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The Rarest of All Jewels
“In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat. But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of. Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat? Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.” (John 4:31-34)
The rarest of all jewels must be the jewel of contentment. Everyone wants it; but few, very few possess it. What would you give to have real, lasting contentment and satisfaction? What would you give, if you could say with honesty, “I have enough”?
There is no contentment to be found in this world. There is nothing here that can satisfy one created for eternity. All who drink from the wells of the earth shall thirst again. All who eat the bread of this world shall hunger for more bread. But there is a well with water which will quench the thirst of your soul. There is a bread, which once eaten, will satisfy the deepest cravings of our immortal souls.
I pray that the Lord God will cause you this day to eat of that bread and drink of that water, that you may find satisfaction in your soul, that your conversation may be without covetousness, that you may be “content with such things as ye have” (Hebrews 13:5). In these few verses of Inspiration God the Holy Ghost shows us the rarest of all jewels. Holding the Lord Jesus Christ before us as our example, he here teaches us the secret of contentment, the secret to satisfaction.
The disciples had been away buying groceries. When they returned from town and tried to get the Master to eat, he said to them, “I have meat to eat that ye know not of…My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.” What does that mean? What is our Lord telling us here? He is telling us that satisfaction, contentment of soul, is found in doing the will of God.
If you are yet without Christ, if you are yet living in rebellion to God, in rebellion to your own conscience, in defiance of the Almighty, you will never find peace and satisfaction, until you bow to Christ, until you are reconciled to God, until you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.
If you are a believer, if you are a child of God, and still you struggle with this matter of peace, contentment, and satisfaction in your soul, the problem is your rebellion to the will of God.
I do not mean to suggest that knowing and doing the will of God will give you perfect peace, complete contentment and total satisfaction in this world. It will not. It will not, because we simply cannot do God’s will perfectly, so long as we live in this body of flesh. But I do say this — If you are a child of God, you are here for a reason. God has a purpose for you to serve, a job for you to do. And the only way you will ever find contentment, peace, and satisfaction in this world is to find out what God’s will is and do it with all your might. Doing what God put you here to do will give you satisfaction.
An Encouragement for Sinner
Here is an encouragement for sinners. The Lord Jesus declares, “I have meat to eat that ye know not of…My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.” I cannot imagine a more comforting word for you if you are anxious about your soul, or a more encouraging word to you if you long for God’s saving mercy and grace in Christ.
Our Lord Jesus had been seeking the salvation of one lost sinner. Once he had obtained the thing he sought, he said, “Do you see this saved sinner? This is my Father’s will; this is the meat by which I am satisfied.” Is that not what we see in his words?
Our Lord Jesus Christ here declares that the salvation of sinners is his Father’s will. — Sometimes people get the idea that God the Father is an austere judge, a tyrant who delights in wrath, and is bent upon the destruction of men’s souls. Nothing could be further from the truth. True it is that judgment is his work; but it is his strange work. It is true that God must and will punish sin; but “he delighteth in mercy!”
The Lord Jesus did not come here to make God merciful. He came because God is merciful. He came to make it possible for God to show mercy to sinners while maintaining strict righteousness and justice. Christ did not die to get God the Father to be gracious. Christ died because God is gracious. He did not come to get God to love, but because “God is love” (John 3:16; Romans 5:6-8; 1 John 3:16; 4:9-10). As John Kent put it in one of his great hymns…
"`Twas not to make Jehovah's love
Towards the sinner flame,
That Jesus, from his throne above,
A suffering man became.
`Twas not the death which he endured,
Nor all the pangs he bore,
That God's eternal love procured,
For God was love before.
He loved the world of His elect
With love surpassing thought;
Nor will His mercy e’er neglect
The souls so dearly bought.
The warm affections of His breast
Towards His chosen burn;
And in His love He’ll ever rest,
Nor from His oath return.
Still to confirm His oath of old,
See in the heav’ns His bow;
No fierce rebukes, but love untold
Awaits His children now.
Soon shall my spirit realize
That sacred, joyful scene,
When all His saints, above the skies,
Shall round His throne convene!”
If you get into the kingdom of God’s dear Son, you will not come in as an intruder, but as a welcome guest. The gate of mercy is open. God himself opened it. If you get God’s salvation, it is because he gives it to you. If you obtain the treasure of heaven, you will obtain it because God himself has made you his heir.
