I Can’t Get No Satisfaction

BY ERICK SORENSEN

It seems that no matter where we look in this world, we never quite find what we really need.

But that hasn’t stopped us from trying. For example, many people believe if they just have more stuff, more financial security, more money, than they will finally have what they need. So they work and work and work hoping to get rich to finally rest content. But of course, as we can see from the richest of the rich, satisfaction alludes them. Consider what John Rockefeller (one of the richest men in the history of the world), said. Asked by a reporter once, “How much money is enough?” he responded, “Just a little bit more.” Jim Carrey, the well known comedian and actor (who’s made plenty of money) said recently in a graduation speech, “I hope everybody could get rich and famous, and will have everything they ever dreamed of, so they will know that it’s not the answer.”

Some may realize this and so they seek after satisfaction in their achievements. So they work harder and harder to show themselves as accomplished, important people. But again, the most accomplished people among us don’t testify that’s true. Consider the words of Tom Brady: In an interview on 60 minutes he said: “Why do I have three Super Bowl rings (now 4) and still think there’s something greater out there for me? I mean, maybe a lot of people would say, “Hey man, this is what it is.” I reached my goal, my dream, my life. I think, “God, it’s got to be more than this.” I mean this isn’t, this can’t be what it’s all cracked up to be.”

If you think food will meet your needs, I promise you it won’t. Anyone that knows me knows that I’m crazy about In-N-Out Burger (born and raised in California, besides family, it is THEE thing I miss most since moving out to NYC). On a recent road trip to California I’m telling you I was craving an In-N-Out Double-Double more than anything in the world. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on one of those gifts from the heavenly places. With each day that passed on our way out there my craving grew more and more. And then finally, in Reno, Nevada, we found an In-N-Out. I ran inside the place and waited with baited breath before taking my first bite….

Now don’t get me wrong, it was good. But folks, in all honesty, it wasn’t nearly as good as I remembered. It satisfied me for a little bit, but soon I was onto something else. That is true of all food by the way. Lesslie Newbiggin, a former missionary to the poorest of the poor in India once quipped, “To a hungry man a good meal looks like heaven; when he has eaten it he knows that it is not.”  

That last point is where the crowds surrounding Jesus often were. In John 6, they had just been the recipients of Jesus’ miraculous feeding of the 5,000. They all ate to their fill, and now (no longer satisfied), they are asking him for more. As we read the Scriptures, we come to find out that His answer to the “more” is all found in Him. He alone meets our deepest needs….

He meets our need for a true God

Martin Luther said in His Large Catechism while discussing the First Commandment, “Anything on which your heart relies and depends, I say, that is really your God.” In other words, it's impossible for us to live without a god. Even if we say we don't need God or we worship no God, the fact is we can't stop ourselves from worshipping Something and putting it in the place of God. So then, the question is not whether we will worship, but rather who or what we should worship. What Jesus shows us is He the only one who truly meets that need:

“I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” That statement, although maybe not obvious to us, would have been a clear statement to the crowd of His divinity, because He begins with the solemn title for God, “I AM”. This is the first of seven times in the gospel of John that He declares Himself to be something that only the eternal God can be. In John 8:12 He says “I am the light of the world.” In John 10:9 He declares, “I am the gate; whoever enters through me shall be saved.” In John 10:11 He says, “I am the Good Shepherd.” In John 11:25 He states, “I am the resurrection and the life.” In John 14:6 He declares, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” And in John 15:6 He says, “I am the vine.” All these are ways of Jesus saying, “I am God, I am THE SOURCE and therefore I am the only one that can truly satisfy what your soul is looking for.” As St. Augustine is famous for saying, “Our hearts are restless until they find their rest in thee.” So Jesus meets our need for a true God.

He meets our need for a true Saviour

Just as we all can't help having a God we worship, we can't help but look to Something to save us. And the reason that is is because we know somewhere in the back of our minds that we don't measure up. We know that we've sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. So we look to all sorts of things to be functional saviors (usually a spouse, or money, or power, or fame, but really it could be anything).

What Jesus shows us is that He and He alone is qualified to meet that need for us.  The Bible says that the only way to avoid the wrath of God at our sin was to have someone live perfectly in our place. I needed a completely righteous substitute to live for me. Thankfully, Jesus says in Matthew’s gospel that He did that. But that’s not all He did to be the savior we need. Because not only did someone need to live in our place, someone needed to take the punishment for our sins as well. Someone needed to die in our place. Thankfully, 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “He became sin, who knew no sin so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” On the cross, Jesus satisfied God’s righteous requirement for perfect justice so that we wouldn’t have to!

But of course the good news is that He did not stay dead. He is after all the “living Bread”! He is the one who defeated death by rising from the grave three days later, proclaiming His victory for us. And therefore He can declare to all who believe, that their sins are forgiven, that in baptism they are washed clean and thus SAVED!

He meets our need for Life

Yes, Jesus alone satisfies because only He alone gives eternal life. Look, you and I and everybody else in this world can’t fathom non-existence. And the reason that is is because the Bible says “eternity is set in the hearts of men.” So we look over and over and over again for some way in this world to give ourselves eternal life, and Jesus says, “No, no, no, this is where you have to look. I am the only One who can satisfy that desire of yours.”

“For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” (John 6:40) “And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.”(John 6:39). “I should lose nothing. Nothing. None of those who are mine will be lost. I will bring you to eternal life Christian. It’s a guarantee!”

Sadly, I talk to far too many Christians that live without assurance that on the final day they’ll actually make it to heaven. They say things like, “I hope I’m ready, I hope that I’m really truly forgiven,” or even worse, “I hope I’ve done enough good things to outweigh my bad.”  Folks, it couldn’t be any more clear: Jesus promises that those who simply believe in Him, trust in His work FOR THEM, have nothing to fear. Therefore, you can rest. You have eaten and tasted of the bread of life, taken in his body and blood at the Table and that is not food that ever spoils or goes rotten.

And the best part is that God does it all for free!

Therefore, “whoever comes to Him will never go hungry, and whoever believes in Him will never be thirsty”. In other words, in Him, though everything else in life may waste away, you will find your deepest satisfaction.  

Erick is married to Melissa and they have 3 boys together. He earned his Master of Divinity Degree from Lutheran Brethren Seminary and has served as a Pastor in Fontana, California and Staten Island, New York. He also serves as the Chairman of Fifth Act Church Planting. In September of 2015 Erick started to plant Epiphany Lutheran Church in Manhattan.

Twitter @ErickSorensen