Dan Popp
"No soup for you!" -- Jesus
Red letters for red liars
By Dan Popp
June 17, 2010

So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD. — Deuteronomy 8:3 NKJV

If you give a man a fish he'll eat for a day, as the proverb goes. If you give him a fish the next day, and another the day after, he'll quickly develop a very bizarre theory about where fish come from.

In a previous article I tried to show, through one of the parables of Christ, that Jesus accepted the basic premises of capitalism. But parables aren't the only place we can find evidence that salvation and socialism don't mix. If "actions speak louder than words," then the Lord never thundered louder against Marxism than when He cut thousands of hungry Israelites off the dole.

Oh, yeah. He did.

John records the miracle we call "The Feeding of the Five Thousand" in chapter 6 of his gospel. Five barley loaves and two fish became sandwiches for a sea of people. With leftovers. And within no time a lot of folks were following Christ just for the free lox and bagels.

    Jesus answered them and said, "Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him."

    Then they said to Him, "What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?" Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent." — John 6:26-29

That's one of the most profound things ever uttered. Jesus answered the question Job had asked thousands of years before, and which many still ask today: "How can a man be right before God?" It's really very simple, He says: Put your trust totally in Me. Their response to this mighty revelation, to this key to the puzzle of human existence?

    Therefore they said to Him, "What sign will You perform then, that we may see it and believe You? What work will You do? Our fathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written, 'He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'" (6:30,31)

Oh, my. You want us to believe in You, Jesus? No problem — just feed us!

And Jesus refuses.

We have a multitude of hungry followers, just like before. Same ability to provide. The Shepherd has come to "seek and save that which was lost," so growing the size of the congregation is not exactly beside the point, but... nope. The soup kitchen is closed. He gives them a sermon about Himself being the nourishment they really need, and advises them (in vv.51-58), If you're hungry, y'all can just gnaw on My muscles and slurp up My blood. Amen.

At least, judging by their reaction, that's what His message sounds like to them. Totally grossed out, everyone heads for the exits. "From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more." (John 6:66)

It hadn't been that long since Jesus had felt compassion for hungry people, and fed them. He fed the five thousand, and other gospel writers record a second, similar miracle with a crowd of four thousand. But here the Wisdom of Heaven draws the line. Here the Messiah refutes Marx in the most powerful, practical, personal terms, for "He knows our frame." Throughout time He has watched human being after human being sell his or her soul for a bowl of soup.

Not today. No sale. No soup for you.

If Jesus were a welfare statist, we would expect Him not only to continue the dole forever, but to expand it, and to enforce it via the coercive power of the government. To satisfy the wretched billions of the earth no cost would be too high, including the end of property rights for the "greedy" who had "too much." It's unfathomable that a Marxist Messiah would refuse to feed hungry people when He could do it at absolutely no cost to anyone.

But Jesus isn't a Marxist. He sees what our well-meaning socialist friends refuse to acknowledge: the dependency trap. The dole dehumanizes people, demotivates them, and deludes them about where their sustenance really comes from. And that wouldn't have been a controversial statement up until very recently in history.

Again the crowd presses. Thousands again want food. They're willing to fall down at Jesus' feet, though not as worshipers or servants, but as dependants. This time He does something for them that's equally miraculous, perhaps even more compassionate than before:

He sends them away hungry.

© Dan Popp


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