What’s Your Motive for Following Jesus

The following advertisement once appeared in a London newspaper; “Men wanted for hazardous journey. Small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful.” This advertisement was signed by Sir Ernest Shackleton, Antarctic expl … More

Motives

The sixth chapter of the Gospel of John is the setting for one of the great discourses of our Lord, on the “bread of life.” This discourse takes place in the synagogue at Capernaum. The people demanded that Jesus perform a greater sign than Moses (vv. 30-35). They must have felt that the feeding of the 5000 did not compare with the manna that fed the whole nation for 40 years. They did not realize that the Father, not Moses, gave the manna. Jesus tries to explain to them that the manna, which Moses offered, is different than the “Bread of Life,” which is capable of giving eternal life. The crowd had the wrong motive, as they wanted the bread so they would not have to work in order to maintain life. People today also want Jesus only for the benefits He will give them.

This whole episode stresses that man always seems so dumb when trying to reason with God. The people questioning Jesus were the very same ones whom He had miraculously fed a few days previously. Now we find them asking for a sign, and then, to make the issue more ridiculous, they asked for a sign similar to Moses feeding Israel with manna. It seems that they were asking for an ongoing free lunch, just as the manna continued for forty years. Again, Jesus returned their thinking to spiritual issues (v. 32). We tend to think they meant physical bread, like that eaten at the feeding of the five thousand, but Jesus repeated His stress on the once for all nature of this spiritual meal (v. 35). When we ponder this fact we can only conclude that He was saying that whoever is once saved has no need of further salvations, yet man seems to find it difficult to accept this wonderful gift, maybe because it does not allow for his ability to contribute towards his own salvation.

Application

As stated above, many people in our churches today want the Lord for what benefits they can receive from Him. I need to ask myself - What was my motive in coming to the Lord and what are my motives now for following Him?

John 6:30-40 (English Standard Version)

So they said to him, "Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, 'He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'" Jesus then said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world." They said to him, "Sir, give us this bread always." Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day."

View this passage in NIV (Bible Gateway) »