We're going to take this passage in two parts. Starting with the setting of the passage. Christ is in a synagogue in Capernaum, which is on the opposite side of the Sea of Galilee from where the feeding of the 5,000 occurred. This is the day after the feeding of the 5,000. The best guess is that the people who had been at the feeding of the 5,000 found out where Christ had gone and followed him back across the sea.
So, all these people have come to Christ, probably looking for miracles, maybe another free meal, and he calls them on it. In verse 26, we see the people trying to find out how Jesus had crossed the sea (he wasn't with them), but Jesus doesn't answer their question. Why? Well, because he knew that the real issue that needed to be faced was the fact that they had followed him looking for more. If we look back at verse 2 in this chapter, we see that the people had followed Christ because of his miracles. Now, in 26, they're following him because they wanted to be fed again.
So, Christ begins to deal with their hearts. He calls them on what's in their hearts, basically saying "if you cared as much about knowing God as you do getting another free meal, then I would give you salvation." Think about how we can be just like this. We get so caught up in earthly things and worries and forget to use our energy towards seeking God. What are some of the things that you seek after and forget to give you energy towards God.
However, when Christ gives them this command about seeking after God, the people hear instead that they think Christ is telling them to work for eternal life (verse 27). They completely missed what Christ was saying. We know this because if you look at verse 28, they ask Christ what works they had to do to do the work of God. They completely missed the best part of what Christ said....they eternal life is a gift from Him!!!!! Christ wasn't saying work for eternal life, he was saying don't work so hard for earthly things; focus on eternal things.
We will finish up this chapter next week, but here's some final thoughts for you.