“I want to be successful”. “I hold very close my portfolio”. “I find myself fulfilled in being a mother and wife”. “I live to ride, I ride to live”. “I’d rather be……..”
You get the picture. We each have our own desires and appetites. They’re not wrong in and of themselves. Scripture even tells us that God gives us desires of our hearts. It speaks of God fulfilling the desires of those who fear Him. Certain wants, appetites, and passions are part of God’s creation in and for us. We all have them and we each cultivate them. They can leads us to eternal life or to death everlasting.
As a church, we have been feasting in the book of John for over a year now in our Sunday morning worship. We have reached chapter 6 and my what treasures we’ve found, what a Treasure we have! In my study of these 71 verses I have found not a compilation of several well known stories of Jesus, His feeding of 5000 men with a couple of dried fish and bread loaves, or His walking on water, or a difficult discourse to His followers who mostly run away from Him. In times past, I have wrongly taken these stories as simply stand alone examples of His great power over creation and His authority to judge and our only Way of eternal life. They are all that but so much more.
John has written his gospel so that we may see, taste, savor and believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and that we might have eternal life by believing in Him. (John 20:31) Chapter 6 must be read and studied in that context, as a continuing discourse by John to describe Jesus as the Bread of Life. It is this that the miracle of the feeding of 5000 points to, it’s what the walking on the water points to, and it’s what Jesus’ rebuttal of ‘Jesus seekers’ points to. He is not simply our miracle worker, not only our strong and powerful king, not just Moses’ foretold prophet of old, He is so much more. He is to be our Treasure, our heart’s desire.
I have been impressed with the fact that Jesus has turned away from those who have ‘wanted’ Him. Jesus withdrew Himself numerous times from ‘seeking’ people and even protected His apostles from seeker sensitive ministry. He did not entrust Himself to people who believed in His power, who wanted Him to be their King, who were drawn to Him because he performed signs. After having ate their full, I believe many ‘loved’ Jesus and would have followed Him to their death as they marched on Rome. They wanted Jesus. They were correct in the fact that He was all of these things but He still refused to grant life to the majority of the crowds because they did not receive Him for all that He was.
He was useful to the crowd. He was powerful enough to bring down the Roman government, He was able to keep their bellies full and He was healing sick and dying people. He was useful and they wanted Him for that reason alone. They did not see Him as their Bread of Life, a feast spread before them for their satisfaction at the deepest level, the Treasure that leads to eternal joy. ‘He’ wasn’t enough, they desired His miracles. He wanted them to see that it was He and He alone that satisfies and not the miracle provided. They missed the sign giver and only saw the sign. They followed Him because He filled their bellies not because He filled their souls.
It’s interesting that John does not record the fact that Jesus calmed the storm on the sea of Galilee, as do other gospels, but ends that story with the fact that the 12 disciples simply were ‘glad to take Him in the boat’ with them. It didn’t matter whether Jesus calmed the storm, He was enough. He was becoming their Treasure. Yes, He had provided 12 additional baskets of food for them but what was that to them at the point of death in this storm? Jesus, Himself, was enough and their utmost satisfaction at this moment. The disciples in the boat were beginning to get it.
As unregenerate people we fail to see Him as our Treasure and our Bread of life, a Feast spread out before us for our greatest appetites. We are blinded to this truth, we can’t see Him as such. If you don’t see Him as Satisfier of your deepest needs, pray that He opens your eyes. Fall before Him pleading that you have eyes capable of seeing. We have this assurance of scripture that those who truly seek Him will find Him. God will open blind eyes.
As believers, may we grow in the satisfaction of Him as our All in All, our Soul Satisfier. Let us ask Him to change our temporal, petty desires we still have to ones of eternal value which are only met by Him. Grow deeper in the richness of His glory and His presence. Let us feast upon the very Bread of Life and be ‘glad to take Him into our boat’ in the midst of life’s worst storms. Let His presence by our comfort. He might even calm the storm!