Jesus said, “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?” Mark 8:36-37
Satisfaction. Almost everyone is looking for it. We may use other words like fulfillment or contentment, but the desire is the same. What will satiate me? What will quiet the hunger in my innermost being?
In Mark 8:4, the disciples’ question ostensibly applies to food: “How can one satisfy these people with bread here in the wilderness?” (NKJV). But as Jesus indicated in verses 15-21, satisfaction involved much more than loaves and fish. What the crowd and the disciples truly needed was Jesus Himself, the only One who could satisfy their souls.
Like the crowds that followed Jesus, the disciples generally associated satisfaction with meals and miracles. They also looked for political redemption. Even when Peter acknowledged that Jesus was the Messiah in verse 29, he had an earthbound satisfaction in mind—being part of Jesus’ new government. Jesus rebuked him saying, “You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men” (v. 33).
That’s our problem too, isn’t it? We’re earthbound—always trying to define spiritual matters with earth’s dictionary. Jesus, however, declared that soul satisfaction comes in the most unearthly way: deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Me (v. 34). It’s never about food, healing, signs from heaven, or political agendas. It’s about “the things of God,” cultivating “a mind intent on promoting what God wills” (v. 33 AMP). It’s about following Jesus’ model of servanthood. We glorify God by bringing the gospel to people through acts of service that generate opportunities to speak the truth (v. 35).
I struggle with that heavenly mindset every day. So many voices tell me that “gaining the whole world” is the path to satisfaction. One voice, one quiet voice, says otherwise. I want to listen to that voice. I want Jesus to be proud of me “when He comes in His Father’s glory with the holy angels” (v. 38). I want to hear Him say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” Don’t you?
Read Mark 8:11-12 and Matthew 12:38-42. What satisfaction did the Pharisees seek? Why did they remain unsatisfied? Do we remain unsatisfied for similar reasons?
Read Mark 8:27-38 and 1 Peter 4:12-19. Peter wasn’t ready to hear about suffering in Mark. Why do you think his attitude is so different in his epistle?
Read Mark 8:22-26. This is the only recorded miracle Jesus performed in stages. We don’t know why, but Matthew 11:20-24 indicates why Jesus took the man outside the city and why He told the man not to return to the village. What can we learn from this incident?
Read Jeremiah 31:1-14. What does God promise His people in this passage? When will God’s people be fully satisfied? See Revelation 21:1-6.
Denise K. Loock