Audio Commentary by Life Focus teacher David Daniel
Lesson 191-August 4, 2019
Lesson: “What Are You Hungry For?”
Scripture: John 9: 27-29
Lesson Goal: To gain a better understanding of Jesus, the satisfier of our souls.
Introduction: As we look at today’s lesson it is imperative that we understand the context of the lesson. The context is found in Jesus feeding of the multitude (thousands) with two fish and five barley loaves. The Bible tells us that after Jesus had blessed the fish and bread the disciples distributed it in an orderly manner to all that were present. “So they all ate and were filled” (Mark 6:42).
Charles Swindoll offers us some insight concerning this event. “Those of us who benefit from twenty-first century abundance cannot fully appreciate the perspective of people struggling to survive in first century Gali-lee, Samaria and Judea. Spending time in developing countries, where one’s next meal is never guaranteed, would help us appreciate the significance of Jesus miraculous provision of food in the wilderness. Each per-son received as much as they desired. Undoubtably, for many of them this was the first time in a long time they had gone to bed on a full stomach. We cannot be too critical of that multitude. They woke up hungry the following morning, just like each of us will tomorrow. While most had returned to their homes, many searched the hill country but they were disappointed to discover their meal ticket had departed.”
Many followed seeking Jesus because of the physical food they had received from him. In seeking the physi-cal food they were missing the most important meaning of Jesus’ miracle. The crowd had witnessed the exter-nal sign of the miracle (their stomachs were full) but they had missed the eternal truth of the miracle. We are told by Mark (6:52) that even Jesus’ very own disciples had missed the meaning of the miracle.
Now with pen in hand, John writes to help us with the deeper meaning, the eternal meaning of this miracle.
(v27) Jesus said, “Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son Of man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.” In this verse Jesus contrast the perishable food with eternal spiritual food much like He did with the woman at the well concern-ing material water with spiritual water (John 4:10). Physical food (fish and bread) will sustain this life but cannot impact or sustain eternal life. The focus of the people was the physical food that Jesus had provided, now He turns the focus to the eternal. Just as Jesus had satisfied their physical hunger He wanted them to un-derstand He would satisfy their spiritual hunger. He could satisfy the hunger pains of their souls.
In the words of Matt Carter and Josh Wredberg, “No matter how good the meal tastes, no matter how much money you spend on it, no matter how amazing it is, at some point in the future, you’ll be hungry. Jesus makes this point to the crowd. He says in essence, ‘You are after more bread, but it won’t last. The bread you want may fill you up for the moment, but it will be temporary.’” Carter and Wredberg continue, “The bread of this life that we crave never lasts long enough. All of the physical things we look to for meaning eventually fade. That which we think gives our lives so much meaning is never quite enough. We always need more but even more won’t do it. We think when this event happens or this goal is achieved or we reach this milestone, then finally life will be worth living. But even those who reach their goals still die. That’s where each of our stories is heading. Eventually, food won’t keep us alive. Neither will medicine, money, friendship or family.”
Question: What will it take for your life to find contentment?
Question: What do you need in order to find value in your life?
Question: What have been your pursuits during the past twelve months?
Question: Is your deepest hunger for something bigger and better on this earth (car, house, boat, RV, river lot,
mountain retreat, beach property)? How much or how many of these such things does it take to make you happy?
True fulfillment will never be found in such things but we sure do spend a great deal of our time on earth in
pursuit of many of these things. There is not anything intrinsically evil or inherently wrong with such things
but to invest life in a constant pursuit of temporal things while neglecting the eternal is to travel a road that
leads to destruction (see Matthew 16:26).
Please explain the words of Leon Morris, “They were moved not by full hearts, but by full bellies.”
Jesus was well aware of the physical needs of the people but His greatest concerns were their spiritual
(v27) “Do not labor for the food which perishes.” Is Jesus telling us not to work at making a living or to work
in providing for ourselves and our families? Not at ALL! Jesus was speaking in terms of the “excessive attention
to labor for the body while the soul is neglected. What He reproved was the common habit of laboring
only for the things of time and letting alone the things of eternity-of minding only the life that now is and disregarding
the life to come.” J. C. Ryle
(v27) “but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the
Father has set His seal on Him.” Notice the “Son of Man will give you.” This food that Jesus speaks (eternal
life) He provides. He, Himself is that food! Eternal life is a gift, it cannot be earned. This salvation is not of
works. Jesus’ answer to the question of verse 28, “what shall we do that we may work the works of God?” Is
found in verse 29, “that you believe in Him in whom He sent.”
“Thus, Jesus answered their question by noting that the only work acceptable to God is to ‘believe in Him
whom He sent.’ Salvation is by grace alone (Ephesians 2:8-9) through faith alone (Romans 3:28) in Christ
alone (Acts 4:12), ‘because by the works of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight’ (Romans 3:20, Galatians
2:16). Salvation is the gift of God (John 4:10; Romans 5:15; 6:23; Ephesians 2:8). Thus salvation does
not come from human effort, achievement, or moral works, but from a faith that inevitably produces good
works (Ephesians 2:10; Matthew 3:10; 7:16-20; 12:33; 13:23; Luke 6:43-46; Ephesians 5:8-9; Colossians
1:10). A faith that does not produce fruit is dead, meaning it is not really biblical faith at all (James 2:14-26).
We close today’s lesson with some words from the Christ Centered Exposition Exalting Jesus in John, “If your
life consists of working day after day to put food on the table, its going to feel empty. If all your energy is targeted
at meeting your physical needs-needs that never take a day off your life will fill wasted. I wonder if the
reason so many Christians feel bored and restless is that their lives are spent pursuing that which can not satisfy;
another promotion at work, another vacation away, another sports victory, or another fancy meal. Jesus is
the bread of life; He’s the only one who can fill the emptiness inside us. A full life is a life spent in pursuit of
Jesus. A life spent any other way will feel barren and unfulfilled.
What are you truly hungry for?