Jesus’ Satisfaction and Contentment: Part I
Proper Menu, Appetite, Meal, and Motivation
John 4:31-34; 17:1-5: Before the Cross
Introduction: The three-part series: Jesus’ Satisfaction and Contentment from the Gospel of John summarizes both Jesus’ and the believer’s source of salinification and contentment in this life. Jesus often couched truths in terms of eating and drinking. Implied in that imagery is the idea of a proper menu, appetite, meal, and motivation. Consuming physical food, truth, and Himself is the essence of the Christian life. It imitates Christ!
Satisfaction is an interesting term. It conveys contentment and pleasure that occurs after someone completes a task that often may require effort, skill, and 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. An array of terms considered to be synonyms for satisfaction include contentment, pleasure, fulfillment, and approval
The Bible teaches that satisfaction, pleasure, and contentment involve a relationship, an object, a goal, and a standard. They are the result of completing a God-given task His way motivated by the desire to please God. This approach to living involves knowledge – of the task; endurance in applying truth; and effort – work!
In the Old and New Testaments, satisfaction., contentment, and pleasure carry the idea of being filled-up (Psalm 90:14; 103:5; 107:9; 147:14; Matthew 5:6; 14:20; 15:37; Luke 6:21). Those who have the proper appetite, the proper menu, the proper motivation, and the proper meal will be satisfied as they eat and complete the meal. In fact, as did David, they can’t get enough (Psalm 34:8). David bid his people to come and taste that the Lord was good. He as did the greater David, experienced God’s goodness continually. Jesus did it perfectly and David imperfectly.
Only believers have the proper menu – God’s Word. Only believers have the proper appetite – the desire to please God. Only they have the capacity to eat well via the activity of the indwelling Holy-Spirit. They want to internalize God and His word. In that way they will taste and see – experience – God’s goodness (Psalm 34:8). Sometimes believers return to the menu of the old man as a member of Satan’s family and kingdom. They are returning to the vomit of self-pleasing from which they have been redeemed (Proverbs 2611). As a result, they desire something else other than what God wants and which pleases Him.
What was Jesus’ source of contentment and satisfaction? Jesus had all four necessary ingredients: the proper appetite, menu, meal, and motivation. 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 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 new 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 in the city of Jerusalem and sacrificed outside of it. He was both the scapegoat and the animal sacrificed (Leviticus 16). Jesus’ source of satisfaction and contentment was pleasing His Father.
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 gift Jesus with His people, that Jesus via the work of the Holy Spirit 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. He knew God’s goodness and could not get enough of it. You could say that Jesus’ satisfaction and contentment while her must have been the same enjoyed within the Trinity: pleasing God! God enjoys and is most satisfied when He pleases Himself (Exodus 20:4-6).
For Jesus, pleasing the Father was not simply duty and obedience for Christ (Psalm 40:6-8). John 4:31-34 records Jesus’ conversation with the disciples. They encouraged Jesus to eat. He said He had and was eating and drinking but they saw no food or drink. Jesus told them that His menu and appetite consisted of pleasing His Father. They did not understand.
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, was nourished in His whole person for the purpose to please His Father. Pleasing the Father was His nourishment and it 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 (see 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. As such He was able to run the race as the Victor (Hebrews 12:1-3). Jesus’ satisfaction and contentment was directly related to pleasing and enjoying the Triune God.
1. How does John define satisfaction? See John 4:31-34
2. The apostles may or may not have heard Jesus’ prayer in John 17. If they did, what do you think was their response?
3. Satisfaction is relational. Explain.
John 17:4; 19:30: The Cross and Beyond: Part II
this is second in the series, Jesus’ satisfaction and contentment. 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 to be 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 back. Jesus’ satisfaction and contentment was present before the cross, while He was on the cross and after the cross. He was the true Jew. He truly had God, not Georgia, on His mind! The physical act of crucifixion and death was yet to be completed. In Jesus’ thinking, it had already occurred. Why? 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 Corinthians 1:20-22).
Jesus had been given a great work AND Jesus was completing that work. Jesus was not disappointed. He was genuinely satisfied. So was the Father. This approach is quite amazing. In Jesus’ thinking the cross had been completed even though the worst was yet to come. His humiliation was about to intensify. Yet He viewed Himself and His mission/ministry through the grid of pleasing the Father and covenantal faithfulness. He drew satisfaction, stamina, and strength from the not yet (death of the cross and the resurrection) while still living in the already – His humiliation. In each state, He could not get enough of pleasing the Father – His real food.
Jesus’ response to His completed work as the perfect sacrifice and perfect High Priest is given in John 19:30: It is finished! It is the cry of a victor – the Victor – in the seeming face of defeat. It is not a cry for relief and “I am glad this is over.” The verse goes on to say: With that he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. Jesus knew the relation of His death to redemption (Matthew 20:28; 26:28; Mark 10-45). The cost and debt owed the Triune God was now paid in full. Hs work was done. It was time to move on – from the cross, into the grave, the resurrection, and the ascension. Jesus still had much to do but His work through the cross was complete. He bowed His head; He gave Himself up to the Father as He had dome all His life. He died the Winner!