If ever you come to Christ, if ever you trust the Son of God, if ever you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, you need not concern yourself about having violated God’s decrees, overturned his purpose, or defying predestination and election. If you trust Christ, it is God’s will that you trust him. He chose you to salvation. He predestinated you to be numbered among his sons and daughters. He called you by his Spirit. You were purchased by Christ’s blood at Calvary. If ever you are saved, it will be because God the Father willed it. He willed it because he loved you with an everlasting love from which he can never be turned.
One of the most absurd fears a sinner ever entertained is the fear that he might believe on the Son of God and not be numbered among the elect. I rejoice to preach the glorious gospel doctrine of God’s grace and glory in Christ. Electing love, absolute predestination, effectual atonement, irresistible grace, and perseverance of the saints are all great, God honoring, gospel doctrines, plainly revealed in Holy Scripture. But they are misunderstood and abused by many who would make them appear contrary to mercy. If these great truths appear to you to contradict the fact that the God of Glory, the Triune Jehovah “delighteth in mercy,” you do not understand them. All these things are true precisely because “He delighteth in mercy”
Be sure you understand what the Book of God emphatically and universally teaches in this regard. If you desire Christ, he desired you from eternity. If you want him, he wants you. If you are hungry for him, he is the Bread of life to you. If you thirst for him, he is to you a Fountain of living Water, springing up into everlasting life for you. There is no secret decree by which God forbids you to believe on his dear Son. He has not said, in some secret, hidden place, “Seek ye me in vain.” His word is plain and clear. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.”
Not only is the salvation of sinners the Father’s will, but the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came into this world specifically for the purpose of saving sinners (Matthew 1:21; 9:13; Mark 2:17; Luke 5:32; 1 Timothy 1:15). If Christ came to save sinners, there is no question about it, he came to save me. I qualify for his salvation, for I am a sinner. Why should I stand around and debate in my own mind or with anyone else as to whether or not he came to save me. A sick man is not reluctant to go to any physician. A poor, hungry man will not hesitate to go to a soup kitchen. A thirsty man will not pause before a bubbling well to see if it has his name upon it. Why should a sinner be reluctant about trusting Christ?
Not only is the salvation of sinners the will of God and the reason for Christ’s coming, but our Savior here declares that the great work of saving sinners is that in which he experiences the greatest delight and satisfaction. It is his meat and drink. From old eternity, he looked forward to the day when a body would be prepared for him, that he might come into the world and redeem his people from their sins. When the fulness of time was come, he ran to the work, as an eager volunteer (Hebrews 10:5-9). While he walked through this world, he was always busy about his Father’s business, seeking out lost sinners.
It was alleged of him, “This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them!” And, blessed be his name, the allegation is true! He could have healed the leper by the mere word of his mouth, or exercise of his will, as he did the centurion’s daughter. But, instead, he laid his hand on the polluted leper to let us know that he has come to be one of us, to make himself what we are, that he might make us what he is. He came here that he might be made sin, to die the just for the unjust, that he might make us the righteousness of God in him and take us to glory. Can you grasp this? — The Lord Jesus Christ is a willing Savior, the willing Savior of helpless, ruined, lost, doomed, damned, vile sinners. His soul’s delight is the salvation of sinners.
Yet, that great crowning work, the work for which all things were made, his work of suffering and death as the sinner’s Substitute, that work by which our souls were effectually redeemed, was, at the same time, his greatest sorrow and agony and his greatest delight and satisfaction. This was the baptism with which he must be baptized; and he was straitened until he was immersed in it. This was the bitter cup he must drink; but he longed to drink it. Did he not say to his disciples, “With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer”? Even in his deepest agony, our blessed Christ had a joy before him, a joy which sustained and satisfied his holy soul, overflowing with infinite love for needy sinners. That joy set before him was and is the satisfaction of his soul in the salvation of his elect (Isaiah 53:9-11; Hebrews 12:2).
Now that he is seated upon the high throne of heaven, it is still the great delight of the Lord Jesus Christ to save sinners. If you would be saved, look away to Christ. Salvation comes by looking to Christ. Looking at your sin and hardness of heart will only drive you to despair. Look to Christ and be melted in repentance (Zechariah 12:10; Isaiah 45:22).
