man searching for truth October 14 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading: Mark 6:45-46; Matthew 14:22-36; John 6:16-24; John 6:25-71


People who are truly poor search for the most basic necessities: food, clothing, and shelter. Perhaps by the world’s standards you are not poor. What are you searching for in this life? Are you looking for something material like a new car or an entertainment center? Are you looking for a good job, a good mate, wealth, prestige, or success? Are you looking for meaning in life? Where can it be found?

In Jesus' day the common Jews were poor, and many were slaves. They wanted someone who would feed them and save them from Roman oppression. Could this be Jesus, they wondered? Jesus genuinely cared about them and healed their diseases. Jesus miraculously fed 5,000 men plus women and children by multiplying a mere five loaves of barley bread and two fish (this was our last Bible study). Surely someone with such compassion and power would be able to provide for them and deliver them. They were quite impressed with Jesus and wanted to make him king. Unfortunately, they had the wrong motivation for knowing Jesus. They sought political solutions to their problems. Don't we do the same thing? If we can just get the right politician in government he/she will save us from our problems. Jesus recognized their wrong motivation and sent them away.

That same night Jesus sent the disciples away on a boat. He wanted to spend time alone, praying to God, his father. Later that night, Jesus joined the disciples by walking on the waters of Galilee. The disciples had been rowing hard against a strong wind on the lake, and now they were fearful of him, thinking that he was a ghost. Jesus told them not to be afraid because it was he, not an apparition. Impetuous Peter asked to join him walking on the water. Jesus told him to come. He took a few steps on the water but then became fearful, took his eyes off Jesus and began to sink. He cried out to the Lord to save him, and he did. Peter and the other disciples forgot that Jesus was able to do the impossible; they forgot how powerful he was to multiply the loaves and fish. It might be tempting for us to be critical of the disciples until we remember that we, too, are human and are often subject to fear when situations seem impossible. We also quickly forget the things God does for us. Remembering these things gives us faith; forgetting them leaves us fearful. We become fearful and begin to sink when we take our eyes off Jesus.

The next day the crowd came back looking for Jesus. They knew the only boat on the shore carried Jesus' disciples away, but Jesus did not go with them. Not finding him by the shore, they took off on boats and found him in Capernaum. Jesus knew, however, why they were searching for him. “Jesus answered, ‘I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill,’” (John 6:26, NIV).

Why do we seek Jesus? Do we follow Jesus for what we can get out of him? Some people associate themselves with Christians because they know they are kind and generous like Jesus. Christians are sometimes easily deceived but Jesus is not. Jesus said to the crowd,

“Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”

Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”

Jesus answered, “'The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent,” (John 6:27-29, NIV).

The answer Jesus gave to the crowd was not to work for their salvation but to believe he was sent from God to give his life for the world. Every parent knows how Jesus feels. Mom and Dad want love from their child or teen, not because parents have the ability to give them things, but because they gave them life and love. What is our motivation for seeking God?

To weed out the true followers from those who only followed Jesus for personal gain, Jesus expressed himself to the crowds and his disciples in a way that was interpreted as reprehensible. Jesus said he was the bread of life that came from heaven, and that people needed to eat him and drink his blood to have everlasting life. That sounded like cannibalism. People were disgusted and confused with Jesus, and they left him. Even some of the larger group of his disciples left him. What did Jesus mean when he said that they needed to eat him and drink his blood to have everlasting life? We know what he meant because Jesus later explained to his twelve disciples the meaning in John 6:63: “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life,” (NIV). In partaking of his flesh and blood, Jesus meant to convey spiritual truth; He is the source of life, the bread from heaven who gives spiritual life to everyone who trusts (or partakes of) him for their salvation. Our search for meaning in life is complete in him. If we seek him and seek to do his will, we will find meaning in life.

Lessons to live by:

  • Remembering what God does for us gives us faith; forgetting his faithfulness leaves us fearful and we begin to sink.
  • Love God for who he is, not for what he can do for you.
  • Meaning cannot be found in things, accomplishments or people; it is only found through a personal relationship with our creator, God. We can have a personal relationship with God through his Son Jesus Christ. Only He can fill the void within our souls. (more...)

Today’s Bible memory verse:

John 6:27 “Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval." (NIV)

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