Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” – Jn. 6:32-33 NIV
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Today’s Devotional is the second part of the Devotional with the same title where the people who enjoyed free meals through the miracle of Jesus Christ, traced him to Capernaum and on finding him, accused him of being unreachable. He let them know that the search for him was not for reasons of the signs that they saw but because of the full meal that they received during their last encounter with him, advising them to focus more on the food that will be eternal rather than the one that can go bad. In response to their request to be shown how to access this eternal food, he told them that all they need to do was to believe in the One that was sent by Jehovah – Jn. 6:11-29. Since that was all they needed to do according to Jesus, they sought for proof to the effect that he was the sent One, and as expected, the proof had to be the provision of food. He had to provide them with food for them to believe he was the sent One, after all, and according to them, Moses provided their ancestors manna in the wilderness as a proof of his relevance, a claim which they even backed with the appropriate scriptural reference – Jn. 6:30-31; Exo. 16:4. Jesus Christ instantly corrected their interpretation of the scriptures making it clear that Jehovah it was, that provided the bread and not Moses, adding that a better bread had come from that same source that was going to give them life – Jn. 6:32-33. In their usual manner, they again asked that he gives them the bread but his response this time did not go down well with them – Jn. 6:34. He told them that he was the bread that was in reference which made them to start grumbling, wondering why the one whose family members they know would claim to have come from heaven. This was the same person whom they had earlier acknowledged as the one from heaven and would have even made him their king, had he not escaped from amongst them – Jn. 6:14-15. His crime here was his unwillingness to continue to satisfy their earthly desires and his attempt at directing their thoughts heaven-wards.
No wonder there are so many large congregations today whose main message is around the issue of prosperity. The reason for this no doubt is the desperate desire of most people who claim to be Christians to prosper. Salvation based messages will almost certainly make many of them retrace their steps. This is not to say that there are not people who are salvation minded in many congregations but just a reference to the desire of majority to remain with Christ only when there is a chance that their earthly desires will be met.
Jesus Christ was not against their desire for prosperity and same position remains today. He just wanted them to be aware of two basic facts;
- That it is Jehovah God that provided the manna and not Moses. This mis-understanding remains with several Christians today who are quick to reference and acknowledge their leaders as the reason behind their earthly achievements. They therefore go ahead to express their appreciation to such people more than they do to Jehovah through His Church. That man of God may indeed have been the one that was seen during those prayer sessions, but the real power behind the answered prayers and received blessings is Jehovah and it is to him that ALL appreciation MUST go to. Today’s religious leaders are more prosperous than the church of God as all appreciation that should get to them through the Church now goes to them directly with crumbs brought before Jehovah in the name of Thanksgiving by the beneficiaries of His Grace. The average Christian may choose to appreciate a leader gifting such a vehicle but finds Jehovah worthy of a token that is given to the Church in the name of Thanksgiving. It should be made known that there is nothing wrong in gifting the leader but then, ALL appreciation should always go to Jehovah through His Church.
- That they will be better off looking for the bread of life that came from heaven. That was however a message that was not of interest to them. Whether prosperous or not, the message to the Christian at all times should highlight the vanity of all earthly achievements with the more important goal being for such to be rich, heaven-wards – Matt. 6:19-20. That obviously is a message that the people then and now are unwilling to listen to. Jesus Christ did not come to make Christians reign in this world (Jn. 18:36-37), but to make them rich heaven-wards and this is a fact that many have refused to preach today because it will not grow their earthly congregation. Rather than acknowledge their unwillingness to accept such messages, the people may choose to ridicule such ministries and their leaders, but the truth remains that all earthly possessions are vanity upon vanity – Eccl. 1:2. The one who is coming to Jesus Christ must think heaven-wards, even if there is a desire to achieve earthly success. It is better to be poor on earth and be rich heaven-wards than the reverse, yet it is still possible to be rich in both lives. All that needs to be done is to sincerely seek the kingdom of God and its righteousness and without doubt, every other thing will be added at a measure strictly at the discretion of Jehovah – Matt. 6:33; Deut. 8:18.
Never stop believing in the One He sent and you can have the best of the two worlds. May God give us the wisdom to order our priorities correctly in Jesus name. Amen.