Day Three Hundred Five, Mark 6-7, Luke 9, John 6-7, Matt. 14-15
Today's reading begins with one of the stories that I remember learning in my earliest days in church, that of Jesus feeding the 5,000. Interesting to note that Scripture says there were 5,000 men present, so there easily could have been twice as many people when you count the women/children. Regardless, the fact is that there was a MASSIVE amount of people that needed to be fed. Jesus took five loaves and two fish and when He was done with it, each person ate until full, and there were twelve basketfuls of food left over. Again, we see our Lord providing, and providing in abundance.
That evening after everyone has eaten, the disciples (sans Jesus) get in the only boat and go across to the other side of the sea. So in the morning when the crowds are looking for Jesus and He is nowhere to be found, they are confused as to how He got across the sea. (For some reason it didn't occur to them that He might've just walked across it?)
When the crowds find Jesus on the other side of the lake, "they asked him, 'Rabbi, when did you get here?' Jesus answered, 'I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs, but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.' Then they asked him, 'What must we do to do the works God requires?' Jesus answered, 'The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.' So they asked him, 'What miraculous sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? Our forefathers ate manna in the desert; as it is written: "He gave them bread from heaven to eat."' Jesus said to them, 'I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.' 'Sir, they said, 'from now on, give us this bread.' Then Jesus declared, 'I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.'"
Indeed, not only is Jesus desirable as the Bread of Life, He is the only Bread that will sustain us. Without Him, we are dead in our sins. With Him, however, we will live forever. He continues to teach the followers with these words:
"I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever."
This was a difficult teaching for many of His followers to hear, and at this point, they quit following Him. Jesus asked His disciples if they wanted to leave too, and I absolutely love Peter for his response to that question: "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God."
Lord, to whom shall I go but You?
Or, as we sing in one of my favorite old hymns, "Where could I go but to the Lord?"