Monday of the Third Week of Easter
The next day, the crowd that remained across the sea saw that there had been only one boat there, and that Jesus had not gone along with his disciples in the boat, but only his disciples had left.John 6:22
Whoosh! Jesus vanished like the wind without leaving a trace. Gazing across the Sea of Galilee, any “footprints” would have dissolved instantly in the crashing waves.
Not that the people fed by Jesus on the mountain surmised that the rabbi walked across the sea—what utter nonsense!—though he did miraculously multiply five loaves and two fish. Who knew what else Jesus could do? Like a collective Sherlock Holmes they noted (A) only one boat had been docked, (B) Jesus had not gone in the boat with his disciples, and (C) Jesus was missing.
Other boats came from Tiberias near the place where they had eaten the bread when the Lord gave thanks. When the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they themselves got into boats and came to Capernaum looking for Jesus.John 6:23-24
A brigade of boats rowed hotly in pursuit of their bread king.
And when they found him across the sea they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?”John 6:25
Not knowing what to make of Jesus’ appearance on the other side of the sea, the baffled people skirted the question, “How did you get here?” with a superficial “When?”
Genuine, disinterested wonder in the marvels and person of Jesus was lacking in the crowd. Rather, impelled by fickle appetites, they chased him down for another free meal.
Jesus answered them and said, “Amen, amen, I say to you, you are looking for me not because you saw signs but because you ate the loaves and were filled.John 6:26
Signs point beyond themselves to an imperishable good beyond the fleeting undulations of hunger and satiety. The miraculous bread of the outdoor picnic was supposed to stimulate the deepest hunger of the human spirit.
Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him the Father, God, has set his seal.”John 6:27
Bodily hunger necessarily drives people to work for food, but spiritual hunger is easily dulled and forgotten. Jesus presented himself, the Messianic “Son of Man,” as the very imprint of God the Father. Like an official declaration stamped and sealed (sphragizó) by the signet ring of a king, Jesus declared himself to be the very countenance and Word of God.
So they said to him, “What can we do to accomplish the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent.”John 6:28-29
What kind of work is “believing” (pisteuó)? In the Hebrews Hall of Fame, Enoch is praised for believing, and Abraham for his extraordinary faith and obedience (Hebrews 11:5-12). Believing is not merely a cognitive assent, but a wholehearted trust in God even when his commands are incomprehensible, as with the sacrifice of Isaac.
The “work” of believing is exemplified by Mary, Mary Magdalene, the women disciples, and John the Beloved standing at the foot of the Cross on Calvary. Like Abraham poised to slay his son on Mount Moriah they stood, not knowing the outcome of the crucifixion three days later.
Standing with Jesus in the best and worst of times surpasses logic and reason. Faith is a relationship and commitment to a person, Jesus Christ.