John 6:26

The Lord Jesus came to earth to seek and to save that which was lost. And again and again in the course of his ministry he was sought by those whom he was seeking. There were periods of popularity when, from various motives, the multitudes resorted to the Prophet of Nazareth. Their seeking Jesus was emblematical of the conduct becoming in all men, when Christ comes nigh to them in the messages of his Word and the ordinances of his Church.

I. SEEKING JESUS IMPLIES NEEDING JESUS. Men do not seek what they do not want. The soul that is without Christ, and has a perception of its destitution and need, is urged to go in quest of him. Men may have health, luxury, wealth, learning, fame; yet if they are without him who is the Son of God, and who brings God near to man, they are strangers to the highest good which we are capable of partaking. If there be any spiritual awakening, then the actual need becomes a conscious want, and the pressure of spiritual indigence urges to undertake this spiritual quest and pilgrimage.

II. SEEKING JESUS IS PROMPTED BY PRIZING JESUS. He is the Treasure hidden in the field, he is the costly Pearl; they who recognize him as such are constrained to use every endeavour to make him their own. Since to find him is to find all spiritual blessings - forgiveness of sin, help for duty, fellowship with heaven, and life eternal - it is natural enough that those who understand and feel this should set a high value upon Christ, and should seek him with all their heart.

III. SEEKING JESUS IS CREDITING AND HONOURING JESUS. It is his wish to be sought, nay, it is his command that men should seek him. There is, therefore, no presumption in this attitude and action of the soul; it is just what the Lord himself expects and desires from us. He will neither hide himself from those who seek him, nor will he repel and dismiss them from his presence. For, in coming to him, they take him at his word, and render to him the honour which is his due.

IV. SEEKING JESUS INVOLVES TRUSTING AND LOVING JESUS. They who earnestly, patiently, persistently seek the Lord, are drawn to him growingly by the bonds of a Divine attraction. The closer they keep to him, the stronger grows their faith, the warmer grows their love.

V. SEEKING JESUS LEADS TO FINDING JESUS. His own word of assurance is ample warrant for this: "Seek, and ye shall find." Many good things may be sought with diligence, and by a lifelong search, and yet may be sought in vain. Of the best of all blessings this cannot be said. "Every one that seeketh findeth."

APPLICATION. Here is a picture of the action which is becoming to every one to whom the gospel comes. It is not enough to admire the character of Jesus and to approve his work. Our will, our active nature, must be engaged in the effort to attain and to enjoy him. And we have this promise to cheer us: "Seek, and ye shall find." - T.

Ye seek Me not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves. Labour not for the meat which perisheth.
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.)

Lapidaries tell us of the Chelydonian stone, that it will retain its virtue and lustre no longer than it is enclosed in gold. A fit emblem of the hypocrite, who is only good while he is enclosed in golden prosperity, safety, and felicity.

(T. Brooks.)

Here are two objects set before us — the bread that perisheth and the bread that endureth unto everlasting life — material things and spiritual things — things temporal and things eternal. It is characteristic of material things that they perish, or, what is much the same thing, that our connection with them shall very soon cease. To me there is something sad in this. When I stood the other morning on Primrose Hill before breakfast, looking at the great sun, young as ever, looking down with a smile of unutterable kindness — when I looked at the green fields beyond — when I cast a look, a most affectionate look, upon the whole scene, my bosom heaved with a sigh. "Well, I shall not see many more springs. I must look on this for the last time. It must perish from my sight." You say that was weakness. Well, I cannot help it. This is a beautiful world — a world of life and joy and affection, and there is something sad in the thought that one must leave it. And we have not only the certain knowledge of it, but we have the feeling that it will be so. That at once suggests to me a contrast between myself and nature. Nature is young and old at the same time. She appears wrinkled with age every autumn, but blooming with youth every spring. She is dead every winter — alive every summer. But man becomes old, and not young again. Man dies indeed, and the gloomy winter passes over him, and there is no reviving him again in this state. The things that perish! Don't labour too much for this world. Why, it will make no difference to you forty years to-day what amount of this world you have. But spiritual things endure for ever. The human spirit is immortal — the blessings of religion are eternal. In the New Testament you will find that the word "eternal," or something equal to it, is connected with the blessings of religion. I think, then, that the lesson taught by the text is THE SUPREME IMPORTANCE OF RELIGION. Now, where shall I go for my illustration? What shall I bring in proof of this? In the first place, I could prove and illustrate this subject from a man's own nature. Secondly, I could do so from the design of God's providence. Thirdly, I could prove it from God's Holy Word. Fourthly, from the testimony of the best and wisest and holiest men that ever lived; and in the last place, and above all, I could prove the unutterable importance of your becoming holy and good — or, in other words, the supreme importance of religion — from yonder cross — the life and death of the Son of God. Religion, goodness, purity, holiness, is the great want of man. Every echoing rock sends back the sound — the great want is religion.

