JESUS OUR LORD MEETS OUR DEEPEST NEEDS
Of all the words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these: “It might have been.” Folks, there is no need whatsoever for a follower of Jesus Christ to despair over what was, what is, what will be.
Of all the unmet needs of senior adults, the saddest is dissatisfaction with one’s life. Folks, there is no need for a follower of Jesus to despair over dissatisfaction with his or her Christian life. Jesus is the answer to one’s need for true satisfaction.
To better understand how and why He is the answer, we must begin by asking:
Who was Jesus? He himself asked that question of His closest followers. First, He asked them, “Who do folks say I am?” Then He asked them a pointed question, “Who do YOU say I am?”
As we look back upon that particular encounter with His disciples, we soon realize that, just as they needed to answer that question then, it is important for us to do so today. It’s one thing to say “I am a follower of Christ”; it is quite another to know who Christ is.
The Apostle Peter seized upon that question and gave the answer that all Christians ought to give, “You are the Christ, Son of the living God.”
In this series of studies, our focus is not on the question of who Jesus was based on public opinion; nor do we focus on Peter’s declaration of who Jesus was. Our focus will be who Jesus Himself declared He was and is and forever shall be.
Our Lord declared Himself to be the One who meets our deep need for contentment: “I am the bread of life.” (John 6:35)
John gave us the context of this declaration in John 6:22-29 . . . One of His most famous miracles occurred when Jesus took two barley loaves of bread and two small fish, gave thanks, and multiplied it so
that there was enough to feed five thousand.
That miracle excited the imagination of the crowd to the extent that many of them clamored to stay with Him and go wherever He went so that they could keep on being thrilled by and receiving from the miracle worker. John says that:
On the morning after the miracle, many of the folks who had received food miraculously saw the disciples get into a boat without Jesus to go to Capernaum. Then they noticed that Jesus was no longer in their presence. So, as many as could, got on a fishing boat bound for Capernaum, all the while wondering where Jesus was. Do you ever wonder where Jesus is?
When they got to Capernaum, they set out to find the Disciples to find out where Jesus was; and to their amazement, Jesus was already there. Don’t you just love it? He was already there? Never forget this: “Jesus is always there”!
Jesus ignored their question as to how and when He got there. Jesus never allowed His followers to dwell on the psychic thrill associated with His miracles.
Instead, in this instance, Jesus addressed their need to think of bread as a gift from God. The day before, when they had been fed by the Lord God, rather than praise God for His gift, they had pled: “Give us more of that wonder bread”!
All people of course experience physical hunger which must be satisfied – but there is also spiritual hunger which can never be satisfied by the food we grow or buy at the grocery store.
No one likes to eat good food more than I do . . . After satisfying hunger, though, there remains within an emptiness which can only be satisfied spiritually.
There is always that yearning for spiritual satisfaction . . . hunger and thirst for righteousness . . . truth . . . lasting love . . . a relationship that goes beyond the temporal relationships between human beings . . . the good life – the abundant life. At my age and stage in life, I have learned that the spiritual longings of my heart and soul can only be satisfied by a close relationship to the one and only Son of God sent from God to show the way to God and therefore the way to happiness.
I am content because I know Him whom to know is life eternal. Nothing is more satisfying to me than my walk with the Lord in the Light of His Word.
The folks that came to Jesus the day after He had multiplied two little barley loaves were anxious to know what kind of “work for God” they would have to do to receive the kind of bread that would provide an unending supply.
They wanted to know the “secret” of getting more of that miracle bread, and they wanted to know what they would have to DO. Responding to their desire, Jesus astonished them:
“The work of God is this: BELIEVE in the One God has sent and upon whom God has placed His seal of approval!” Jesus is officially the One who satisfies spiritually! Eternal Life has been signed, sealed and delivered to us in the redemptive work of God’s Son and our Savior Jesus Christ!
Do you see what Jesus was trying to get them to see? Spiritual satisfaction is not a matter of what you DO to earn that satisfaction; no, it is a matter of who you believe in. He tells them that their work is to BELIEVE in Him as the One who can and will meet their spiritual needs and to RECEIVE Him into their hearts.
“Okay, Jesus; if believing in YOU is the only way we can gain access to that bread which will multiply itself, so that we will never again hunger, give us a sign that will enable us to believe in you.” John 6:30-34 . . .
One of the folks who wanted to argue with Jesus tried to back Him into a corner by falling back on the strategy of referring to the familiar story of a miracle that occurred back in the days of their ancestors. This person reminded Jesus of the manna that fell from heaven when Moses asked God to perform the miracle of feeding the tribes while they wandered in the wilderness.
Jesus answered the man’s argument by explaining that “the bread of God” is the spiritual sustenance offered by the One who has come from heaven to give real life - eternal life – to all who believe.
Jesus explained that the “bread” God gives is spiritual in nature, “Okay”, they said, “Give us THAT bread so that we may have THAT spiritual life.” Then Jesus spoke one of His great “I Am” declarations - John 6:35-40 . . .
What did Jesus mean? Think of what bread is used for, and it becomes clear beyond the shadow of a doubt as to His metaphorical meaning.
Bread sustains life. All of my life I have heard bread referred to as the staff of life. If you glance at a “food chart of essentials for healthy living,” you notice that every chart shows that bread sustains.
Bread is essential to life. The life Jesus is talking about is far more than physical existence. It is spiritual life - our relationship with God. Yet, the Bible makes it clear that there can be no such relationship apart from God’s Son.
To say that Jesus is the “bread” of life is to say that Jesus is essential for eternal. This is not telling us that Jesus is essential for existence as a human being. People exist . . . were born into this world. Here we are. Our daily bread (food) is essential to human life. Therefore, enjoy it!
Let us realize, though, that mere existence is not what real life is all about. God allows us to exist on His earth. God sent His Son into the world to give us life that goes on, without end.
Once we accept Jesus as Savior and Lord, God satisfies that deepest longing of our hearts to know Him whom to know is life eternal and to be with Him forever. Therein lies true contentment! Therein lies everlasting satisfaction!
“I am satisfied with Jesus. He has done so much for me: “He has suffered to redeem me; He has died to set me free.”
“I am satisfied, I am satisfied, I am satisfied with Jesus,
“But the question comes to me, as I think of Calvary, “Is my Master satisfied with me?”
“When my work on earth is ended, and I cross the mystic sea, “Oh, that I could hear Him saying, “I am satisfied with thee”.
Everlasting satisfaction is ours for the asking . . . the believing . . . receiving! ASK . . . BELIEVE . . . RECEIVE!
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen!