by Arthur Diener
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." John 6:35
My son, Judah, eats like a teenager. He is two, but there are meals when he out-eats me! Last summer he ate an entire 1/4lb burger by himself, then wanted more. I am constantly amazed at that child’s appetite. While he was still an infant, my wife and I discussed what we would do if he refused to eat. I recalled hearing a comedian talk about this very thing, “Eat! You have to eat to live! They took your footprint at the hospital. They know I have you!” It was a blessing not to have to battle with my child over life-sustaining food. We traded the battle to get him to eat with the battle of keeping enough food in our house!
There is a greater need that all humans have that, sadly, a burger can’t satisfy. Our souls are hungry. We were made in the image of God, for a relationship with Him. But, when sin broke that relationship and all humanity was separated from Him, a hunger appeared in the hearts of men. We are all incomplete, missing something big, and there is no one but Jesus who can satisfy that need. We cannot be saved by doing good things; only faith in Christ can save us.
During His earthly ministry, Jesus continually addressed the difference between the physical and the spiritual. We see that most clearly when He criticized the Pharisees, a group of professional holy men who kept the letter of the law better than anyone. Jesus’ concern wasn’t for their outward behavior, but the condition of their hearts. At one point He called them “white-washed tombs.” They were spotless and clean on the outside, but filled with death (Matt. 23:27). Their spiritual condition was of greater importance to Jesus than their outward behavior. People have tried, and always will try, to fill an eternal, spiritual void with physical things, trying to earn favor, buy peace, or achieve salvation. But, an eternal problem requires an eternal solution.
When Jesus left the perfection of heaven, the indescribable glory of the presence of God, to pursue us, He did so to provide us with an eternal, sufficient, spiritual solution to our problem. We have the joy to celebrate the advent of Christ and the satisfaction of our hunger for restoration in Him. “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” John 6:35.
This Christmas we will eat, sing, give and receive gifts, and see loved ones. We might give to charity, participate in a service project, or go caroling. But, those good things will never fulfill our hearts like the love of Christ and unity with Him. Find your satisfaction in Him first, then let your love for Christ pour out to others. What better gift can we give than the hope and salvation only found in the gospel of Christ?