1. Let us begin then with man as an individual. Stand in the right place to look at man. Don't look at him from the exchange, or market, but place man in the right light. Let the light of eternity fall upon him. Place the picture in the right light. What is man? A moral responsible being, all whose movements are watched. This is man, in himself, a sinful, fallen being, as he knows and feels. Then there is another feature in the picture. An immortal being is man, a person bound for an endless voyage, a pilgrim on an endless journey. Well, now, I ask you what is the great want of such a being? Riches? No. Earthly enjoyments? No. Human fame and greatness and glory? No. What is his great want? Goodness, religion. What ought he to care for fame? What ought he to care for the glory and grandeur of the world? What ought he to care for the enjoyments of sense — for the heaping up of gold, so much thought of? It is religion he wants. As an intelligent, a moral, a sinful and an immortal being, it is religion he wants, and it is religion he must have, or he will be wretched in the most splendid palace, and have an aching head on the easiest pillow. But has he religion — real religion? he shall be content in the midst of poverty — he shall have peace in the midst of the storm. Gas-light is very useful in its way, but it is a poor apology for the sun. It gives light in the midst of the street, but turn the corner and you are in deep shadows directly. It goeth not down to the deep cellar. But let the sun be up and you will find light in your house. It passes through the windows, and by its rays fills the whole house with light and cheerfulness. The things that perish we are thankful for. We bless God for our health and the comforts we possess, and we use them, I hope, thankfully and prayerfully, but they are only as the star-light. Religion is to our spirits what the sun is in a temporal sense. It filleth the whole nature of man. It brings the highest subjects for the contemplation of his intellect. It opens the sublimest regions for his imagination. It meets the son of sin with a free pardon in its right hand, and as the sense of death which I have described comes over him, it points him to an eternal home and says, My child, labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life. Religion alone can meet the wants of his nature.

2. And now to pass from the individual to the family, what is the great want there? What will make a family happy? A large estate? No, no. Fine apparel? Not exactly. Splendid paintings? Not altogether. Musical instruments? These things have an elevating influence, and I would not despise them. I remember what an artist friend told me some time ago. I was looking at his engravings — taken from some of the masterpieces of Italy — and I said, "Well, these are very good"; for though I was not examining them with an artist's eye, I liked them, and I knew what had influence over me. "Ah," he said, "they are companions." And so they are — refining, elevating companions; but do you know there is something more important than them — more important to a family than the fine arts, than music, paintings, costly furniture, vast estates, noble mansions? What is it? It is that the hearts of the family be good; that religion be enthroned there: Why, let religion be in your family, and you have a fountain of happiness. This would unite us all. This would create a paradise in families where there is now discord. Oh, fathers — oh, mothers — oh, children — possess religion, that you may meet again in the land of life and light, to be eternally with the Lord and with each other.

3. We have passed from the individual to the family, and now let us enter the Church. I would say, then, to you as a Church and congregation, "Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life." Labour for those mental states, those spiritual emotions, those principles of eternal life which will make the worship of God interesting and delightful to you. Let me add another thought, ere I pass on. Grant that the preacher is uninteresting — that he is cold or dull; grant that his emotions are less earnest than your own; but allow me to ask you what business have you to come to a chapel or a church to be merely passive at the hands of the preacher? Why, you are not mere harps to be played upon by the fingers of the preacher — not mere dead bodies to be galvanized into artificial life — not machines to be set in motion by the word of a man. You are thinking, living, immortal spirits. You must awaken cheerfulness within you by having religion, and then you will have no more dulness in your religious services. You have observed, perhaps, that when there has been long dry weather, clouds may float about in the sky, but will not send down a drop of water upon the parched earth. What is the reason? There is no attractive power in the earth to draw down the clouds towards it. Like draws to like. A wet earth would draw down wet clouds. A true illustration this of power in the pulpit. A congregation spiritually lifeless derives no benefit from the sermon. The feelings of the preacher are sent back to him. The cloud pours forth no rain. But let the earth be moist — let the church be in a healthy spiritual state — and the cloud will burst over it, and the Church mill be baptized with the unction of the Holy One. Therefore do I say, as well to the Church as to the family or to the individual, "Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life."

