Summary: Jesus is more than enough to satisfy our needs
News flash: I like food! You know — with a dash of seriousness — it doesn’t take a master chef to see that I’ve had a love-affair with food for some years. I’m like a lot of Americans, I often eat more than I need, in order be “satisfied.”
A number of years ago, I went to weight watchers and lost a 45 lbs; and then I put it back on again. Anyway, the Weight Watchers gurus use to say, “Eat until your satisfied; then put down your fork.” Okay, this was Jason they were talking too.
Lots of us would ask, “What do you mean, eat until you’re satisfied?” What they were trying to say was, “Listen to your body. When it tells you you’re full —stop eating!” What’s interesting though, is the other side of the plate. If we’re not eating enough and our tummies are rumbling, then we need to eat some more. In the perfect world, we’d all eat the right amount of food that our bodies need, and have good health. That’s something I’ve been aiming for lately.
I’m trying not to eat too much, or too little, while also exercising quite a bit. I’m learning what it means to consume just the right amount of food and drink in order to live a healthy life. Much is the same in the spiritual world.
This morning, if you haven’t already guessed, we’re gonna look at what it means to be satisfied in Jesus Christ: both physically, and spiritually. So with that, please turn in your bibles to the Matthew 14:13–21. Let’s read it again to satisfy our hungry souls, and to feed those listening on the website. READ MATTHEW 14:13–21
Okay, the first thing we see going here is that the crowds were following Jesus wherever he went. The day was getting late, the disciples wanted Jesus to dismiss the crowds so they could go and get something to eat. Then we hear Jesus’ reply, “You give them something to eat… and then came their retort: “We only have five loaves of bread and two fish.” They’re reply was understandable — in the flesh, but it was also an excuse — in the flesh.
What the disciples were essentially saying is “We don’t know how to feed the people; we can’t see beyond our limited understanding of the natural world.” From a human perspective, I think we can understand the disciples reply. Here’s the twelve, and they were looking out over the Galilean hillside, seeing thousands of people.
Matthew records that 5000 men were present that day, plus women and children. You know, some of the men would have been single, a few married without kids, and others married with children. The bible doesn’t give an exact number; we just know more than 5000 people were with Jesus and the disciples that day, and they were probably hungry.
Still, no matter how we split it, it can be difficult for us to envision dividing 5 loaves of bread and two fish — even if they were really big fish —5,000 ways. We can see why the disciples thought as they did; it’s just doesn’t seem possible in the natural realm. Still, Jesus doesn’t work in the natural alone; and the disciples knew that.
All this aside, there’s one other thing going on here too, one it’s good to see. The disciples didn’t want to feed the crowds, even after Jesus challenged them to do so.
In today’s language we could say that Jesus was the ultimate pastor; and the disciples — well, they were like the church in training. It’s kind of like they were saying to him, “Pastor Jesus, we don’t want to do the work you’re calling us to do. You do it, and we’ll watch.”
But look how Jesus responds: not with a rebuke, but with loving comfort and by getting the disciples to help him feed the crowds. What we need to see is that Jesus provided for the needs of the people, as the ultimate pastor, and encouraged and challenged the disciples to minister with him and feed the people with the miracle that he provided. This is how.
He provided in a three ways: physically — but satisfying the hunger of the people; pastorally — by satisfying them with loving comfort, grace, and fellowship; and lastly, by satisfying their hunger-pains to be forgiven. In all these ways, Jesus satisfied their hunger by providing what they needed the most. And the bible says that they all ate, and that they were all satisfied. But, what does this word “satisfied.”
THEY ALL ATE, AND WERE SATISFIED
The word satisfied we see here in the English, translates to means two things in Biblical Greek. The first way means to become full on food — like fish and bread. The people ate enough so that it filled their tummies. In fact, there was just enough left over that the disciples had to pick up the leftovers after the meal was done. Jesus provided enough food to fill the bellies of every man, woman and child there, plus a little bit more.