On the following day, when the people who were standing on the other side of the sea saw that there was no other boat there, except that one which His disciples had entered, and that Jesus had not entered the boat with His disciples, but His disciples had gone away alone... when the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, nor His disciples, they also got into boats and came to Capernaum, seeking Jesus. And when they found Him on the other side of the sea, they said to Him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” Jesus answered them and said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not labor for food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life…” (John 6:22, 24-27)
Jesus had just performed the miracle of feeding the five thousand. The same people who were fed followed him across the sea the very next day, looking for Him. They notice that the discple's boat is there but Jesus didn't go with them. There was no other way that Jesus could have crossed the water to Capernaum. So when they found Jesus, they asked him, "Rabbai, how did you get there?"
But Jesus ignored that question. He doesn't answer. Instead, he addresses the thoughts and intents of their hearts.
John 6:26 Jesus answered them and said, "Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled."
This is absolutely the most predictable intention of ALL human nature, bar none. We seek for what God can do for us, what God can give us. We have entire movements with this same mentality, where droves of people seek God for miracles, healings, prosperity, and blessing. We call it faith movements, but He calls it selfish pursuit.
Jesus exhorts us in John 6:27: "Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you.."
Yet the church has done nothing but seek for food which perishes. We go to great extent to seek for the things that make our lives on earth a little more comfortable, whether physically, emotionally, or spiritually. Wouldn't it be terrible to stand before Jesus someday and have Him expose the selfish intention of our hearts?
We say, "Lord, we have followed you all the way to heaven..."
And He would answer, "You followed me all the way here, not to see Me or be with Me, but to go to heaven. You only followed me here because you wanted heaven. Your motive was selfish."
How many of us can truthfully say, "I really don't care what happens to me personally; I just want to see God get His way." We would all like to say this is true. But honestly, we care deeply about what happens to us. We care deeply about our state of happiness. We care enormously about how much God is blessing us.
In His self-righteousness and self-defense, Job cried out: "Though God slays me, yet will I trust Him!"
Yet that declaration turned out to be nothing but pretense. When his body was smitten with boils, he poured out 30-some chapters of complaint against God about the unfairness of his treatment. His heart was proven to be selfish and his previous declaration false. Job didn't know his own true intentions, but God did, and proved it so.
Just because you say, "Jesus is Lord," doesn't make it so. Just because you sing "Jesus is Lord" and really meant it when you sang, doesn't make it so. "Lord" is the title for a person or deity who has AUTHORITY, control, or power over you. He is your master, chief, and ruler. Whatever He rules over you is entirely His decision and not yours. If Jesus is truly your Lord, if He decided to make your life wood for His fire, you have no say for or against it. He is Lord.
God knows the true intention of each heart apart from what is declared. This is why Jesus said to the Jews who went through great troubles to follow Him to Capernaum, "Do not labor for food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life.."
The last generation of Christianity in America, which we call the Faith movement, has been nothing but a generation of heal-me, feed-me, bless-me Christians that labor for food which perishes.
All food that pertains to the physical, temporal realm, is food that perishes. Lazarus was raised from the dead but he still died. The Israelites ate manna in the wilderness but still died. You may be healed of cancer but that miracle is still the food that perishes. It's a healing that lasts for 20 or 30 years at the most but you will still die someday. Jesus said to stop laboring for these things.
Instead, he said we should labor for "the food which endures to everlasting life." (John 6:27)
What is this food??
Matthew 4:4 But He answered and said, "It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God."
The food that endures to everlasting life is the Word of Truth.
Life comes by Truth. Jesus labors for Truth. He lived and died for Truth. In the same way, He exhorts us to also labor for Truth.
Psalm 77:19 Your way was in the sea. Your path in the great waters. And Your footsteps were not known.
The psalmist was hinting at a tremendous concept about God: His paths are not known. They are absolutely hidden. Water in the Bible represents truth. God's path is in great waters; places of great truth. His will is not found in the shallow places. His heart and mind is not exposed in dry land. His ways are hidden in deep truths.
The only way to find God, and to know His ways, is in the great waters - the place of great truth!