I love to eat. You may not be able to tell though considering how skinny I am. But those who know me know that I can put away a serious amount of food. Now, normally I bring my lunch to work. My wife, God bless her beautiful soul, makes my lunch each night for work the next day. (In case you’re wondering, yes I’m spoiled. But remember, behind every man there is a great woman. And mine just happens to be the greatest of all. Don’t be jealous!) Mostly my lunch consists of leftovers and that’s a good thing because my wife can really cook. Occasionally it’s the standard lunch fare of a sandwich, chips, a granola bar, and some yogurt.
Well, the other day I didn’t bring a lunch to work. There were no leftovers and I overslept so there was no time to make anything that morning. What followed was a miserable day for my stomach. As lunch time approached and the realization that I had nothing to eat hit me, I scrambled for ideas. I remembered I had some loose change in the car. Maybe, just maybe I would have enough to buy a Snickers bar. You’ve heard the commercials…”Snickers really satisfies!” Well I needed some satisfaction and I mean bad.
The Snickers bar I ate for lunch did satisfy. At least for a little while (about 2 minutes!). It wasn’t long before I wanted more. All I could think about for the rest of the day was food. Oh….and of course Jesus! Now thinking of Jesus during a time of extreme hunger or thirst may seem a bit odd, but let me explain. Follow along as we read a teaching from Jesus himself.
“When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, ‘Rabbi, when did you get here?’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.’ Then they asked him, ‘ What must we do to do the work God requires?’ Jesus answered, ‘The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.’ So they asked him, ‘ What miraculous sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? Our forefathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’ Jesus said to them, ‘I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.’ ‘Sir,’ they said, ‘from now on give us this bread.’ Then Jesus declared, ‘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. But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.'”
Jesus had just fed the 5000 the day before and now they’re back, most likely looking for another meal. Jesus teaches that we can hunger and search for many things in this world but we should hunger for him. Matthew 5:6 promises us that when we hunger and thirst for righteousness that we will be filled. When we seek after God with all that we are, when we look to the Son and believe in him, he satisfies.
Sadly, it seems that only the 12 disciples got the message. We see in John 6:66-68 that many left Jesus after this teaching. They had come looking for physical food and miracles and left empty-handed. If they had only realized, like the 12, that the very words of Christ bring eternal life (vs. 68) they would have been filled.
So what is our reaction today? Are we busy looking to fill our physical wants and desires? Are we hungry and thirsty for fame, success, and comfort? Or are we looking for sustenance in Jesus? Do we find solace in his words and peace in his provision? If so, you’ll find out that Jesus, and only Jesus, really satisfies!