Jesus answered them, “Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves.
John 6:26 (NRSV)
I have watched the YouTube video above multiple times. I’m not alone. It’s at 25 million views and still going. The moment is compelling (especially for someone with hearing difficulties) and emotional at the most raw human level. A deaf person hears for the first time. I have yet to watch it without tears welling up in my own eyes.
Now I think about Jesus walking around the Sea of Galilee performing miracles. Take this YouTube video and multiply it. See moments like this over and over and over again in real time. The deaf could hear. Lame people got up and walked. Blind people could see for the first time. And, best of all, Jesus conjured up shore lunch of fish sandwiches for everyone!
Jesus was the best gig in town. Entertainment like no one had every seen along with great storytelling, free food and free health care! No wonder the crowds were following Him in droves. He was riding a tidal wave of public opinion. He was the biggest game in town. He was bigger than Trump! More generous than Bernie!
And then, Jesus does the strangest thing. He walked away. He left quietly in the night. He got out of Dodge without telling anyone where he went.
The crowd was frantic the next morning. They went after Him. Searched for Him. Scattered around the country side until they found Him. They wanted more. Don’t we always want more? More entertainment! Bigger miracles! Bigger is always better. More is always better. Faster is always better:
“Do something new, Jesus! We’ve seen you heal blind people. Yada, yada, yada. You do it all the time. Tears. Astonishment. ‘I can see!’ It’s getting old. Hey, I know! How about growing an eyeball in an empty socket!? That would be totally cool. Haven’t seen that, yet. Oh, and by the way: Can you conjure up something other than fish sandwiches for lunch? At least add some tartar sauce or something? Do you have a gluten free option? My wife has dietary issues.”
I find it fascinating that Jesus didn’t question the motives of the people. He saw them clearly and he, flat out, exposed what those self-centered motives were. Then…Jesus gets all weird:
“…unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them.”
So…no more miracles? I guess shore lunch is out of the question today, too? Crap. Let’s get out of here. Obviously, the guy is a crackpot. Miracles were cool, sure, but the guy is talking nuts like some cannibal. Oh well, at least I got one free meal out of the deal.
Along my journey I’ve come to realize that my motives for seeking Jesus will largely determine the outcome of Who I find.