It wasn’t just a free lunch, it was a sign! The story we started last week continues (John 6:24-35). The crowd find Jesus again on the other side of the Sea of Galilee. Having seen his healings, and eaten the food provided, we might hope that they see the point – but no!
The reading explains how easily this can go badly wrong! Jesus had fed the 5,000, the gathering of leftovers pointing to a great miracle. He had resisted being made King. Now, when the crowd catch up with him again, he tries to point them in the right direction – not to another free lunch, nor to revolutionary politics, but to the life and gifts of God.
They ask, “What must we do?”, and Jesus wants them to believe. He can tell them and lead them, but they must listen and learn. Sadly, the motivation is lacking. “Why should we bother with you?” “What proof do you offer?” (the lunch has been forgotten quickly) “We have Moses . .” There are plenty of retorts, but little understanding.
Jesus points out that it wasn’t Moses who gave manna in the wilderness, but God. God, who gives life, and Jesus the bread of life. Do they want what only God can give, or not? You can see the offer, but also that it is not going smoothly. That story will be continued.
Take a moment to recognise the different responses of Jesus’ disciples and the crowd among people you know. For some their response to what God gives is: “How can I get more for myself?” “Why should I bother to do as Jesus says, or try to behave like him?” Others are ready to receive and learn. We are supposed to be those who know, and do, better.