The One Whom the Father Sent
We now have a long discourse of our Lord to the people he fed with five loaves and two fish just the other day. John is the only one who records it, and because it is so long, we shall break it up into five sections. It is necessary to do so as there is so much theology here to explain.
The crowds come seeking Jesus, but not because they want him, but because, as Jesus said, they “ate [their] fill of the loaves.” In other words, they’re hungry again, as we all are several hours after we eat a meal. This, of course, is normal and there are many people around the world who are truly hungry, so we should not belittle this. The point here is that these people were looking, not for a Messiah to save them from their sins (which is the real problem and the result of which that so many people in our world are hungry), but for a “bread Messiah,” that is, someone who would provide for all their material needs that they may live a life of ease. This is not why God sent His Son. So Jesus tells them, “Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.” Then Jesus adds a crucial statement, “For on him God the Father has set His seal.” A seal in the ancient world was an imprint in wax or soft metal to indicate either ownership or authentication. In other words, Jesus is God’s real, true, and only Son, and as stated in Hebrews 1:3: “the exact imprint of [the Father’s] nature.” Here is Trinitarian theology explicitly expressed by Jesus to his listeners: The Son is the second person of the Godhead; the Spirit being mentioned later in the Gospel (John 14-16).
When they ask what they must do to be doing the works of God, Jesus answers, that they “believe in him whom [God] has sent.” Of course, this belief is a belief that results in works of love, but saving faith comes first. They then ask Jesus to do a work that they might believe him, as though feeding five thousand with five loaves and two fish weren’t enough. They refer to the manna their fathers ate in the desert which Scripture calls “bread from heaven,” but they are still focused on their stomachs. Jesus tries to turn their attention to the “true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” They say that they want this bread – always.
But as we shall see, they really don’t. Jesus will offer himself to them in exchange for their very souls. But they do not want him; they want bread. So the question is, “Is Jesus enough for us?” Do we require, “Jesus and….”