So they asked him, “What miraculous sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? Our forefathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”
Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
“Sir,” they said, “from now on give us this bread.”
Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:30-40)
Human beings are never satisfied. Jesus had fed five thousand people in a miraculous way. Their response was not to believe Jesus, but to wonder what he could do that would make them believe; they pointed out what Moses had done in the wilderness. Jesus corrected them. Moses hadn’t fed the ancient Israelites. God had. Jesus wasn’t just another Moses, he was like the manna that had come down from heaven.
But the crowd didn’t understand. They were fixated on getting a free meal, while he was trying to tell them about the meal they really needed to eat. Why does Jesus compare himself to bread and being eaten? In order for us to continue living, something else must die. Even a vegetarian kills living things—plants—in order to stay alive. Likewise, Jesus offers us eternal life, but in order for us to have eternal life, he had to die.
There really is no such thing as a free lunch. Someone has to pay for it. Jesus doesn’t need to do anything to make us believe he paid the price. We either believe or we don’t. The choice is ours alone.