4. And, brethen, let us pass from the individual, and the family, and the Church, to the great world. Let me, however, name two or three classes.(1) There, for instance, is that mighty class called "the people." Religion, and nothing but religion, can make the English working man what he ought to be. Why, look at your burning, parched, thirsty desert. No trees, grass, corn, flowers, grow in that place, and why? What is wanted to make it fertile? The husbandman may go there with his ploughs and harrows; he may sow the seed; but there is one great want, before which the other wants need not be mentioned. What is that want? A noble rolling river to pass through it — that is what it wants. Then would trees flourish in it, and flowers bloom, and the corn wave in the August sun. And what do English people want? Education? Yes. A better material condition? No doubt they do. Better houses to live in than some of them possess? Undoubtedly. But there is one want greater than all others, and I tell you English people will not get the houses they ought to have, or the material comforts they ought to enjoy, without it. They are always looking out for good to come to them from above — from Parliament, from orators, from the franchise; but I say to English people, "Look within." What, you don't mean to tell us that we shall never be much better off till we have better characters? I do. If you look at the history of the world you will find reason for believing that your condition will improve as you become nobler, holier, purer, more heaven-like. "Labour not for the meat that perisheth, but for that meat which endureth to everlasting life."(2) Look at the neglected ones in England. There are thousands in London who have never found their place in life — well-educated and well-disposed, but disappointed men, going up and down in the world trying to find their places, but unable to do so. Yes, I have known servants to ride on horses, and I have seen princes as servants walk. I have seen fools in high places, and scholars, gentlemen, and able men concealed in corners. I have seen weeds — worthless, ugly weeds — spread their large open leaves, and hiding beneath them the blushing rose and the delicate lily; and I have always felt disposed to brush the uncomely thing away. What do they want? They want religion; that which would cause them to trust God, to leave the world that neglects them, and patiently to do the little thing that is at hand, seeing that they cannot reach the great thing that is in the distance. Religion, the great power of religion, to keep them in the quiet path of duty.(3) I intended speaking also a word to my young friends, but I have no time left. The young man who is just commencing life's pilgrimage looks forward to success in business. God bless you, my youthful hearers, and help you to realize this; but there is one thing you want more than all. What is it? Faith in the great Redeemer, religion, goodness — that is what you want.(4) And then there is the ruined class. Character is gone, prospects are gone, health is gone, and there is nothing left but remorse. What can be done for these? Oh the beautiful vision of love — Jesus saying, "Come unto me, all ye that are heavy laden, and I will give you rest!"

(T. Jones.)

I. A SOLEMN REPROOF (ver. 26).

1. To whom addressed? To the witnesses of the miracle. Excitement is not religion, and those who to-day cry Hallelujah! may to-morrow cry Crucify!

2. By whom spoken? By one who could search the heart, and whose mercy on the previous day gave Him a right to speak.

3. For what given. Not for seeking Him, but for seeking Him with a bad motive which was —(1) Sensational — they saw the phenomenon but were blind to its significance.(2) Sensual — they followed as the ex follows the farmer for a bunch of hay.


1. Labour discommended.(1) The import: not to discourage the toil for daily bread (Genesis 3:19; 2 Thessalonians 3:10), but to condemn the spirit that attached supreme importance to earthly things (Matthew 6:25).(2) The reason. These commodities were perishing (Colossians 2:22), and contributed at best to the support of the decaying (1 John 2:16, 17; 2 Peter 3:11).

2. A labour enjoined.(1) The perfect legitimacy of human effort (Genesis 2:15; Luke 13:24; Luke 16:16; John 9:4).(2) The proper object of human effort: that which is spiritual, vivifying, permanent (Matthew 6:20).(3) The absolute necessity of human effort (Matthew 7:15; Luke 13:24; Philippians 2:12; Philippians 3:14; Hebrews 4:11; Hebrews 11:6).

