Jesus answered them and said, Truly, truly, I say to you, You seek me, not because you saw the miracles…
How different are things sometimes from what they seem! How pleasant to see a multitude in quest of the Son of God; but Our pleasure disappears when we know that their wondering worship was a beggarly pursuit of material food. It was not wrong for the Jews to feel the cravings of nature, or to rejoice in the miraculous supply, if along with that went spiritual desire and gratitude. The conduct of the Jews represents the manner in which men regard the work of God in —
I. Material nature. If there is not a perpetual miracle there is a perpetual display of that by and for which miracles have been wrought. The natural is as full of God as the supernatural; and it is an ignorant piety which cannot see God in the ordinary and regular. Nature's greatness is a display of His greatness, and its beauty of Ills, etc. But men estimate nature as a material machine, just the place for man, fitted to be his home, workshop, recreation ground. They do not value the work for the sake of the worker.
II. THE EVENTS OF PROVIDENCE. The Scripture doctrine is that all things are of God and have a probationary character. Job saw God in the loss as well as the gift of His children and property, and in the calamities which proceeded from the elements as well as in those which proceeded from the wickedness of men. And God's end is not merely to enable us to eat and sleep well, but to exercise us unto Godliness; to make us soft by sorrow for impression, or glad by prosperity for gratitude. But the earthly sense cleaves to us. We call things "providential" when they conduce to prosperity; but who ever does so when he loses an estate or breaks a limb? Yet the evil thing may be better than the good.
III. SOCIAL GOOD. There are those who value man only in his lowest capacities and relations, never in his soul. Education is estimated for its influence on labour; morality because it would lighten the rates and give security to life and property; religion because of its relation to economy. They have no sense of the dignity and destiny of our nature; and no appreciation of mental culture and spiritual faith for their own sakes.
IV. PERSONAL GODLINESS. Godliness is profitable; but the final end of God is not our good but His glory. That man has much to learn whose supreme solicitude is how he may be enriched by the love of God, and not how he may receive its holy impression and fulfil its holy ends. He who is saved must think more of God than of self. But when many receive the truth it is only because unbelief would be ruinous; they obey the law because obedience has its recompenses. The gospel is good news, not only because it blesses us, but because it reveals our Father.
(A. J. Morris.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.