After Jesus had fed the five thousand men, His disciples saw Him walking on the sea. The next day, the crowd that remained across the sea saw that there had been only one boat there, and that Jesus had not gone along with His disciples in the boat, but only His disciples had left. Other boats came from Tiberias near the place where they had eaten the bread when the Lord gave thanks. When the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor His disciples were there, they themselves got into boats and came to Capernaum looking for Jesus. And when they found Him across the sea they said to Him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?” Jesus answered them and said, “Amen, amen, I say to you, you are looking for Me not because you saw signs but because you ate the loaves and were filled. Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.” So they said to Him, “What can we do to accomplish the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in the One He sent.”
BELIEVE IN THE ONE [GOD] SENT. After the people have eaten of the bread and fish that Jesus multiplied, they wanted to carry Him off to make Him king. Jesus, however, knowing their plan, withdrew to the mountain.
The people, however, are determined, and as the Gospel recounts, they come to Capernaum to look for Jesus. They do not grasp the deeper meaning of the miracle because of their too materialistic concern. They run after someone who can satisfy their hunger. Jesus tells them plainly: “You are looking for Me not because you saw signs but because you ate the loaves and were filled.”
The multiplication of the loaves as “sign” is not just a manifestation of Jesus’ power; it points to something “greater” that Jesus wants to give: The “living bread” that sustains not just physical life but something more, something spiritual: Life with God. Jesus is that bread, but to draw close to Him is to “work”—that is, to have faith and trust in Him. It is to remain with Him even if some of His revelations are “hard” to accept.
We sometimes limit God’s grace to material favors. Can suffering and difficult moments not be occasions for God’s blessings, too?