“Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” So the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?” Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.” (John 4:31-34)
In John 4:27-42, the Apostle John provides five proofs supporting his overall theme (John 20:30-31) that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God. The first one is found in vs. 27. It is the proof that Jesus was in immediate control of His immediate circumstances. He did not allow circumstances to control Him.
The second is found in vs. 28-30. It is the impact Jesus had upon the Woman at the Well. Remember, the woman came to the well to draw physical water. Upon encountering Jesus, she received living water. Jesus made the astonishing claim that He is not only the source of spiritual life, but also that He is God. She left her water jar and went to share what had happened to her. She had to tell somebody. Everybody!
The third proof of Jesus’ identity as God is found in vs. 31-34 and His intimacy with God the Father. He compared His relationship to the Father to food or nourishment. Paralleling the metaphor of salvation being like “living water,” Jesus told His disciples that much like physical food sustains the body, so the spiritual food of doing the will of the Father and accomplishing the work He had sent Jesus to accomplish was His food.
Much like Nicodemas and the woman, the disciples thought in literal terms and wondered aloud to each other if Jesus had received some physical food from someone of whom they were unaware. They did not understand the implications of what Jesus was saying.
One commentator explains, “No doubt, Jesus was truly hungry and thirsty, according to His humanity, both when He spoke with the Samaritan woman and when His disciples later returned to Him and encouraged Him to eat. Yet on both occasions, Jesus did not take hunger and thirst as an opportunity merely to satisfy physical needs. He used physical needs to instruct others in spiritual realities. With the Samaritan woman, He spoke of her need for spiritual renewal by promising to give her living water if she would but ask (vv. 10–15). When the disciples of Jesus encouraged Him to eat, He took the opportunity to explain that true sustenance comes not by bread alone, as we see in verses 31–34.
All too often, I hear pastors and preachers place great emphasis on the physical comforts Jesus can provide those who follow Him. “Trust in Jesus,” they say, “And He will give you everything you want. Right here and right now.” They place importance on the physical and the temporary to the detriment of the spiritual and the eternal.
Dr. R. C. Sproul explains, “Our Lord referred to food that He had to eat that His disciples did not know about, and this confused His disciples, for they thought He was talking about food that He had acquired from one of them (vv. 31–33). The food of which Jesus spoke, however, consisted of doing His Father’s will and accomplishing the mission His Father gave to Him, namely, obedience that secures the salvation of His people (v. 34). There is probably an echo of Deuteronomy 8:3 here, an important passage in which Moses tells the Israelites that they live not only by physical bread but by every word that proceeds from the Creator. Also, one cannot help but think of Jesus’ wilderness confrontation with Satan wherein He quoted Moses’ words in order to resist the temptation (Luke 4:1–4).”
What is the food which sustains you from day to day? Is it your job, your house, your bank account, or even your family? What truly sustains a believer in Christ from day to day, week to week, month to month and year to year is doing the Father’s will by obeying the Word of God. Everything else in life, the good and the bad, is then placed in its proper perspective. Even when life is difficult.
Have a blessed day today doing the Father’s will. Enjoy the meal!
Soli deo Gloria!