Editor’s Note: The AMI QT Devotionals from August 23-4 are provided by Joanna Tzen.
Devotional Thought for Today
Going back John 6: verses 26-35
Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. 27 Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”28 Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”30 So they asked him, “What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? 31 Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”32 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven.33 For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.””34 “Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.”35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe.
You might not guess that I am a Facebook “stalker,” since I almost never post, but I do pop up here and there liking photos. My favorite posts are from my friends about their babies. Usually if the children are toddlers, the funniest are not when they are cute and well-behaved, but when there’s some sort of meltdown or mischievous activity. These meltdowns are often brought on by the wise, logical, and compassionate actions of their parents (like removing dangerous objects or putting them down for a nap).
The passage above picks up after Jesus crossed the lake of Galilee after a full day of teaching—the sheep came for the Good Shepherd again. However, Jesus wanted the crowd to know that He wasn’t an earthly leader who had come to solve all of their problems or provide material things, but that He was so much more. First, he begins by telling them that they need to work for bread that will not spoil. The people ask about the work in v.28, and Jesus says it is to believe. They then take Jesus’ words literally and ask for this bread. When Jesus begins to tell them that He is the bread of life, they reject Him. It is as if the crowd wants to do more than believe, be it through a set of rituals or reliance on their lineage. They also see Him through earthly eyes as Joseph’s son (v.42). They reject Jesus’ offer that the work is already done for those who believe in Him.
It is clear that Jesus was not the savior that the people wanted. They wanted a worldly hero to save them from political oppression at the time and provide earthly comforts. In this day and age, particularly during the Presidential election cycle, even we as believers are not that different.
Are we only looking to Jesus for solution to our worldly concerns? What if He is saying, in His compassion, that He does see these concerns, but He is asking us to look beyond the temporal—that He provides, more importantly, what is eternal? He cares so much more about who we are becoming as Christ-followers over our temporal comfort. I am not trying to dismiss any of the very real hurt and pain we will experience in this world, but asking us to allow the Good Shepherd and Heavenly Father to remind us of what will endure over what will fade away
May we ask the Lord to replace our earthly eyes with a heavenly perspective, so we will not return to the former ways of thinking (Gal 4:9), such as reliance on self. Let us ask the Lord to mature and strengthen us in our faith, so that we will not be like children tossed in waves of circumstance and lies of the Enemy (Eph. 4:14).
Prayer: Lord, are there times when I see Jesus as the crowd did and care more about my comfort than following the Savior? May you open my eyes to situations where You are asking me to follow You even though it may be difficult. Help me to depend on You and trust You. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Luke 1
Lunch Break Study
Read John 10:11-3: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. 13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.”
1 Peter 5:2-4: Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; 3 not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. 4 And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.
Questions to Consider
- What makes a hired hand different than a shepherd?
- Read 1 Peter 5:1-4. What does Peter instruct of those who are shepherds in the church?
- How can we learn from the Good Shepherd?
- A shepherd lays down his life for the sheep, while a hired hand abandons the sheep to save his own life.
- Shepherds are instructed to watch over their flock, eagerly serve, and be examples to the flock. They are not to have a begrudging heart in serving, pursue dishonest gain, or lord their authority over others.
- We can only shepherd well when we understand how the Good Shepherd laid down His life for us to give us life. Then we can lay down our lives for others.
Ask yourself these questions and pray: Were there situations today where I behaved more like Philip in calculating the cost before trusting the Lord? Did I have trouble following the Good Shepherd today because I was afraid? If so, Lord, please forgive me and help me to see how You are trustworthy. As tomorrow is a new day filled with new mercies (Lam. 3:22-3), I pray your Holy Spirit would enable me to better remember Your character and promises.