Jesus knows why the crowds are following Him. He fed them, and they want more. My granddaughter, Lillyann, is always hungry, and so am I. My father said I was born hungry and would die hungry. I told him that was true, and I planned to eat all I could in between. I frequently tell Lilly that she has just eaten when she tells me she’s hungry. Her response is, “But Gigi, I’m more hungry!!” I have to smile because I can relate.
I feel for the folks following Jesus because I imagine they were physically hungry. Food is a basic need, and Christ understood. He also knew they needed more than the fishes and loaves He had given them. He wanted them to be hungry in a different way. He wanted them to find the love God had for them.
The next day the crowd that had stayed on the far shore saw that the disciples had taken the only boat, and they realized Jesus had not gone with them. Several boats from Tiberias landed near the place where the Lord had blessed the bread and the people had eaten. So when the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into the boats and went across to Capernaum to look for him. They found him on the other side of the lake and asked, “Rabbi, when did you get here?”
Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, you want to be with me because I fed you, not because you understood the miraculous signs. (John 6:22-26 NLT)
I don’t think Jesus was angry with the people, but I do believe He was frustrated by their lack of understanding. I used to read my Bible through in a year, and it blessed me. I don’t do that anymore because the structure took away the joy of feeding on God’s Word. It became a task I had to do rather than a wonderful, unexpected, meal. Now, I relax and let God lay the “food” I need before me. I use the lectionary for guidance, but I keep my heart open for all the food God has for me. God places scriptures in my path in many ways, and I’m filled beautifully or humbly depending upon the passages and the lessons God has for me.
I’m learning to relax and enjoy the fare God provides. It’s never what I expect and often not what I want to hear, but it’s always exactly what I need. I love that about God’s Word. It’s alive as no other literature I have ever read, and I’ve read a lot of literature. The scriptures are never the same when I digest them because I am never the same when I read them.
My heart is hungry, and I pray it always will be. Jesus told His disciples to feed His sheep because He knew they would always be hungry.