This Sunday, I’d like to share part of a message Scott and I listened to this week while we were traveling from one family gathering to another. It’s a sermon preached by John Piper on John 6:27-40, entitled “Behold, Believe, Be Raised.” If you click the link, you can either read or listen to it.
I chose this section because it seems to explain the connection between my difficulty finding joy after losing our daughter and a parallel struggle to believe and trust.
Jesus Is the One We Hunger For
Now finally, for the first time, Jesus says explicitly in [John 6] verse 35 that he’s talking about himself: “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.’” It is hard for me to exaggerate the importance of this verse for me. For many years now (especially since writing the book Future Grace) this verse has defined two massive realities in my life. One is the object of my hunger and thirst. And the other is the nature of saving faith.
Jesus—Jesus himself and all that God is for me in him—is what I hunger for and thirst for. He has been merciful to me—and to most of you—to reveal himself as the supreme Treasure of our lives. “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” That doesn’t mean hunger and thirst in our souls does not rise up every day. It means now we know what it’s for. Now we know where to turn. Now we know what to drink and what to eat. We drink down Jesus. We swallow the glory of Jesus. And there is a never-ending supply. This is what we were made for. All other treasures, all other pleasures point to this. Jesus is the all-satisfying end of every longing.
Saving Faith: Satisfaction in Jesus
And the other thing this verse has shown me is the nature of saving faith. Notice the parallel between coming to Jesus to be satisfied and believing on Jesus. “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger.” That’s the first statement. We come to Jesus to have our hunger stilled.
Now parallel to that, and repeating the meaning, is the next statement: “And whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” Coming to Jesus to be satisfied in him and believing on him so as not to thirst are the same. So I define saving faith as being satisfied with all that God is for us in Jesus.
The Fight of Faith Is the Fight for Joy
This is a huge discovery when you make it. You never read your Bible the same again. You never think about the obedience that flows from faith the same again. You never fight for purity and holiness the same again. When you see that saving faith is being satisfied with all that God is for you in Jesus, the “good fight of faith” (as Paul calls is in 1 Timothy 6:12) becomes a fight for joy. And from then on, everything is different.
The fight of faith is the fight for joy. And the fight for joy is doing whatever you must to see Jesus for who he is, and savor Jesus above all things. [emphasis mine]
(Excerpt from message by John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org )