III. A CLEAR DIRECTION (vers. 27-29).

1. Whence the abiding meat must be sought.(1) The accessibility of the source "Son of Man;"(2) The sufficiency of the supply;(3) The authority of the giver.

2. How the abiding meat may be got.(1) As a gift (Romans 4:4-6; Romans 11:6; Galatians 2:16; Ephesians 2:8, 9).(2) Through the medium of faith merit is excluded (Job 9:2, 3; Isaiah 57:12; Romans 3:20; Galatians 3:11).(3) Approved by works (Romans 2:13; Romans 3:31; Romans 6:16; Ephesians 2:10: Titus 2:14; James 2:20-26). Lessons:

1. Christ's power of reading the heart of man.

2. The supreme importance of motive in religion.

3. The transcendent value of the salvation of the soul.

4. Christ's clear conviction that faith in Himself would lead to eternal life.

(T. Whitelaw, D. D.)

I. DECAYING FOOD loses not only —

1. Its efficiency; but —

2. Its healthful nature, and

3. Its very nature itself.


1. Eternal efficiency.

2. Eternal freshness.

3. Eternal durability.


I. THE PROHIBITION. "Labour not," etc.

1. What is understood by meat.(1) All temporal enjoyments as carnal pleasures, popular applause. Earthly riches.(2) Called here meat because it was the meat the Jews then sought for (ver. 26); because all things of this world amount really to nothing else, and to persuade them, by this notion of earthly things, not to labour so much for them (Ecclesiastes 5:11).

2. Why called the meat which perisheth. Because —

(1)We can enjoy it but awhile.

(2)It perisheth while we use it (Matthew 15:17).

(3)It serves but a perishing life (1 Corinthians 6:13).

3. In what sense must we not labour for this meat?(1) Negatively. Not but that we ought to take a moderate care about earthly things; because —

(a)It is commanded (Genesis 3:19);

(b)Otherwise we should be worse than infidels (1 Timothy 5:8);

(c)We have bodies to look after;

(d)We should not presume upon providence;

(e)We are to endeavour to help others (1 Corinthians 16:2).(2) Positively.

(a)We must not labour for much of the world (Jeremiah 45:5; Isaiah 5:8).

(b)Not by unlawful means (Leviticus 19:13; 1 Thessalonians 4:6).

(c)Not with carking care and mistrust of God's providence (Psalm 37:5, 6; Matthew 6:25).

(d)Not for earthly things, only for themselves, but for the glory of God (Proverbs 3:9).

(e)Not for them more than for the heavenly (Matthew 5:33).

(f)Not so as to set our affections on them (Colossians 3:2).

4. Why are we not thus to labour for these things. Because —

(1)They perish.

(2)We may be deprived of them if we do (Proverbs 10:22), or God may curse them to us (Malachi 2:2).

(3)God will give them without this sinful labouring (Matthew 6:33).

(4)By so doing we lose better.

5. The use. Consider:

(1)How uncertain they are (1 Timothy 6:17); in getting them (Matthew 6:27); keeping them (Proverbs 23:5); enjoying them (Psalm 78:30, 31; Psalm 106:15); in improving them; in continuing with them (Luke 12:20).

(2)How unsatisfying: as to the senses (Ecclesiastes 1:8. 4:8); much more to the soul (Ecclesiastes 5:10).

(3)How dangerous. They are apt to draw us into sin (1 Timothy 6:9), and off from duty (Proverbs 30:9); to divert our care for our souls (Luke 21:34); to keep us from heaven (Psalm 17:14), and to throw us into hell (Matthew 19:23-26).


1. What is meant by meat? Christ Himself (ver, 35); His doctrine and religion (ver. 63), which He commands to be laboured after.

(1)Because they were now seeking food.

(2)To show the need of Him for spiritual life (vers. 53-55); to begin it (1 Timothy 5:6; 1 John 5:11, 12); to preserve it (John 15:4, 5); to make it comfortable.

(3)To show the union between Christ and His disciples (John 17:21-23).

2. Why is it said to endure unto everlasting life?

(1)Because it is never diminished though never so many partake of it (Matthew 11:28),

(2)It nourishes our never-dying souls (Matthew 11:29).

(3)It brings to everlasting life.

(4)Christ will endure for ever (Hebrews 7:25).

(5)It is by Him that we shall endure for ever (John 6:54-58).

