Summary: A reminder that true satisfaction is only found through faith in Jesus.
True Satisfaction: The Bread of Life
I. Christ Came To Meet Our Felt Needs
A. Jesus recognized that the crowd was needy and He met their need
B. He knows about our felt needs and came to supply them
II. Too Often We Focus Only on Our Felt Needs
A. We live as though our immediate ache is all that needs attention
B. When everything is fine, we hail Him as King
III. Christ Came To Meet Our Deepest Need
A. We want an instant answer to our problems—He came as Bread that truly satisfies
B. We want our satisfaction in this life—He came to give us eternal life
C. We want Him as King as long as He meets our felt needs—He came as the King
IV. We Can Only Have Our Deepest Needs Met By Faith
A. It begins with a work by God in us
B. It is apprehended by faith
Please turn in your Bibles to John 6. We will read the entire chapter together.
The account we just read is familiar to most of us. We have all heard the story of how Jesus fed the 5,000 with only a small boy’s lunch many times before. And we like to hear such stories about the awesome power of God being displayed in such a miraculous way. But I believe there is a danger in focusing only on the sensational side of this story. It’s easy for us to get caught up in the miracle and lose sight of John’s big purpose in recording this event.
The reason that John records this story is to deal with the topic of experiencing satisfaction in life. This particular story reveals to us two views of satisfaction—one that focuses on momentary needs and one that is concerned with the root cause of all our dissatisfaction. The good news that John wants us to understand is that Christ is concerned about every facet of our lives. He knows and understands the longings in our hearts and He came to meet our needs. His is a ministry to the total person. The abundant life He came to offer is not just for some future life, but also for the life we now live. The lesson we are to learn from this story is that true satisfaction is only found through faith in Jesus. By partaking of the Bread of Life, we will be satisfied eternally.
Christ Came To Meet Our Felt Needs
The first thing that this story teaches us about the ministry of Jesus is that he came to meet our felt needs. To put it another way, Christ came to fulfill our immediate needs.
Jesus Recognized That the Crowd Was Needy and He Met Their Need
John begins this account by informing us that Jesus crossed to the far side of the Sea of Galilee. He tells us what Jesus did, but he does not tell us why. The other Gospel writers reveal the reason behind Jesus’ journey to the other side of the lake. He and His disciples had been so busy ministering to the needs of the multitude that they did not have time to spend with one another. So Jesus called His disciples to Himself and made preparations to go to the other side of the Sea of Galilee for a retreat.
But as John points out, Jesus’ plans were frustrated. As soon as the crowds got wind of what they were going to do, they ran along the shore and met Jesus and His disciples at their destination. And although it was somewhat of an imposition, Luke tells us that when He saw the crowds approaching, He welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed healing (9:11). Jesus recognized that the crowd was needy. Instead of becoming indignant about their obvious intrusion, He had compassion upon them and sought to minister to them again.
As the day was drawing to a close, Jesus realized that the crowd would be experiencing another need. He recognized that they had traveled a great distance, and that they had spent a long, exhausting day listening to Him teach and receiving healing for their various ailments. Now they would feel the sensation of hunger, but they had made no provisions to meet such a demand.
We are all familiar with how Jesus met this pressing need. After testing His disciples’ faith, He accepted a lunch from a small boy—five small barley loaves and two small fish. He had His disciples assemble the crowd into manageable groups. Then He blessed the food and gave it to His disciples to distribute to all. John tells us that each one had as much as he/she needed. After all had been fed, the disciples were commanded to gather up the leftovers—and they collected enough to fill 12 personal-sized baskets. Jesus knew what the people needed and he supplied their need.