The people in Bethsaida are confused. After the miraculous feeding of the 5,000 in that town on the previous day, only one boat left that night to cross the Sea of Galilee and Jesus was not on it — only His disciples were. Yet, today, Jesus and His disciples are all gone. (These people are, of course, unaware that Jesus walked across the water and met up with the ship such that He arrived in Capernaum along with His disciples during the night).
The curiosity of the people leads them to board ships themselves and sail across to Capernaum to look for Jesus. When they locate Him, they begin asking questions about how and when He got there. Had these people been interested in learning how to save their souls, Jesus would have been pleased with their persistence in finding Him, but He perceives that they have a different motivation:
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you.” (John 6:26-27)
Jesus knows that these people are primarily interested in being near Him because He has just demonstrated that He can produce a large meal and feed everyone. Who wouldn’t go out of their way for a free meal?
But, as you and I know, this is not the reason to be near Jesus (or for people to come to church today). While it’s nice to get a free meal, the satisfaction of that only lasts a short time. What Jesus is offering (through The Church of Jesus Christ today) is a type of meal that satisfies for eternity — salvation and everlasting life.
As I read about the people described above, even though I know that they’re unbelievers, I still have to say that I personally find it very difficult to identify with anyone who would choose food over miracles. If I come to church and I’m asked whether I want to be seated in the dining room where I’ll be assured of being fed or in the first row of the sanctuary where I’ll be able to witness (or even be part of) a miracle of God, I wouldn’t even have to think about my response: One seat in the miracle section, please!
Does the Lord still perform miracles today that we can witness? Well, consider these things that have happened across the Church in just the past few weeks:
- A brother diagnosed with pancreatic cancer has been anointed many times and appears to be well on the road to recovery.
- A young lady from a church family was scheduled for surgery to remove a hematoma that had grown to the size of a baseball. Many prayers were offered for her during the night, and when she went for the surgery the next morning, the hematoma was gone, leaving the doctor scratching his head.
- A sister was stricken with a condition that caused her to be paralyzed from the chest down. She was sent home from the hospital with little hope offered that she would ever walk again. She was anointed at her home and was immediately able to walk!
The Lord is still very much in the miracle business today! So, as you look forward to the next gathering of the Church, don’t think of it as just some type of friendly get-together or a place to get a free meal (if lunch is being served).
Instead, think of it as an opportunity to be close to Jesus and witness what He does. Pray in advance that the power of God will be present such that people will be converted, prayers will be answered, and even miracles might occur. And then, go and take your seat in the miracle section and be ready to be filled in a way that will surpass any meal that’s being served in the dining room.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.