In John 6 there is a detailed account of the feeding of a multitude with loaves and fishes. The story is familiar, it is the one miracle recorded in all four gospels. Afterwards they cross Galilee, it is evident that Jesus has a great number of followers (would-be disciples!) at this stage; he chides them, “Do not labour for the food that perishes but for the food that endures to eternal life” (verse 27).

Most do not get the point. Many are interested in being able to do remarkable things, “they said to him, ‘What must we do, to be doing the works of God?’” (verse 28). They find the answer of Jesus unsatisfactory – do we? They do not understand when he says, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent” (verse 29). Belief is proved by what that belief causes us to think and then do!

Jesus next develops the concept of spiritual bread in contrast to what they have recently taken part in. They only listen to him, we could say, with one ear; only picking up what they want to hear! It has become the same in a sense in these days, sort of reading with one eye!

Jesus proceeds to tell them, “This is the will of my Father that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day” (verse 40). How do we get our minds into true focus so that we ‘look on’ Jesus in a way pleasing to the Father? The next verse tells us, “So the Jews grumbled about him …” (verse 41) and Jesus says, “Do not grumble among yourselves. No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him (or her) up on the last day” (verse 44).

Sadly, “after this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him” (verse 66). Let us think – what kind of person does the Father, the great and utterly wonderful Creator of all things “draw (to) him” through the work of His Son? What do we read in the last chapter in Isaiah? “… this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word” (verse 2). With what attitude of mind do we read the word of God?