Saturday, March 15, 2008

The only feast that satisfies!

After this Jesus went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias. 2 And a large crowd was following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing on the sick. 3 Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples. 4 Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand. 5 Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a large crowd was coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?” 6 He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do. 7 Philip answered him, “Two hundred denarii would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.” 8 One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, 9 “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but twhat are they for so many?” 10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, about five thousand in number. 11 Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted. 12 And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.” 13 So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves left by those who had eaten."

Many people are following after this person named Jesus. He is the latest thing, the hottest ticket in town and everyone is talking about Him but not in a God way, only in a "have you heard" kinda way. Jesus has been preaching and teaching everywhere He goes around talking about the Kingdom of God and the need to repent of sins and to be born again (see John 3:16) but the crowds don't care about that. They have come to be served, to be entertained, to have their needs met and now the crowds gather to Jesus not because they believe He is the messiah but because of the buzz He has caused and the healing He has brought to the sick (vs 2).

This historical event is a familiar one. Jesus sees the crowds, asks Phillip where could they buy enough food to feed the people only to hear Phillip give an accounting of how much money they don't have and the impossibility of ministering to such a body of people. A young boy willingly gives Jesus all he has, 2 fish and 5 loaves. Jesus prays, gives thanks to God and through a supernatural miracle feeds 10,000 plus people with enough leftovers to fill 12 baskets. The people were filled (vs 12) with food, the gorged themselves, had as much as they wanted at the all you can eat fish and bread buffet and were satisfied.

"So when the crowd saw that Jesus was not there, nor his disciples, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum, seeking Jesus."

Fat, dumb, and happy the crowds forget all about Jesus until the next morning when their stomachs begin to rumble and their hunger reminds them of the guy, who the day before, provided their lunch for them.

25 "When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” 26 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. 27 Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.”

Time and time again we are told that the three basic necessities of life are food, clothing, and shelter. Yet Jesus blows this thought to bits as He tells the crowds the truth, "you are only here because you are hungry, because you are looking for a handout, because I gave you a free meal." He seems to say. "You aren't here because you recognize me as God but because you want breakfast."

Over and over again and again Jesus tells us not to work for or to struggle for, or to continually think, hope, and dream for the temporary , the things that are passing away, those things that can never satisfy. Instead He tells the people to labor for the food that endures throughout all eternity, Jesus Christ Himself.

Jesus is telling us not to feast on the things of this world that are fading away, that are temporary and that can never satisfy yet over and over again and again we see people, we know people, and we are guilty ourselves of seeking happiness, satisfaction, fulfillment in life in everything except Jesus. We look to find love in lust, to find satisfaction in our careers, to find completion in our families, and to find fullness in food. Ultimately we end up divorced, jobless, at odds with our loved ones, and fat.

Jesus says that none of these things can satisfy, they are temporary, they are lies, and apart from Him they lead to destruction and death.

The crowds who followed Jesus are much like us today, they were more concerned with the bling than they were with the King. More concerned with their 401ks than they were with John 3:16 and they were more interested in 20" rims than they were with the 9" nails being driven into the hands and feet of Jesus who hung dying on the cross on their and our behalf.

"Don't waste your life on these things" Jesus cries! Instead He invites us to feast on what truly satisfies, Jesus Christ Himself. Jesus said
35“I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst."


This isn't some short time food high taken from a Chinese buffet with 99 items! No matter how good the kung-pao chicken or the egg rolls are our stomachs empty and once again we are hungry, looking for more.

What Jesus is telling us that He is the only source of fullness, the true source of love (1 John 4:16) dying on the cross in our place. He completes us as He transforms us into the men and women we were created to be (Philippians 1:6). He gives us fullness and abundant lives as we follow His will for our lives (John 10:10) serving Him and others over ourselves and He gives us the kind of satisfaction that can bring joy in the face of trials as James speaks of and in suffering and anxiety that Paul speaks of in Philippians.

Jesus didn't leave glory, come down from heaven, submit Himself to arrest, beatings, mocking, crucifixion, and death for nothing. He didn't purchase us out of hell and save us to a life of safety, a life of overeating ourselves into obesity, entertaining ourselves into boredom, spending ourselves into bankruptcy, only to die and go to heaven at a ripe old age. He bought us at an incredibly high price, with His own precious blood not so that He could continue to be our Jesus in the box popping up when we have a wish or a need.

No, Jesus purchased us to a new life, a full life, one of submitting ourselves to His authority, one of seeking and obeying His will for us which includes serving others, giving generously, taking risks for the advancement of the kingdom, sharing the gospel, being in the world but not of the world, knowing our Bibles, praying continually to God for ourselves and others, and following Jesus where ever He leads even in times when it doesn't make sense.

Tonight we will be worshiping at the Lord's table and my question to you is where are you seeking to be satisfied? Is it at the table of the world where you can never get enough, and where you can never be satisfied or is it at the Lord's table where He satisfies no matter what the situation?

Some in the crowds asked Jesus 28 “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”

My main this morning is to lift Jesus up to you, to make Him so glorious that you don't want to serve anything else, that you wouldn't dare seek after anything else to take His place, that you would love Him and worship Him and enjoy Him forever as Savior, as King of your life going anywhere He leads. Do you believe in Him whom God has sent?

Next Sunday we will come again to this place and worship Jesus on Easter Sunday. The day we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. What do you hunger for this morning? Is it for a deeper relationship with the King? Are you seeking out His face and His will for your life? Or are you looking to the world for temporary riches placing your hope in things that fade and in the end lead to death?

Jesus is the bread of life and the living water and only He satisfies.

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