Bible reading: John 6: 1–51
I was never really a game freak growing up, but like many Nigerian kids, I can relate well with the concept of a ‘trial version’. Essentially, a trial version is designed to engage you, give you a feel of the real and make you want the real by emphasizing the limitations of the trial experience.
Maybe you can relate to ‘trial version’ experiences in life. Maybe a job that seemed great, but was never really it. Maybe a relationship you were so hopeful over till you really got a relationship. Maybe a device.
The Jews could tell of trial versions too.
They had learned of how God sent down bread to their fathers during the days of Moses, but there- all their fathers were dead and buried. Exciting feel, but limitation emphasized.
That’s huge to me.
I mean, if you go out every morning and come in with bread baked from heaven and supplied to earth; bread that had angels working overtime, through the night to deliver it fresh and hot- I mean, that’s huge! It’s understandable to imagine that guys who ate that- not just once but fed on it continually for years- would never die.
Trial versions engage, give a feel of the real, but make you want the real by emphasizing the limitations of the trial versions.
Hear Jesus nail it:
I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. John 6:48-49 NKJV
I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.” John 6:51 NKJV
In building healthy expectations, a few things would be important reminders:
Jesus is The Substance of All Christian Hope
All our hope as believers is interpreted in the light of Jesus. It’s not about a Moses. It’s not about bread in the wilderness. It’s all about Jesus.
I like that right after feeding the multitude tangible bread, Jesus begins to emphasize this lesson. It’s not about the bread you got to eat- it’s really all about me.
How often have we tried to make it all about the testimonies we hold, or the prayers we prayed. We put the weight of the conversation on a method we tried, or on an experience or tradition we hold. It’s all about Jesus!
Jesus is the substance of every Christian shadow. He is the Hero of the Gospel. Every testimony or tradition; every hope and expectation must be a pointer towards Him.
It’s not about people being good- It’s about people living off the light and life of Jesus. He is the substance.
Jesus is Life-Giving
I think of how we ever so often fall into trying to draw Jesus into our immediates. Truly, He is pleased to walk life with us in where we are in the immediate, but He calls us to greater ultimates.
We’re many times asking him for tricks and moves (and cracks. Smh) on our trial version, while He is calling us to step into the real.
When the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, nor His disciples, they also got into boats and came to Capernaum, seeking Jesus. And when they found Him on the other side of the sea, they said to Him, “Rabbi, when did You come here?” Jesus answered them and said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.” John 6:24-27 NKJV
In the immediates of their hunger, he fed them all. But in the bigger picture, he calls them to a higher life pursuit.
I think Jesus is not just about feeding us. He is making us. He is not just about answering our prayer desires- He is teaching our hearts what to desire. He’s taking us beyond the trial version-feels into the real substance of life and living.
I pray that in this Easter season, you’ll respond to Him in a greater way. I pray it will be a season of stepping beyond the feel and fun of the trials and into a greater depth of the substance- Jesus.
May you truly know His Love and Life!
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