Peace, joy, contentment, and satisfaction come to sinners only as we look to Christ. This is the will of God revealed in the Book of God. — “This is his commandment, that we should believe on the name of his Son, Jesus Christ.” John 4:31-34 stands, first and foremost, as an encouragement for sinners. The salvation of poor, needy sinners is the will of God the Father and the work and joy of God the Son, by which he is satisfied and filled with contentment.
An Example for Saints
Here we also have an example for saints. When our Master said, “I have meat to eat that ye know not of…My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work,” he set before us an example to be followed. That which gave him contentment and satisfaction on earth as a man is the thing that will give us contentment and satisfaction in this world.
If you and I are struggling with frustration, failure, doubts, fears, inadequacies, and a general sense of uselessness, it is because we are having a problem with one of the five things here exemplified in Christ. If we would have peace and satisfaction in this world, we must seek to imitate our Master in these areas.
1. The Lord Jesus always made his will subservient to his Father’s will.
Our Savior did not come to do his will, but the will of him that sent him. In all things, he said, “Not my will, thy will be done.” All our sorrows in this world spring from the root of self-will. If my will was totally subservient to my Father’s will, my Father’s will would always please me. Pain would have a wonderful comfort to my soul, if I did not kick so hard against it. Losses would enrich me, if I were not so covetous. Bitterness would have a wonderful sweetness, if I did not crave my own will and my own way.
2. Our Lord Jesus lived in great peace and contentment, because he always knew why he was here.
He lived with a sense of urgency, pressed with great responsibility, because he knew why the Father had sent him into the world. He came on a mission, with a commission from God, as the Servant of God. He came to save his people, to build his kingdom, for the glory of God. And if we are Christ’s, we are God’s servants, and his mission is our mission. His commission is our commission. His work is our work. The will of God for him, is the will of God for us (John 20:21-23; Acts 1:8; 26:13-18).
3. Our Savior’s contentment and satisfaction in this world was found in doing the Father’s will.
He said, “My meat is to do the will of him that sent me.” Again, he said, “I do always those things that please him” (John 8:29). You will never find satisfaction in talking about God’s will. And you will never obtain peace by debating God’s will, God’s Word, or God’s work. The Lord Jesus found his meat, his soul’s food, in doing his Father’s will.
I am convinced that the vast majority of what people call “depression” arises from a lack of meaningful responsibility. I have known very, very few people in my life who were engaged in work which they perceived as meaningful, whose hands were full with a weight of responsibility, who struggled greatly with depression. I am neither a doctor, nor a psychiatrist or psychologist. So I will leave it to them to deal with such things. But I know this — Spiritual trouble, depression, and incessant doubtings and fears only overwhelm those who have nothing better to think about than themselves. Full hearts and full hands have no room for such worthless lumber.
Find me a person full of questions, and I will show you a person doing nothing. Find me a person constantly struggling with doubts and fears, and I will show you a person who serves no useful purpose in ministering to the souls of others. Find me a preacher who is forever in doubt of his calling, and I will show you one who should be, because he is not engaged in the work, but loitering about. Find me one who is forever questioning his election, whether or not he trusts Christ, whether he loves the Lord or no, and I will show you one who spends too much of his time thinking about himself, and too little serving the needs of others.
4. Our Redeemer’s peace, contentment, and satisfaction came by his perseverance in doing his Father’s will.
He was not content to do the will of God a day or two, or a year or two. He was resolved to do it until he had finished it. He said, “My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish the work.” — It was this same confidence and satisfaction which sustained the apostle Paul as he came to the end of his day (2 Timothy 4:6-8). Let it be the satisfaction of our souls to do the will of God until we have finished our course.
5. The Lord Jesus made his will subservient to his Father’s will, knew why he was here, knew what his Father’s will was, did the Father’s will, persevered in doing the Father’s will until it was done, and he did what God gave him to do with all his might, for the glory of God (John 12:27-28).
Thank you, O my Savior, for doing the will of God and finishing his works for us. Give me grace, blessed Redeemer, to follow your example, doing my Father’s will until I have finished the work for which you have sent me into this world (Ecclesiastes 9:10; 1 Corinthians 10:31; 1 Peter 2:21-25). O Holy Spirit, make the will of God my meat and my drink. With Job of old, let me esteem my Father’s will more than my necessary food (Job 23:12). Then, only then, can I possess this, the rarest of all jewels — Contentment. When my will is one with his will, I shall be satisfied, not until then. That is the mark toward which I press. May God give us grace to press on. Then shall we be satisfied, when we awake in his likeness.