“Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say to you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye ate of the loaves, and were filled. Labour not for the food which perisheth, but for that food which endureth to everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give to you: for him hath God the Father sealed.” John 6:26-27 (Read John 6:1-27)

After Jesus fed the multitudes with five barley loaves and two small fish, the people sought Him. Not finding Him where He had fed them, they crossed over the Sea of Galilee and came to Capernaum, where they found Him and questioned Him as to how He had come there since He did not leave in the boat with His disciples.

Jesus cut right to the heart of the issue when He pointed out to the people, “Verily, verily, I say to you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye ate of the loaves, and were filled. Labour not for the food which perisheth, but for that food which endureth to everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give to you: for him hath God the Father sealed.”

As Jesus told them, they sought Him out and came to Him, not because they recognized from His miracles — and now believed — that He was the Messiah, God’s Son who had come into this world to redeem them from sin and death, but because they ate of the loaves and were filled.

Jesus told them not to labor for temporal food that perishes but for spiritual food that nourishes the soul and endures unto everlasting life. Rather than seeking Jesus because He miraculously fed the crowds, Jesus told them they should be coming to Him for spiritual food — for the forgiveness of their sins and for the blessing of eternal life, which He came to provide them by offering up Himself as a sacrifice to God for the sins of the world.

Jesus’ words still ring true today. Why do people call on pastors and churches? Why do you come to the church of Jesus? Is it to hear the Word of God and learn of the salvation Jesus won for all by His innocent sufferings and death? Is it to repent of selfish and sinful ways and look to the crucified and risen Christ for pardon, forgiveness, and life eternal?

Ask any pastor, and he will tell you why his church phone lines ring and why people seek him out. Is it that they might learn the truth of God’s Word and hear of Jesus and what He accomplished for us when He died on the cross and rose again? Is it for spiritual food to nourish their starving souls? No, it is almost always for earthly food, money to pay the bills or free clothing.

Should churches aid those with such temporal needs? Certainly — according to the measure in which God enables them to do so. Our Lord Jesus healed the sick and fed the multitudes even though He desired that people come to Him for their spiritual needs — for mercy and forgiveness, for eternal life!

But churches should also speak the words of Jesus to those who come seeking only earthly food and temporal goods. They should urge those who come to seek the food that will nourish their starving souls and give them eternal life.

Churches should speak the warning words of Jesus: “Labour not for the food which perisheth, but for that food which endureth to everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give to you: for him hath God the Father sealed.”

Dear Lord Jesus, thank You for providing me with food, clothing, and all my earthly needs. But, above all, thank You for providing for me in my greatest need by Your death on the cross for my sins and Your glorious resurrection. Move me to look to You in faith for pardon, forgiveness, and everlasting life in Your eternal kingdom. Amen.

[Scripture is quoted from the Revised Webster Version of the Bible, a Bible version in the King James tradition.]

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Jesus said: “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.” John 10:11-16

What do these words of our Lord Jesus say to us today?

To pastors, it is a stern warning to shepherd God’s sheep with God’s Word. It is a warning not to abuse or neglect God’s flock but to preach and teach the whole truth revealed in the Bible and to faithfully apply God’s Word to recover the straying, to admonish the indifferent, to comfort and bind up the weak and injured, and to gather the lambs to their Savior. Those who don’t fulfill their duties will be held responsible for their failures to shepherd God’s sheep, but those who do the work entrusted to them will receive a reward (cf. 1 Cor. 4:1-2; Ezek. 34; Isa. 40:10-11; Jer. 23:1-4).

Peter writes in 1 Peter 5:2-4: “Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.”

St. Paul exhorted the pastors in Ephesus (Acts 20:28): “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.”

To the sheep, it is a reminder that Jesus, the Good Shepherd, continues to watch over our souls. He feeds and nourishes us with His Word, which reveals to us our sinfulness but also comforts us with the good news of forgiveness and life through faith in Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice on the cross.

And, indeed, He gave His life for the sheep! Isaiah 53:6 tells us: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

Jesus gave His life for us to redeem us from sin and condemnation; and with His Word, He admonishes us when we go astray, comforts us when we repent and look to Him for pardon and peace, and encourages and comforts us when we are weighed down with guilt and overwhelmed by the troubles of this life.

His Word tells us in 1 John 1:7 — 2:2: “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”

When His called ministers are faithfully doing their duty, God commands us in Hebrews 13:17: “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.”

And, of course, the ultimate goal is that we, God’s sheep, dwell with the Lord Jesus forever. The goal is that which is expressed in Psalm 23:6: “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever” (cf. Ps. 23:1-6).

