Jesus challenges our transactional approach to faith, urging a shift from seeking material gains to embracing a deeper, relational spirituality rooted in trust and commitment.
John 6:25-29 — Relational Spirituality — Aneel Aranha
Hello and welcome to the Bite-Sized Gospel with Aneel Aranha. Today we will reflect on John 6:25-29. Listen.
When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, "Rabbi, when did you get here?"
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. 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."
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."
When the crowd finds Jesus on the other side of the lake, they question him about his whereabouts. It's a natural question, one that we may have asked. But Jesus, perceptive as always, sees beyond the surface. He says, "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" (John 6:26).
Jesus understands the human tendency to seek God for material or worldly gains. It is a tendency that often blinds us to the spiritual nourishment that God offers. With a gentle admonishment, Jesus tries to get them to shift their gaze onto higher things. "Do not work for food that spoils," he urges, "but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man — I — will give you" (John 6:27).
Let us spend a moment contrasting what Jesus offers with what the world offers. What Jesus offers is imperishable; what the world offers does not survive. What Jesus offers is eternal; what the world offers is temporary. Jesus challenges the crowds —and also us— to reorient our priorities and seek that which truly matters.
The crowd's response is telling: "What must we do to do the works God requires?”, they ask (John 6:28). Yet again, we see the tendency toward performance-based spirituality. We often think in terms of actions and rewards, duties and merits. And again, we see Jesus trying to change this mindset. He says, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent" (John 6:29).
Jesus reframes the concept of "work" in a spiritual context. The "work" isn't about rituals, moral achievements, or religious duties. It's about faith. It's about trust. It's about a relational commitment to Jesus as the one sent by God.
Paradigm shifts aren't easy, but let us try to understand the things Jesus is trying to explain and move away from transactional spirituality toward relational spirituality. This comes only by spending time with Jesus.
God bless you.