In a real sense, Jesus looked forward to this moment. He had lived well – perfectly in thought, desire, and action 24/7. He had proven covenantally faith and proved the Triune God as such. It is quite amazing that Christ knew – the time had come to close the door on this aspect of redemption. The word in the original language translated finished carries the idea of completion. It is the same word used in verse 28: Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that Scripture might be fulfilled Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” Jesus is fully conscious and He knows fully the meaning and success of His atoning death. There was nothing more than could or should be added to Christ’s work.
How was it possible for Jesus to make such as powerful and so often misunderstood statement? The gospel of John tells us that Jesus came to His own but they rejected and hated Him (John 1:10-11; 3:17-21). The people thought they knew “everything” about Jesus including His origin (John 6:42; 7:27-28) and His looks (Isaiah 53:2). In fact, they did not know Jesus or the Father (John 8:19) and they did not know themselves!
Paul brings home the reality of Christ’s menu, appetite, meal, and motivation for life to the saints at Rome. It was to be a blessing and model for them. Romans 8:32-34, emphasized that both God and the Son were fully satisfied with Jesus’ mission and ministry: He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all – how will he not also along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring a charge against those who God has chosen? It is God who justifies! Who is it that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died – more than that – who was raised to life – is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Paul has given believers the big picture. This is the mindset that Jesus had throughout His time of earth. He saw the present in the face of the future and He envisioned the future as already.
The cry: It is finished, focused on the reality and blessings that flow from Christ’s work. He had the big picture and His role in it. As a result, the Triune God’s satisfaction, no charge or condemnation will be brought against any believer at any time. Jesus had won the victory for the Triune God and for the believer! Moreover, in Romans 4:24-25, Paul declared that the resurrection of Christ indicated that the Father was completely satisfied. As a result, the indebtedness of God’s people had been paid in full.
Jesus could not help but being completely satisfied and content. Yes His humiliation culminating in the cross was horrible. But Christ looked through the humiliation to the Triune God and His wisdom, power, and goodness. As a result, contentment and satisfaction marked His life. So too is it for the believer.
1. What is your view of john 19:30? What does it tell you about Jesus?
2. What is its significance in your life?
3. How are you growing in your satisfaction and contentment?
4. Think of the object of your satisfaction and its goal: what are they and how do they knew to change?
Jesus’ Source of Satisfaction and Contentment: Part III
John 19:30: What is Your Response?
This is the conclusion to the series: Jesus’ satisfaction and contentment. 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 lawkeeping 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.” Yet Jesus decried these external activities and their heart motivation: to get whether it was to maintain a place in the covenant community or earn points with God or look good before others. Jesus reversed their manner and motivation for these lawkeeping activities. He told the people to seek first the kingdom of God as opposed to the kingdom of the world (Matthew 6:33). Jesus was speaking of a mindset and set of beliefs that motivated the people to do or not do.
The unbeliever all the time and the believer some of the time in varying forms and in varying degrees 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. The Bible teaches that good works flow from a relationship but they don’t make the relationship. They express the significance of that relationship.
The issue of control is paramount. Control – yours, others, and God’s – is a reality. 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 was deep in debt and previously as an unbeliever without the will, desire, or ability to pay. He has had his sin debt paid in full. The believer is still a debtor – the continuing debt to love one another (Romans 13:8-10). He is commanded to fulfill that debt (Matthew 22:37-40). John 19:30 is Jesus’ testimony that pleasing God was His goal and motivation. He was pleased. So should every believer. In that way the believer will love God and others.
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 (Matthew 18:21-35). How do you respond? Many deny the truth of their indebtedness and bondage. Maybe deny their inability to pay. Many simply “blow-it-off”! Why shouldn’t they? Such was the case with the first servant as recorded in Matthew 18. He is one example of spiritual blindness! Also look at Luke 18:9-14 and Jesus’ conclusion regarding the Pharisee and the tax collector. The Pharisee prayed to himself publicly expecting God to acknowledge his greatness. The tax-collector knew he had no inherent greatness or goodness. Anything that he had was a gift from God. He pleaded the gift and the Giver.
Paul is another example of someone who set up unbiblical checkpoints. His desire to keep them drove him to persecute and kill (Philippians 3:3-6). Mati Luther had a sense of that bondage. He was driven to earn, gain, and secure the gift. Gifts are not earned – they are freely given in spite of the person? The turning point in human history is summarized in Jesus’ statement: it is finished. Jesus’ coming ushered in a new age and existence. But His life and death was the crowning moment of God’s redemptive plan originated in eternity past. 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 (Hebrews 12:1-3; Colossians 3:1-3; 1 John 3:1-3). The believer is a victor but only in Christ (Romans 8:35-39).
1. 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?
2. 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.
3. Consider your own unbiblical checkpoints.
a. Make a list and replace with thoughts, desires, and actions please God.
b. Focus on the joy and beauty of pleasing God from the vantage point of: It is finished. c. How is your life simplified?