Sermon – April 14, 2019
Everyone does what they think will give them the most pleasure, given the limitations of the options before them. You may find owning a yacht pleasing, but given the $5 in your account, you are unlikely to have one. Yet, you still spend (or save) that $5 in the way that you think will bring you the most happiness and satisfaction. Given our limited resources, where are we to find satisfaction? Or, perhaps a better question would be: where do we find satisfaction, and how deep and abiding is that satisfaction? Today, Jesus wants to press upon many who seek him to find a greater satisfaction; not in what he can give to them, but in Jesus himself.
1. You seek your satisfaction
When the crowd gets to Jesus, they ask an obvious question about how and when he got to the other side of the sea. Jesus doesn’t answer their question, but simply remarks that they are only there because they had their bellies filled with bread. Indeed, while this is something of a rebuke, it is also a teaching moment: the crowd should be there because they see Jesus for who the signs say he is, but they are more driven by their needs. As we all are! We all want pleasure, joy, satisfaction. This is just a normal mark of humanity. So:
2. Therefore, seek the best satisfaction
Jesus tell them not to work for bread that perishes, but for that which lasts for eternal life. In other words – if you are to be satisfied, make that satisfaction the best it can be. Things that perish, because they are able to be taken from you or because they are used up immediately, are either satisfy partially or not at all. You should want to be satisfied by the bread that lasts until eternal life – which Jesus can give to you.
3. Jesus is the best satisfaction
The crowds rightly ask Jesus what they must do to get this bread; when he says that they should believe in him, they ask if he can do better than he has done. After all, his miracle of multiplying bread is only an example of bread that perishes. Moses did this, and did this better! But Jesus shows them that they are wrong, and again mistaking the sign for what it symbolizes. Jesus isn’t comparing himself to Moses, but to the manna! He is what satisfies. He is not a magic portal, which will give you all the things you think you need to be satisfied. Jesus, many think, will deliver such things to you if you speak the right words. But, you can’t come to Jesus to get something from Jesus – you come for Jesus himself. Friend, Jesus is the best satisfaction that you can have. Consider everything else rubbish, and know Jesus and his resurrection!