them from the emptiness of life. Once his followers understood their utter emptiness, they would want him. They asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” (John 6:28). Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” (John 6:29).
They asked what kind of works they had to do to get the Bread. Jesus responded by saying there is no physical work you can do. You just need to believe in me.
This may be one of the biggest hindrances to understanding the Gospel. We grow up feeling like we have to earn respect and success, so why not salvation. Jesus says all you have to do is just believe, and that’s it. So in a sense, we have to unlearn this lie before receiving eternal life.
Suppose we invite some guests to our house for a Sunday lunch. It is a great meal. We go all out for them—preparing a favorite meal. I put steaks on the grill, and Marilyn makes all the sides, green salad, baked potatoes, and some pies. We all enjoy the meal and have a wonderful time visiting.
Then our guests announce that it is time for them to go home. But, before they do, they take out their wallets and ask, “How much do we owe you for this?” I respond emphatically, “You don’t owe us anything!” They insist, “We most certainly do! We always pay our way! How much do we owe you?” They even throw some money on the table.
Just a mention of payment in such a setting would be a serious insult. Yet, the insult of doing something to earn the gift of eternal life is a greater insult. Jesus is the Bread of life, and all we have to do to receive this Bread is believe.
Jesus declared, “I am the Bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty” (John 6:35).