And we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever when, by the gracious working of the Holy Spirit through God’s Word, we are preserved in the true and saving faith and trust in Christ and His cross alone for pardon and for life everlasting!

“Savior, like a shepherd, lead us; much we need Your tender care. In Your pleasant pastures feed us, for our use your fold prepare. Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus, You have bought us; we are Yours. Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus, You have bought us; we are Yours.” Amen. (Lutheran Service Book, Hymn No. 711, Verse 1.)

[Scripture is quoted from the King James Version of the Bible.]



“And he went up unto them into the ship; and the wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered. For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened.” Mark 6:51-52 (Read Mk. 6:30-56; cf. Jn. 6:1ff.; Mt. 14:13ff; Lk. 9:10ff.)

Should we be fearful when trouble comes our way, or should we be amazed when Jesus meets all our needs?

Jesus’ disciples were fearful when caught in a storm as they rowed their boat across the Sea of Galilee. And, when Jesus, who walked to them on the water, entered the boat and the winds stopped, they were amazed. Why? Because they hadn’t considered and grasped the miracle they had just seen: the feeding of more than 5,000 with a few small loaves. Their hearts were hardened and they failed to recognize who Jesus is and to trust in Him, the Bible tells us.

What about us? Are our hearts hardened? Are we fearful when we have bills to pay and not enough to pay them? When we become sick or face death? When troubles come? Or storms? Or threats of war and unrest?

Do we look at things with our hearts hardened? Or do we remember who is with us always, even to the end of the world (Matt 28:20)? Do we say, on the basis of hardened hearts, “What are they among so many?” (John 6:9), or do we give thanks and leave the rest to our God and Savior?

Do we not realize that Jesus is God the Son in human flesh? He created all things with His almighty Word, and there is nothing too hard for Him (John 1:1ff.; Jer. 32:17). He fed thousands with a few loaves and fish. He healed the sick, opened the eyes of the blind, cleansed lepers, made the lame whole, and even raised the dead. When He tells us not to worry but seek first His kingdom (Matt. 6:25ff.), should we be afraid? Should we be full of doubts and fears?

And when He intervenes and grants us help, healing, strength, and all that we need, do we see and recognize His helping hand? Or are we astonished and surprised when we do see Him at work?

Have we considered what He did for us on the cross? Do we doubt that atonement has been made for all our sins and forgiveness won? Do we doubt that He gives us to partake of His sacrifice for us in the Lord’s Supper? That all our sins are washed away and we become God’s children through our baptism?

Consider the price He paid. Consider that our redemption is finished, as He said (John 19:30). Consider that when we trust in Him, we are “accepted” and “have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” (Eph. 1:6,7).

O Spirit of God, open our hearts and minds to see Jesus, to recognize Him for who He is, and to trust in Him and all He has done for us. Grant that our hearts not be hardened but accepting and trusting of the truth. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

[Scripture is quoted from the King James Version of the Bible.]



“And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.” John 9:39 (Read John 9:1-41)

Could it be that your own opinions and beliefs are keeping you from knowing and trusting in Jesus as the promised Messiah and Savior of the world? Do you turn from Him and reject His mighty work as your Savior because He, somehow, doesn’t fit into your religious views and ideas?

When Jesus healed a man born blind, the blind man came to know and believe that Jesus was indeed the promised Christ and the Son of God spoken of in the Scriptures (cf. Ps. 2:7). But the Pharisees, even though it was indisputable that Jesus had opened the eyes of the blind (cf. Isa. 42:7), refused to believe in Him and had even agreed that anyone who came to believe in Jesus as the Messiah would be put out of the Jewish synagogue. Because Jesus had made clay and healed this man on the sabbath, they said He was not of God and called Him a sinner.

Thus, a man born blind was given sight — both physical and spiritual — and came to know and trust in Jesus as the Son of God and his Savior from sin. The Pharisees, on the other hand, though they could see with their eyes and knew of Jesus’ mighty working, refused to see and believe that Jesus is the Christ and the Savior of the world. Their own religious views and opinions blinded their eyes to the truth which was so clearly revealed to them. Thus, they forfeited the forgiveness and life Christ Jesus won for them.

But what about you? Do you let your own religious views and opinions keep you from coming to Christ Jesus in faith? Are you so convinced that God will accept you on the basis of your own religious works that you do not see your utter sinfulness and the salvation Christ Jesus freely won for you when He fulfilled all righteousness and then suffered and died on the cross for the sins of the world (cf. 1 John 1:7 – 2:2; 1 Tim. 1:15)? And if Jesus were to come to you today, would you reject Him if He did not observe your church traditions and teachings or worship in the same way as you?

