“They all ate and were satisfied and the disciples picked up twelve baskets full of broken pieces that were left over.”  Matthew 14:20

Satisfy:  to fill the desires, expectations, needs or demands of; to solve or dispel, as a doubt. (Source: http://www.dictionary.com)

The statement comes at the end of one of the largest scale miracles that Jesus performs; the feeding of the five thousand.  Jesus was no longer an obscure wandering enigma.  Had he been such, maybe some dozens, hardly hundreds might have come out.  No, His fame had become known, stories of his miraculous healings had spread and thus, thousands came out a considerable distance to hear Jesus preach.

We know from scripture that they eventually become physically hungry yet it is important that we realize that more than physical hunger is going on here.  Jesus is satisfying more than just a rumbling stomach.  For what drove these folks to travel out into a wilderness, away from the comforts of immediate food and shelter to listen to this man?  The people were spiritually hungry  as well.  They may not have been as keenly aware of it, because spiritual hunger is not often accompanied by distressful sounds or physical pain.  Yet their spiritual hunger; their expectation that God was something greater than what was being told them by the religious leaders of the day, their need to hear good news preached, their desire to receive salvation, drove them just as hard as any physical emptiness.

Jesus knew this.  And as was His practice with all His miraculous healings, He did not just focus on the physical.  Jesus knew what was needed most.  He needed to satisfy their spiritual needs as well as their physical needs.  So He spent the day teaching them.  We know He would have taught them of His Father’s Kingdom because He said that was what He was sent to do.  We know that they stayed and listened gladly because the hour became late and no one had left.

If Jesus had just been a preacher, He might have sent them on.  He might have cut His lesson short to give enough physical time for travel.  But Jesus would not neglect their spiritual hunger so He taught until they were satisfied.  Now came their physical hunger.  But was feeding them really Jesus’ responsibility?  It was not the leaders of the synagogue who prepared meals for those who attended their services.  Send them away, a disciple tells Jesus to do.  We know from the gospels, especially John, that Jesus was much more than just a teacher, preacher or even prophet.  Jesus was the Christ, who was there and actively participated in the creation of all things.  These people were of His creation and He was not willing to see His creation suffer when they’d come out to see and hear Him.

Jesus feeds them physically.  He doesn’t just supply them with a morsel or two.  He doesn’t give them a small snack to tie them over until they can get a substantial meal.  No, Jesus gives them as much as they can eat.  In some gospel versions it states they ate all that they could.  In common vernacular they were stuffed.  They were satisfied.

Today brothers and sisters, you and I, as well as the world, find ourselves in a similar situation.  We are hungry.  And I would say as far as our spiritual hunger is concerned it can be classified as a famine.  All over people find themselves in a desperate search for spiritual truth, peace and rest.  Yet today, there are so many more competing messages trying to feed that ravenous hunger.  Self help books, cds, pod casts and TV shows abound.  Everyday, someone is preaching a new process or a new insight about how to achieve wholeness and satisfaction but if we are to believe the ever increasing use of anti-depression medications their claims seem dubious.  Jesus Christ knows this and urgently beckons us to “Come unto Him”.  Jesus knows exactly, personally what we need for our spiritual well being and freely gives it to us in abundance.  He asks us to join with Him spiritually, reading His Word and being in as well as sharing His Love.

We are also physically hungry.  The world has an answer for that too; except here, the world tells us to never be satisfied.  The world’s lesson is to keep fighting, clawing for more to eat and more things to have.  Satisfaction is not only not something to obtain it is not really even something to strive for in the natural world.  More, more, more is the shout of the world.  You need to be hungry and stay hungry; more hungry than the other person if you’re going to beat them in this world; if you’re going to win.  If I live by the world’s teaching, I may very well get my food today, may satisfy now’s hunger; but what about tomorrow?   In living in a worldly manner, we have little serenity today and much fear about tomorrow.  The only brief satisfaction might be in what has happened in the past.  Jesus Christ teaches us just the opposite.  Your Heavenly Father; Jesus tells us: knows what we need before we ask.  And it is His good favor and grace to freely give to us who ask out of His Love and Mercy.

Yes it is clear, to be truly satisfied spiritually and physically can come from only one source: Our Heavenly Father.  Through Jesus Christ, we can have the utmost faith, that true, eternal satisfaction will come from the sustaining Love of Our Heavenly Father.  May it be that we live a life of as well as proclaim to the world about the satisfaction that comes from Him.

Our Most Gracious and Heavenly Father we loudly proclaim that all satisfaction; both physical and spiritual comes from You.  Thank you Merciful Father that You so freely and abundantly meet our every need.  Thank you Eternal Father, that we do not have to worry about what tomorrow may bring for You have promised to never forsake us.  May we live sanctified lives, being totally satisfied in the plan that You have set before us.  Praise be to Your Name in the Name of Jesus Christ we pray.  Amen

(Author’s note: Today’s Part 1 is about being satisfied.  Tomorrow’s, Part 2, will be about when we’re called to satisfy others)