3. Why must we labour for this? It is the only means of our going to heaven (Acts 4:12). For —

(1)It is only through Christ that sins can be pardoned;

(2)Our persons accepted (Galatians 2:16; 2 Corinthians 5:21);

(3)Our lusts subdued (Acts 3:26);

(4)Our natures sanctified (John 1:16);

(5)Our souls saved (Acts 16:31).

4. How must we labour?

(1)By believing in Him (Acts 16:31; John 3:16);

(2)By conforming our lives to His laws (John 1:12; John 14:15; James 2:26; 1 John 3:3; Galatians 5:6; Romans 13:10).Conclusion: Wherefore labour for this meat, for —

1. Other things are impertinent; this necessary (Luke 10:42).

2. Others empty, this satisfying (ver. 35).

3. Others corporeal, this spiritual (ver. 63).

4. Others transcient, this everlasting (ver. 58).

5. Others uncertain, this most certain, for Christ will give it.

(Bp. Beveridge.)

I. There is something FORBIDDEN. We are not to labour exclusively, or excessively, for the satisfaction of our bodily wants, for that food which only perishes in the using, and only does us a little temporary good.

II. There is something COMMANDED. We ought to work hard and strive for that spiritual food — that supply for the wants of our souls, which once obtained is an everlasting possession.

III. There is something PROMISED. The Son of Man, even Jesus Christ, is ready to give to every one who desires to have it, that spiritual food which endures for ever.

IV. There is something DECLARED. The Son of Man, Jesus Christ, has been designated and appointed by God the Father for this very purpose, to he the dispenser of this spiritual food to all who desire it.

(Bp. Ryle.)


1. What is meant by it?(1) All outward things whatsoever. The covetous soul feeds on his money; the ambitious man, chamelion like, on airy applause; the sensual man, on base pleasures. All carnal men, serpent like, eat dust — perishable things.(2) Knowledge, if it be only of perishable things, perisheth, for the world's frame and politics have an end.(3) The truths of God are indeed the food of the soul, but unless the goodness of those truths be the food of the will and the affections, and unless we are moulded into the form of those truths they too are perishable.

2. The argument against labouring for this.(1) We do not regard the lustre of things, but their continuance. All flesh is grass, and the most excellent things of Nature, wit, honour, and learn- ing, are as the flowers of the grass.(2) In lusting after the world, the lust itself perisheth, and the immoderate seeking after it destroys us. He that is rich to-day may be poor to-morrow; he may be in credit now, with Haman, and be in discredit ere long; he may be in health now, and sick soon.

3. Consequently —(1) We should take heed that we do not redeem any perishing thing with the loss of that which does not perish — our soul.(2) We should not scruple to neglect any earthly thing to gain advantage to our souls.(3) Learn here a point of heavenly wisdom: when we are tempted to too much delight in the creature we should present to our- selves the perishing nature of outward things.


1. Does Christ read a lecture of unthriftiness and negligence? No; He meant labour not for it —(1) Inordinately;(2) immoderately;(3) unseasonably.

2. How shall we know when our labour is immoderate, etc.? When they hinder us from or in holy things; when they keep us from holy duties; when they fill us full of distractions.

3. Why does Christ begin with this discussion?(1) Because when the soul is invested with anything that must first be removed, as thorns must be rooted before seed can be sown.(2) But here is the prerogative of Christianity; heathens can teach the negative part, but only Christ the positive.


1. What it is? Our Saviour, as He is contained in the means of salvation, with all the blessed privileges, prerogatives, and graces that we have by and in Him.

2. But why is he so considered?(1) Whatever sweetness, comfort, or strength there is in meat, it is for the comfort, etc., of the body; so whatsoever is comfortable and cherishing in Christ it is for our good. How doth the soul feed on the wonderful love of God in Christ incarnate and Christ Crucified, and on the privileges secured by Christ glorified?(2) As in bodily life there is a stomach, a power to work out of the meat that which is for strength and nourishment, so in the soul there is faith to act in the same way with Christ.(3). As our life is nourished and maintained with that which has died, so that which principally maintains the life of the soul is Christ crucified.(4) As in meat, before it can nourish us there must be an assimilation, so Christ can never nourish us till we be united to Him.(5) As we eat again day after day because there is a decay of strength, and as there are new concerns that require new strength, and consequently a need of a continual repairing of our strength by food, even so there is a perpetual need to feed upon Christ, because every day we have fresh work to do.(6) As after eating there is strength and comfort gotten for the affairs of this life, so after the soul has digested Christ it is strengthened for holy duties.

