Jn.6:5 – As Jesus sat down, he looked out and saw the massive crowd of people scrambling up the hill, for they wanted to be near him.
Spiritual hunger just can’t be faked. We can try to pump it up or create an appearance of hunger but that is a hopeless endeavor. That makes me think of an old Pink Panther movie from years ago. Chief Inspector Clouseau was wearing a disguise with a fake parrot on his shoulder. The inflatable parrot had a leak and had to be pumped up. Clouseau had a pump under his arm which he would use to try to keep the parrot inflated. It was ineffective but quite funny. That scene reminds me of feeble attempts to act as if we are on fire or hungry for God but that parrot keeps deflating. In today’s verse the crowd is scrambling to get near Jesus just to hear Him. Apparently food had taken a back seat because they had been following Jesus for three days in the wilderness. Here is how John Calvin describes this scene.
“In the first place, we observe here that the people were inflamed with such a great zeal to hear Christ that, forgetting themselves, they were unconcerned to spend the night in a desert place. So much more inexcusable is our sluggishness, or rather our sloth, because we are so far from preferring Christ’s heavenly teaching to worries about hunger that the tiniest distractions immediately lead us away from meditation on eternal life. Indeed, it very rarely happens that Christ finds us free and unencumbered by the entanglements of the world. So far are we from being prepared to follow him to a desert mountain that there is scarcely one in ten who can bear to receive him when he presents himself at home in the midst of comforts.”
So what actually causes the stir in our hearts that nothing else in life matters? That is that little thing that the Apostle Paul called grace. Grace awakens us to Christ’s greatness and our smallness. Grace awakens us to His love for us and His ability to transform life itself. When you catch a glimpse of Christ suddenly nothing else matters. These folks still had the same needs, they were hungry and unprepared for this trip in the wilderness. Its just that other more important things had taken over their lives. They were scrambling to be with Jesus.