The clear and unmistakable truth revealed to us in the Bible is this: We are all sinners and have come short of what God requires of us; Jesus is the Christ, true God and true man; He fulfilled all righteousness for us; He suffered and died on the cross to pay for the sins of all and rose again; In Christ Jesus and for His sake, God is gracious and merciful to sinners and freely offers and gives to all who believe His pardon, forgiveness and life everlasting.

When God graciously opens our eyes and brings us to know and believe these truths and we place our faith in Jesus, we have His pardon and forgiveness and everlasting life. When we shut our eyes to these truths and refuse to believe in Jesus, we die in our sins and will suffer the eternal torments of hell (cf. John 3:16,18,36; 8:24; Mark 16:15-16; 1 John 5:11-12).

Do you see Jesus for who He is and what He has done for you, or are your eyes blinded by your own views and opinions?

Open my eyes, O Lord, and let me see Jesus for who He is and trust in Him for forgiveness, life, and eternal salvation. Amen.

[Scripture is quoted from the King James Version of the Bible.]

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“When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat? And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do.” John 6:5-6 (Read v. 1-15)

Why does God test us in seemingly impossible situations? It’s certainly not because God doesn’t already have a plan in mind. And, it’s not to see what we’ll do, for God already knows that too.

So why does God test us? To teach us to trust Him in every situation! That’s why Jesus questioned Philip as to where they could buy bread to feed a multitude of more than five thousand who had followed Jesus to this remote spot along the Sea of Galilee.

Philip’s answer illustrated the situation’s seeming hopelessness: “Two hundred pennyworth [denarii] of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little” (John 6:7).

In another parable of Jesus, a denarius is used as a full day’s wage, so Philip’s answer is equivalent to saying that even 200 days’ wages would not be enough to feed this crowd, even a little.

When Andrew mentioned the lad with five barley loaves and two small fish, the disciples assumed this was nothing compared to the need, but Jesus had the men sit down. He gave thanks to God for the food He had provided. Then Jesus distributed the food to His disciples and His disciples to the people. All ate to the full, and they gathered up twelve baskets of leftovers.

In the book of Exodus, we see that God also fed the people of Israel in a seemingly impossible situation in the wilderness, providing mana in the mornings and quail in the evenings. But God also tested the people and taught them to trust by providing only enough manna for each day so that they might learn to trust in Him each day for their daily bread.

In Exodus 16:4-5, we read: “Then said the LORD unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no. And it shall come to pass, that on the sixth day they shall prepare that which they bring in; and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily.“

God provided enough manna each day for His people and, on the sixth day, He provided enough for two days so they could rest on the Sabbath. Of course, some people did not trust in the LORD and gathered more than they needed for the day, and the leftover manna bred worms and stank. Some tried to gather on the Sabbath, but there was none (cf. Ex. 16:17-30).

So also, in the Lord’s Prayer, we pray: “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matt. 6:11).

Jesus also teaches us the same when He tells us not to worry about what we will eat and drink or what we will wear in Matt. 6:25ff. After telling us to seek first His kingdom and righteousness (v. 33), He says, “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof” (v. 34).

When we consider the feeding of the five thousand with only five barley loaves and two small fish, we certainly see a miracle and proof that Jesus is the almighty Son of God in human flesh. But we also learn that God would have us trust Him in seemingly impossible situations, give thanks for what He has provided, and rely upon Him to care for our every need (cf. Prov. 3:5ff.). We are to “be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let [our] requests be made known unto God” (Phil. 4:6). We may find the situation impossible, but God already has a plan in mind!

We remember also that, as sinners, unable to measure up to the demands of God’s holy law, we all stand condemned. Our situation is impossible and hopeless.

But God provided a way for us to be saved. He sent His only Son into this world as a true man. Jesus kept God’s commandments for us, perfectly and without sin, and then He suffered our just punishment when He died on the cross for the sins of the world. Though all seemed hopeless, He rose again on the third day in triumph over sin, death, and the devil, and through faith in Him, we sinners are pardoned, forgiven, and given eternal life (cf. John 3:14-16).

Our situation was impossible, but God had a plan. He sent His Son Jesus to be our Savior!

Dear Lord Jesus, forgive us for failing to trust in Your power and willingness to help us in every situation. Teach us always to come to You and to trust in You for all our needs, both earthly and heavenly. Amen.

[Scripture is quoted from King James Version of the Bible]

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