3. Wherein lies the difference between this and other meat?(1) As Christ is from heaven, so all His graces and comforts are to carry us to heaven. All other things are earthly.(2) Earthly food cannot give, but only maintain life; but Christ is such food as gives life.(3) The nourishment we have from outward food we turn to ourselves; but Christ turns us to Himself, and transforms us into His likeness.(4) All other meats are consumed, and the appetite for them eventually perishes; but Christ is never consumed, and the relish for Him will grow eternally.

4. What is wanted is to get a stomach for this meat.

(1)A good stomach is produced by sharp things; so faith should be quickened by the law.

(2)Exercise getting a stomach by diligence in holy exercises.

(3)To whet our appetite, consider the necessity of spiritual strength and comfort.

(4)Let us converse with those that are spiritual.

(5)Let us remember that the table Christ has spread may be removed.

5. To make a trial whether we have, as we should do, relished Christ. If so, then —

(1)We have a baser esteem of all earthly things.

(2)We are strengthened to duties and against temptations and corruptions.

(3)The desire is satisfied.

(4)Thankfulness is engendered.


1. Its necessity: we are to labour for food, the great need.

2. Its excellency; it endureth to everlasting life.

3. Its possibility: Christ is —



(3)has authority to give it. "Him hath God the Father sealed." God has become man on purpose to give it you.

(R. Sibbes, D. D.)

Family Churchman.
I. IS NOT THE ATTAINMENT OF MATERIAL GOOD. Multitudes live as if it were. Nor is this mistake confined to the prosperous merchant; it is found among the poor. Strenuous efforts are put forth, but only for that which perisheth.

II. CONSISTS IN THE ATTAINMENT OF SPIRITUAL LIFE IN CHRIST. He is the true food of the soul. Eternal life is the result of receiving Him as the Living Bread.

III. TO TEACH THIS WAS THE AIM OF CHRIST'S MISSION. "Sealed." The impress of the Father's will is in His life and words. He was sealed —

1. By His miracles.

2. By His teaching.

3. By His resurrection.

(Family Churchman.)

The lesson here set obviously checks any going to or following of Jesus for our own ends. And it has two main applications.

1. The first of these is plainly gross, viz., that we may not make a gain of godliness in the sense of getting direct bodily benefit by religion. A religious man is mostly assumed to be a respectable man, and a respectable man is trusted. So, alas, occasionally some people profess religion in order to get a character for respectability and to bring money into the pocket.

2. But the lesson before us has another application. We cannot be told too clearly or too often that there is another kind of covetousness, or thinking about self, which is not coarse like that which I have just mentioned, and yet leaves us short of the real special gifts which God gives through Jesus Christ. Should we not think less of a child whose only thought in connection with its parents was about what it could get from them? Should we not look upon that child as almost unnatural which was always scheming to make its father and mother show more concern for its condition? Surely we should. And, so in a figure, it is with God. We may be certain that we miss His best blessings when we set about calculating what benefits He will bestow upon us. In short, God would ever have us trust Him more, and leave all the "giving" to Him.

(Harry Jones, M. A.)

The fashion of this world passeth away, as the water of a river that runs by a city, or as a fair picture drawn upon the ice that melts away with it. Men come to the world's felicities as to a lottery, with heads full of hopes, but return with hearts full of blanks.

(J. Trapp.)

As a river leads a man through sweet meadows, green woods, fertile pastures, fruit-laden fields, by glorious buildings, strong forts, famous cities, yet at last brings him to the salt sea; so the stream of this world carries along through rich commodities, voluptuous delights, stately dignities, all possible content to flesh and blood, but, after all this, brings a man to death, after death to judgment, after judgment to hell.

(T. Adams.)

Him hath God the Father sealed
I. BECAUSE THERE IS THE IMPRESSION OF GOD UPON HIM. As the seal imprints in the wax the likeness of that which is on it, so God hath imprinted on Christ His own image (John 1:14; Hebrews 1:1-2).

II. THE USE OF A SEAL IS TO APPROPRIATE AND DISTINGUISH FROM OTHER THINGS, so God hath appropriated Christ to be His own Son, and hath distinguished Him as Mediator by a special anointing and qualification above all.

