"When the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they themselves got into boats and came to Capernaum looking for Jesus." Jn 6:24
We can follow others for a variety of reasons. We might enjoy their writing or thinking; we might also want to benefit from their wealth, insight or power. Jesus is aware of all this, and challenges those following him to reflect on their motives. John's Gospel reminds us that some noticed that Jesus seemed to get to the other side of the lake without the benefit of a boat, and they are anxious to question him about this. They knew he was a miracle worker who could feed them with a few loaves of bread. Could he also move between places in miraculous ways?
Jesus warns the curious not to follow him for the wrong reasons. While it is perfectly understandable to follow someone who can feed us when we are hungry, Jesus gives people bread so they can have the strength to listen to the whole of his message. He came from God to free those bound unjustly by ideas and interpretations of the Torah that limited God and God's desire for us. Jesus wants us to hear the fullness of his promise. God wants to live with us forever. The law is not a way to strangle us, but to set us free to follow God's will in every circumstance, and until we hear this liberating message we risk following Jesus for self centered and selfish reasons.
Today, ask the Lord to set you free from anything or anyone who limits your ability to be full of hope, awe and wonder.
What helps you continue to follow Jesus?