bread:day 2

[Read & meditate on John 6. How does Jesus respond to the people? Does this surprise you?]

It does seem kind of strange. Jesus has a ministry that is attracting over 10,000 people and he basically tries to get away from them, and when he can’t, he gets rid of them! He tries to go up the hill, he sneaks across the water, and they keep coming, so he calls their bluff. Jesus points out that all they want is to have their stomachs filled, and what he wants is to have their lives filled. It must have been incredibly disheartening for him. They were so focused on the stuff that they wanted that they couldn’t see the reality that was right before them! The one they were waiting for was right there, offering them real life, and they were more interested in bread.
It’s as if they just wanted Jesus to make life easier for them. They were oppressed by Rome and they wanted to turn the tables–they missed the point. So Jesus just let them walk away–he didn’t chase them down, he didn’t soften the message–he let them walk away. Doesn’t he love them? If he truly wants what’s best for them, why doesn’t he make it easier for them to accept? Why won’t he try to do everything possible to win their hearts? Maybe he did, but when our eyes are on ourselves and not him, we don’t see it. Maybe we aren’t so different.
I wonder if we as Americans have bought into some of the same ideas and have somehow equated being a Christian with living the American Dream. We want Jesus to meet our needs–rather to make us comfortable and to give us what we want. Think about it. If we struggle, if we suffer, if we have needs, etc. our assumption is that God isn’t blessing us. We aren’t “successful.” The bigger the church is the better, more spiritual, more effective we think it is? Is this really true? The passage I just read tells me that Jesus took a mega-church (10,000+) and reduced it to about 12 in one day. Around here, he would be fired immediately and sent on his way–probably never to be offered a ministry position again!
Check out the lyrics to this song by Switchfoot:

“American Dream”

When success is equated with excess
The ambition for excess wrecks us
As top of the mind becomes the bottom line
When success is equated with excess

If your time ain’t been nothing for money
I start to feel really bad for you, honey
Maybe honey, put your money where your mouth’s been running
If your time ain’t been nothing but money

I want out of this machine
It doesn’t feel like freedom

This ain’t my American dream
I want to live and die for bigger things
I’m tired of fighting for just me
This ain’t my American dream

When success is equated with excess
When we’re fighting for the Beamer, the Lexus
As the heart and soul breath in the company goals
Where success is equated with excess

‘Cause baby’s always talkin’ ’bout a ring
And talk has always been the cheapest thing
Is it true would you do what I want you to
If I show up with the right amount of bling?

Like a puppet on a monetary string
Maybe we’ve been caught singing
Red, white, blue, and green
But that ain’t my America,
That ain’t my American dream

So what am I really living for?
Is it life or just stuff?
Do I want what Jesus wants?