Summary: I use a series of movements to weave the story of Charles Colson's conversion into the story of the crowd following Jesus looking for that which lasts. I seek to show how the "Bread of Life" is the solution for the longings of humankind.
IS JESUS ENOUGH?
Read verses 1-15
Read verses 25-35
Read verses 60-69
He was commonly referred to as Chuck. He was 41 years old, the first in his family to go to college (Brown University) and was one of three partners in a very successful law firm; so successful that it had made him millions of dollars and introduced him to very powerful people. He had gotten involved in politics, now served as “Special counsel to the president,” and had just days earlier orchestrated a successful reelection campaign for his boss; the President of the United States. But on this particular day this 41 year old sat in his plush office, which was separated from the President by one single door, and he questioned.
He was asking questions he had never asked before … or even considered before.
At a time in his life when he was at the peak of success and should have been kicking back with big fat cigar soaking it in, Chuck was filled with raw emptiness.
He was, in his words, coming face to face with the fact that the satisfaction he was seeking in his pursuits was still eluding him.
That story reminds me of the story in John 6. It’s a lengthy chapter. It starts with people being wowed, filled and satisfied. Jesus has just turned loaves and fishes into a buffet feeding 5,000 people. They responded with excitement. They called him “prophet” and “rabbi” (and wanted to call him “king”). They even spend the night on the grounds with Jesus. But the very next morning this same crowd finds itself dissatisfied and hungry yet again.
You would have thought the excitement from the day before could carry them over for a while but the experience quickly evaporated. This was proof enough for some that what they needed was more … a bigger experience. Not just a show where Jesus feeds them once; but something REALLY big … like the manna from Moses! That would feed them at every meal on every day! Surely that would sustain them – that would meet their need and satisfy them. Never mind it didn’t satisfy the first recipients of it … the wandering Hebrews … soon wanted something else – something new back then too.
What do they do? They start running around trying to find what they are missing. Now keep in mind they are on to something. They are thrilled at what Jesus has done and they want to experience more of it so they start running around looking for him. They eventually find him; on the other side of the lake. Jesus knows what’s going on – he knows their hearts – and he makes no overtures to fill their bellies or entertain them again. Rather he makes the crowd an offer. He offers to satisfy their real longing, that inner satisfaction that is eluding them. Jesus says, “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.” (John 6:35).
Jesus, you see, not only knew their hearts he knew their real needs too.
Why were they so quickly dissatisfied with what they had just experienced?
• Was it because they were looking in the wrong places?
• Was it because they were looking for the wrong type of experience?
• Was it because they were listening to the wrong voices?
• Was it because they didn’t know where to look?
• Was it because no one had ever pointed them in the right direction?
The answer may be any or all of those and yet Jesus knew the solution to each was the same … Himself. Not the cheap thrills and temporary substance they were seeking but HIMSELF. Jesus was offering them a relationship with a person, not an experience, not even a belief system … a person.
Chuck did not know, at this time, that storm clouds were forming on his political career. He, “the hatchet man,” who some say would run over his own grandmother to get the President reelected, was in for the political and legal storm of his life … but it did not compare the storm going on within him.
Chuck had to make a trip to Boston so, while there, he goes to see a long-time friend named Tom Phillips. He had not seen Tom in about 4 years. Tom was also very very successful. The child of a poor immigrant couple, he had grown up to be the CEO of the Raytheon Corporation. They were setting in Tom’s office enjoying each other’s company but Chuck noticed something different in Tom and he made mention of it. Tom agreed that he had changed and said these words, “I have accepted Jesus Christ as my savior and committed my life to Him.”