John 6: 30 So they asked him, “What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do?
(Its interesting that contemporary individuals are often seen as especially skeptical. Indeed, I often look back on the ancients and think to myself, “these were very gullible people.” But here, we see a trace of skepticism and a trace of an attempt to proto-scientifically investigate the authenticity of the Messiah.)
Before they asked Jesus the above question, however, Jesus told them this,
John 6: 26 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.
What does Jesus mean by this? Why would people look for Jesus if they were satisfied by the bread? Was the not the “eating of the bread” a sign?
Is it possible that the people in that land were suffering some sort of famine? Or perhaps these individuals are victims of, what Borg calls, the pre-industrial agricultural domination system. Indeed, free bread would certainly be a motivator for these individuals. Were these people trying to mooch some free food off of Jesus?
What a crazy response if this is the case! Although this response is not inconsistent with some of the other stuff Jesus has said.
What’s really interesting here is that the Jews didn’t like the sign they received. They asked for a sign and we Jesus said, “I am the bread of life that comes down from Heaven.” they weren’t too happy. They demanded a sign. They didn’t like what they saw.
They didn’t dislike the sign because it was “insufficient evidence.” For them, it was an outright blasphemous sign. That’s awesome. This is a story about people asking for a Godly sign and receiving, what they saw to be, a sacrilegious one.
I bet I’ve probably done that before, i.e., I bet there have been times in my life where I’ve demanded some guidance from God, and I didn’t like the answer I got. I wonder if there are any parts of my life where I’m doing that right now.
“On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”
This ^^ verse also makes complete sense if I interpret the above remarks to mean that the hungry people should not focus on physical bread, but on spiritual bread, and that is a freaking hard teaching.