III. Especially by SEALING IS MEANT AUTHORITY. As a magistrate that hath the king's broad seal is authorized, so God hath authorized Christ to be a Mediator, as He was foreordained; and so, when the fulness of the time was come, He was authorized by the greatest testimony that ever was —

1. By the Blessed Trinity at His baptism (Matthew 3:37).

2. By His miracles (John 10:38).

3. By His resurrection (Romans 1:4).

IV. THE USE of this is —

1. To bless God the Father for sealing as well as God the Son for being sealed.

2. To magnify the offices of Christ.

3. To encourage us to seek forgiveness.

(R. Sibbes, D. D.)

I. CHRIST WAS SEALED. To seal, when the act of a sovereign, is to impress the characters of his own signet upon any instrument by which his will is declared, and which is then treated as proceeding from him. We behold —

1. The impress of Divinity upon His doctrine, in the vastness of the subjects, and the ease with which they are treated, the obscure manner in which the wisest of men have always spoken of them, and the light which brightens around them whenever our great Teacher opens His lips; in that exhibition of the secrets of the heart; in the anxious inquiries so answered as to leave us nothing more to ask; when to these I add the dignity so worthy of Divine majesty, the condescension so accordant with an infinite love, the indignation so expressive of perfect holiness; — I see upon the seal the characters peculiar to God.

2. The seal of miracles. The character of a true miracle is not that it is merely a strange and wonderful occurrence, but that i¢ is above all human power; so extraordinary as to show an interposition of God, giving sanction to the claims of His Son.

3. We see upon our Lord the broad and striking seal of fulfilled prophecy.

4. The seals at His crucifixion. Even his enemies were compelled to give their testimony to him. Caiaphas, Pilate, the Centurion, the people that "smote upon their breasts." The sun sinking to deep eclipse, the rending of the veil, the earthquake, the rising of the dead.

5. To the great seals of the resurrection and ascension of Christ the gift of the Holy Ghost was the public confirmation of both; and that this is an evidence which remains to this day.

II. THE GREAT END FOR WHICH THIS INTERPOSITION OF GOD TOOK PLACE — that we might "labour for that meat which endureth to everlasting life." From the sacrificial death of Christ flows —

1. Pardon; and here the true life of the soul begins.

2. The heavenly knowledge, which is the proper food of the renewed mind. A scientific knowledge is the food of souls intelligent, so is heavenly knowledge the food of piety. It leads up all the powers of the mind into right and vigorous exercise.

3. Love. It flows only from this — "Christ loved me."

4. Purity. Sin enfeebles; purity is strength.Conclusion:

1. If Christ is not this life and bread to your souls, how disproportionate are the means employed to save you, and the end which has in reality been accomplished I

2. The aggravated guilt which is incurred by the very signs set before us, unless they accomplish their saving end.

3. For whatever you labour beside the bread of heaven, it is" meat that perisheth."

(R. Watson.)

I. THE OFFICE OR WORK TO WHICH HIS FATHER SEALED HIM. In general to the whole work of mediation (1 Peter 3:18). God sealed Him —

1. A commission to preach the glad tidings of salvation to sinners (Luke 4:17-21).

2. To the priesthood. He called Him —

(1)To offer Himself up a sacrifice for us (chap. John 10:18; Philippians 2:8).

(2)To intercede for us (Hebrews 7:21-25).

(3)To the regal office (Matthew 28:18).


1. The validity and efficacy of His mediatorial acts. In this lies much of the believer's comfort and security.

2. The great obligation lying on Jesus to be faithful to the work He was sealed to. Christ felt this obligation (John 9:4; John 5:30).

3. His complete qualification to serve the Father's design in our recovery, in the point of —

(1)Faithfulness (Hebrews 3:2);

(2)Zeal (John 2:16, 17; John 4:32);

(3)Love (Hebrews 3:5, 6);

(4)Wisdom (Isaiah 52:13);

(5)Self-denial (John 8:50).

4. Christ's sole authority in the Church to appoint and enjoin what He pleaseth.


1. By solemn designation (Isaiah 42:1; 1 Peter 2:4; John 10:36).

2. By supereminent and unparalleled sanctification. He was anointed as well as appointed (Isaiah 61:1, 3; Luke 4:1; Psalm 45:7; John 3:34; Colossians 1:19), the type of which was the Holy oil by which kings and priests were consecrated.

