John 6:3-7 (ESV) “Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples. Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand. 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?’ He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him, ‘Two hundred denarii worth of bread would not be enough for each of them to get a little.’”
A little… the money they had would not be enough to get them each even a little food. Jesus knew this, but He also knew that He was about to do something that was better than enough.
When Jesus asked Philip how they would feed all these people, did the idea of Jesus doing a miracle ever occur to him? He had already seen Jesus do a multiplying miracle at the wedding in Cana (John 2:1-12). Did He forget already that Jesus could make something out of nothing?
Phillip answered with the acknowledgment that there was no earthly way possible to feed all these people.Two hundred denarii was equivalent to eight month’s worth of wages for a common laborer in that time. Yet, this wasn’t enough to scratch the surface of the need presented to Jesus and His disciples.
After Jesus multiplied a little boy’s offering of five loaves of bread and two fish, and everyone in the crowd had their fill, Jesus instructed His disciples to gather up the leftovers. Twelve baskets full of fragments were left - not only was it enough, but they had more leftover than what they started with..
Their bellies were satisfied - for now - but, as we will see you later in the text, what Jesus had in mind for them with something more than what money could ever buy.
There is another passage that comes to mind about what money cannot buy when it comes to satisfaction.
The prophet Isaiah asks God’s people one of my favorite questions, right after he beckons them to come to the well of God… ”Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come buy and eat! Come buy wine and milk without money and without price. (55:1)
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy?” (55:2a)
Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live…” (55:2b-31)
God was getting ready to pull them out of exile, away from Babylon and home to Zion. For far too long, they had served the idols of the land to which they were exiled, and the Father wanted their hearts cleared of this clutter so they could be ready to receive what He was about to do. He was drawing their hearts back to Him, the One who offered them life.
What if God wants to pull us out of our exile and wandering, but we refuse to set our hearts and minds on Him long enough to need Him? Long enough to be filled with Him? As we continue to go after that which does not satisfy, we are allowing the clutter to remain where God wants to dwell.
I was driving to go pick up some precious cargo (my oldest girl) from college and wanted to spend some time in worship alone in my car. I began to sing these lyrics:
“As the deer panteth for the water, so my soul longeth after Thee….”
But as I sang I could feel the clutter in my spirit more than I could feel any type of spiritual hunger for the Lord. This wrecked me, because I know there is nothing more satisfying than to be filled up with Jesus. I began to pray, “Father, remove everything in my heart that would keep me from being hungry for You. I want to be emptied out of me, so that I can be filled back up with You. Holy Spirit do what You need to do.” I continued on in my trip, praying and asking God to reveal things to me that I needed to surrender. He began to do just that. This wasn't the first time I have come to this place, and it won’t be the last. In fact, I ask God for this quite often. “Lord, take whatever doesn’t belong and fill me with You.”
In our humanness, we run to everything the world has to offer over and over, even when we don’t realize it. Acknowledgement on social media, approval from a friend, love from our spouse… even “good” things can become a source of clutter when we seek them out more than we seek out our Savior. We end up allowing them to take up space where Jesus should be dwelling. Eventually we realize just how unfulfilled we are, just trying to satisfy our souls with anything but Him. We spend time, energy, money, and even emotional health on obtaining things that will never satisfy us. I am guilty of all of this.
So what is it for you? What have you chased after for satisfaction? What is cluttering your heart?
Going back to our text in John 6, we see Jesus’ true intentions for the crowd of people He fed that day on the hillside. They followed Jesus to the other side of the sea, and when they found Him, He said this, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not work 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.” (26-27)
The discourse continues:
Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” So they said to him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father 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.” They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.” (28-34)
“Sir, give us this bread always.”
“Jesus said to them, ‘I AM the bread of Life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.’
It’s all in Him. All we need. All that satisfies. All we truly want.
Jesus, my soul longs for You. Just like the deer longs for streams of water, my soul longs for You. In You, and You alone, do I find true satisfaction. You are my Soul Bread, and You give me life.