John 19:30: Satisfaction and Contentment, Part A
The Road to the Cross
Satisfaction is an interesting term. It conveys contentment and pleasure that occurs after someone completes a task that often may require effort, skill, and or endurance. Some people may describe the term satisfaction as feelings of happiness based on what they did and accomplished or based on what someone else did for them. The Bible teaches that satisfaction and its fellow followers – pleasure and contentment – is the result of completing a task that pleases God. In the Old and New Testaments, it carries the idea of being filled up (Ps. 103:5, 13; 107:9; 147:14; Matt. 5:6; 14:20; 15:37; Luke 6:21). Those who have the proper appetite and have the proper menu will be satisfied. Only believers have the proper menu. Sometimes they desire something else other than what God wants and pleases Him.
Jesus had the proper appetite and menu. Not only that, He had the proper attitude. John 17:4 (I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do) is part of Jesus’ High Priestly prayer. The night before His death, Jesus stepped away from the apostles to commune with the Father. The prayer is usually divided into three parts: He prayed for Himself (v.1-5), for the disciples (v.6-19), and for believers (v.20-26).
Jesus had set His face toward Jerusalem (Luke 9:51; 12:49; 13:32), the place where He would ultimately confront the religious leaders and the ethnic nation of Israel. He was bringing to an end the old creation and the old way of existence. He instituted the new creation by opening the age of the Kingdom of God which was marked by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2). In this Garden of Gethsemane prayer, Christ presented the gospel in a personal and visible form. He was both the holy, harmless, undefiled Lamb of God who was condemned and sacrificed in Jerusalem and He was the scapegoat who was crucified outside of Jerusalem (Leviticus 16).
The Father had given Jesus a work to do and He joyfully accepted it (John 6:37-43; 17:4). In eternity past, the Triune God willed that the Father gifted Jesus with His people, that Jesus would purchase God’s people by His perfect life and death, and that the Son would receive the Father’s gift. Throughout his gospel, John wrote that Jesus came to do His Father’s will. John 4:31-34 is one such place. Jesus enjoyed pleasing the Father. Pleasing the Father was not simply duty and obedience for Christ (Ps. 40:6-8). John 4:31-34 tells us that Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, was nourished in His whole person to please His Father which carried its own comfort and strength. The more Jesus pleased the Father the more He enjoyed it. At the well, the disciples thought in physical terms. This was a typical of thinking pattern for them which would soon change (se John 20 and Acts 2). Jesus knew and the body was designed for the intake of food. Generally, food for the body produces satisfaction. Jesus would not deny that fact. However, Jesus focused his disciples on something of far greater substance. He did not denigrate the satisfaction that occurs when the body is fed and watered. Rather He built on the well-known pleasure that comes from the physical. He moved passed the physical and elevated pleasing God to the highest level of satisfaction and contentment. Jesus drew courage, endurance, and wisdom from His relationship with the Father and as He pleased the Father (John 13:17; James 1:25). Pleasing the Father was based on the Son’s relationship to the Father and vice versa.
- How does John define satisfaction? See John 4:31-34
- The apostles may or may not have heard Jesus’ prayer. If they did, what do you think was their response?
- Satisfaction is relational. Explain.
John 19:30: Satisfaction and Contentment, Part B
The Cross and Beyond
In John 17:4 Jesus used the past tense as He prayed to the Father. Jesus interpreted the cross as having already occurred when He prayed that He had completed the work that was given to Him. In His prayer, Jesus looked forward as if the task had already been done. Such confidence! On the cross, Jesus looked back to the Garden of Gethsemane and then proclaimed: It is finished (John 19:30). What Jesus had said was done in John 17:4 was now a reality. The initial culmination of the eternal plan of redemption was now done. Jesus looked ahead as well as backwards. The physical act of crucifixion and death were completed at that time. Pleasing the Father was Jesus’ prime motivation. Christ kept His word as the Father kept His promise in Christ by the Holy Spirit (John 6:37-43; 2 Cor.1:20-22).
Jesus had been given a great work AND Jesus completed that work. Jesus was not disappointed. He was genuinely satisfied. So was the Father. In Romans 8:33-34, Paul emphasized that both God and the Son were satisfied. As a result, no charge or condemnation will be brought against any believer at any time. Moreover, in Romans 4:24-25, Paul declared that by the resurrection the Father was completely satisfied so that the indebtedness of God’s people had been paid in full.
What is your response to Christ’s completed work AND to His satisfaction for a job well done as expressed in John 19:30? What is your response to the Father’s satisfaction? If Christ’s atoning work is finished and accepted by the Father, then trusting Christ and His law-keeping seems most logical and God-pleasing. What folly and arrogance a person displays when he depends on his own lawmaking and lawkeeping rather than Christ’s.
Most people don’t think in terms of their own lawmaking and lawkeeping. By those terms I mean the person’s actively setting up checkpoints for him and others in order to gain something. Matthew 6 is a description of the Pharisees’ lawmaking and lawkeeping. Giving, prayer, and fasting were high on the list of their “religious activities.” Jesus reversed their manner and motivation for these lawkeeping activities. Others live by I want and I deserve. Their goal is to get. Others kept track of what they do for others as a point of honor. Others seek approval, power, position, possessions, and performance again to get. Lastly, some may think one more, one more sermon, one more nice word, or one more delivery to a sick friend earns them something. Good works flow from a relationship but they don’t make the relationship.
The issue of control is paramount. You can live the lie that this is your world made by you and purchased by you. Satisfaction will never come, only bondage. You can live out of the truth that this is God’s world and the believer is God’s child bought with a price that was accepted by God. There are no strings attached. The now-believer so deep in debt and previously as an unbeliever without the will, desire, or ability to pay has had his debt paid in full. John 19:30 is Jesus’ testimony that pleasing God was His goal and motivation. He was pleased. So should every believer.
If you are a believer, stop and focus on the truth that you had a debt of infinite degree without the desire, capacity, ability, or resources to repay it (Matt. 18:21-35). How do you respond? Many deny the truth of their indebtedness and bondage. Such was the case with the first servant as recorded in Matthew 18. His is one example of much spiritual blindness! Also look at Luke 18:9-14 and Jesus’ conclusion regarding the Pharisee and the tax collector. Paul had set up unbiblical checkpoints and his desire to keep them drove him to persecute and kill (Phil. 3:3-6).
Then turning point in human history is summarized in Jesus’ statement: it is finished. Those words are music in the ears of the believer. God in Christ saw fit to pay the debt for every believer. To the degree that the believer acknowledges his debtor-status is the degree that the believer rejoices with the Triune God for a job that was well done. The believer depends on Christ’s lawkeeping rather than his own. He rids himself of unbiblical check points. As a result the believer follows Christ setting his face toward heaven. He runs the race as Jesus did: with a proper vertical reference and an eternal perspective (Heb. 12:1-3; Col. 3:1-3; 1 John 3:1-3). The believer is a victor but only in Christ (Rom. 8:35-39).
- Mediate on the finished work of Christ: what do you learn about the Trinity, about Christ in His humiliation and His exaltation, and about yourself?
- Jesus worked the work that the Father had given Him: your work as a believer is to grow in Christlikeness. How are you doing? Give reasons for your answer.
- Consider your own unbiblical checkpoints. Make a list an replace with pleasing God which every believer can and will do. Regard on life is simplified.