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Thanksgiving Day – November 24, 2022

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Thanksgiving Day – November 24, 2022

Jesus tells the truth to these seekers. In truth, they only want what they can get from Jesus. They seek him only for their own profit and not for his own sake. Seekers… sinners… you and I, we all come to Jesus with one question, “What have you done for me lately?” None of us come to the Lord for his own sake but only for the benefits received from him. The charge against us is that we are self-seeking profiteers looking to “get something” from God.

Satan leveled this charge against Job when Satan had returned to the heavenly court: “Does Job fear God for no reason?” Satan challenged God to remove his gifts and Job would then curse him (Job 1:9-12 & Job 2:4-6). As the book of Job progresses, Job gets close to refuting Satan’s charge as he relinquishes all God’s benefits and cries out, “Though he slay me, I will hope in him…” (Job 13:15a). Job can’t quite make it. He has to insert a conditional clause at the end of his cry, “Yet I will argue my ways to his face” (Job 13:15b). Job cannot surrender the one final thing he wants God to give him—that is, his Lord’s legitimation of Job’s self-righteousness. He covets that legitimation. It is his sin and ours.

Jesus exposes the ones who had sought him… exposing them in this same sort of covetousness of the things God provides. First, he reveals their coveting of temporal gifts, like bread to sustain life in this world (vs. 26-27). Then, he reveals their coveting of the bread come down from heaven to sustain an eternal life (vs 33-34), leaving no doubt that self-benefit has been a marketing strategy of religion since antiquity.

Thanks be to God that Jesus Christ is the end of religion and the beginning of the life of faith. Religion is all about doing the works of God, as these ones attested (vs. 28). Jesus turns them away from their own doing… from their own works, even if done in God’s name… from their own practice of religious piety. Jesus sets before them God’s work which is simply belief… faith… trust… in the one whom God has sent, Jesus Christ.  He is the end of religion… the end of coveting… the end of hunger… the end of thirst. Thanks be to God!

Table Talk: Discuss loving God for himself without coveting his benefits.
Pray: Heavenly Father, forgive me my coveting of your benefits. Establish me in the faith of Jesus. Bring an end to my coveting. Amen

John 6:25-35 English Standard Version

25 When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” 26 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. 27 Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.” 28 Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” 30 So they said to him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform? 31 Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” 32 Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 34 They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.”

35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.