3. By the Father's immediate testimony from heaven (Matthew 3.; 17:5).

4. In all those miraculous works wrought by Him (Acts 10:38; John 5:36; Matthew 11:3, 5).


1. Else He had not corresponded with the types which prefigured Him, and in Him it was necessary that they should be all accomplished. Kings and High Priests had their inaugurations by solemn unctions (Hebrews 5:4, 5).

2. Hereby the hearts of believers are more engaged to love the Father. Had not the Father sealed Him, He had not come. So men are bound to ascribe equal honour and glory to both (John 5:23).

3. Else we had no ground for our faith in Him (John 5:31).


1. Hence we infer the unreasonableness of infidelity (John 1:2; John 5:43; Isaiah 53:1).

2. How great is the sin of those who reject such as are sealed by Jesus Christ (John 17:18; John 20:21; Luke 10:16)!

3. How great an evil it is to intrude into the office of the ministry without a due call! It is more than Christ Himself would do.

4. Admire the grace and love both of the Father and the Son.

5. Hath God sealed Christ for you? Then draw the comfort of His sealing for you, and be restless till ye be sealed by Him.(1) Remember that God stands engaged by His own seal to confirm whatever Christ hath done in the business of our salvation. On this ground you may plead with God.(2) Get your interest in Christ sealed to you by the Spirit (Ephesians 1:13), the effects of which are great care to avoid sin (Ephesians 4:30); great love to God (John 14:22); readiness to suffer for Christ (Romans 5:3, 5); confidence in addresses to God (1 John 5:13, 14); great humility (Genesis 17:1, 3).

(J. Flavel.)

The missionary, Henry Martyn, at Dinapore, used to gather around him every week a crowd of poor Hindoos. They came eagerly, but, alas! Martyn soon perceived that they were more concerned about the loaves which he was in the habit of distributing amongst them than about the Bread of Life in the gospel! He was ready to despair, and had almost resolved to give up his preaching. Then he remembered this 26th verse, and he said to himself, "If the Lord Jesus was not ashamed of preaching to such bread-seekers, who am I, that I should give them over in disgust?" The next time he preached on verse 27, and had the delight of being asked by two or three Hindoos, "What must we do to be saved?"

(R. Besser, D. D.)

S. S. Times.
In order to understand the Oriental aspect of this obscure passage, it is necessary to remember several closely related facts. In the East, bakers are under more immediate official investigation than any other tradesmen. Their weights are inspected by an official appointed for the purpose, and the quality of their bread is tested from time to time. In these milder days confiscation is the penalty attached to roguery in the making of bread; but it is not very long since cheating bakers were nailed up by the ear (Turkey), or even by a grim pleasantry, roasted in their own ovens (Persia). Under these circumstances, it is not to be wondered at that Oriental bakers have been in the habit of stamping their name upon their bread, or, as an Oriental would say, of sealing (khatham, khatama, etc.) it, as a measure of precaution, lest they should be made to suffer for the sins of their neighbours as well as their own. The talmudic word for "baker" is nakhtom, or nakhtoma, which has been connected with khatham, "to seal," by no less an authority than Professor Franz Delitzsch; so that it would seem that this act of sealing or stamping bread was sufficiently characteristic in the time of our Lord to give a name to the baker. In this view, our Lord's words could be paraphrased as follows: "Work not for the food which perisheth, but for the food which abideth unto eternal life; which the Son of Man shall give unto you, even Himself the Bread of Life — for Him, the heavenly Bread, hath God the Father sealed as His own, even as those who make the bread which perisheth, stamp it with their names." It has also been pointed out that, in the Roman Church, the consecrated wafers, which the priests teach to be the real body of our Lord, are stamped with a seal which usually bears the letters I.N.R.I., — the initials of the Latin meaning, "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews." Another rabbinical authority calls attention to the talmudical question: "What is the seal of the holy blessed God? Rabbi Bibai in the name of Rabbi Reuben saith 'Truth.' 'But what is truth?' Rabbi Ben said, 'The loving God and King eternal.'... There is a story of the great synagogue weeping, praying, and fasting. At last there was a little scroll fell from the firmament to them in which was written 'Truth.' Rabbi Chinanah saith, 'Hence learn that truth is the seal of God.'"

(S. S. Times.)

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