Genuine rubies are second only to diamonds in hardness. But composite rubies, low-grade corundum fused with colored glass, are extremely fragile. The composite gemstones are worth only about $10 to $30 per carat, in contrast to the value of genuine rubies that can reach thousands of dollars per carat. In 2008 the composite stones began to infiltrate the American jewelry market, being sold at genuine ruby prices. Part of the problem is that it’s extremely difficult to distinguish between the two types of rubies with the naked eye.
As the crowd in today’s reading might agree, sometimes it’s difficult to see what’s real. They had the true Bread of Heaven before them, but they were still clamoring for another picnic.
The conversation between the people and Jesus seems to make sense in verses 25 through 29. In some ways it echoes the conversation Jesus had in John 4 with the Samaritan woman about living water. But then in verse 30, the people posed a strange question: they wanted to know what sign Jesus would give them to confirm that He was sent by God. Remember that these people had just experienced a miraculous feeding that transformed five loaves of bread into a feast for thousands!
When they referenced manna in the wilderness, they implied that since God had sent a daily supply of food to eat, Jesus should step up and feed them every day, too. They missed the true significance of the manna: that God desires a relationship with His people as He provides for them (see Deut. 8:3).
Jesus declared that God had sent the true Bread from Heaven of which manna was only a sign. He is the Bread from Heaven that saves and satisfies.
Apply the Word
God asks us to believe in the One He has sent (v. 29). Do we follow the Lord because we want Him to give us stuff? Or will we be satisfied with the Bread of Heaven? Do we recognize that God’s gifts should turn our gaze toward Jesus? Think about all God has given you, and then thank Him for each gift— especially the gift of His Son, Jesus.