“I have food to eat that you do not know about.” 33 So the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?” 34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.
So when Jesus says in John 4:34, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work,” he means, “My food is to give eternal life.” That is, my source of strength to give eternal life is to give eternal life. I give life because I am life. I am the way the truth and the life (John 14:6). My food is to be what I am. And I am life. Living water. Bread from heaven. I don’t just eat food. I am food. I don’t get life. I give life. – John Piper Sermon1
These verses are hitting me in a new way today. I’ve been thinking a lot about discipleship and what that looks like. I get excited about helping and meeting with people. And yet Iw older…where am I going to find the time, or the strength to do all those things? I think part of the answer is found right here and it isn’t something the commentators have really hit upon.
But first a brief glimpse back. I remember looking at guys at Mars Hill that were in leadership and wondering how on earth do they do all the things that they are doing and keep their devotional life up and their walk with God intimate. I think there is a great gospel truth here. Is there a danger in never spending time in the word and meditating on truth…absolutely. But let’s look at Jesus’ words here.
“I have food that you do not know about”
“My food is to do the will of Him who sent me”
Most of the commentators will sayt that Jesus was placing the spiritual needs of the wold over his physical. I think that certainly is a valid interpretation, well it is at least true of Jesus. But I think there is something more profound in these verses.
I think that Jesus is showing us a spiritual truth by using a physical example. He does this all the time. But what is he saying?
That he should not eat? No. That we should not be concerned with eating? No. What he is saying is that eating food is strengthening and nourishing tot he physical body in the same way that doing the father’s will is to the spiritual body.
Let’s look at the obvious role of food in our lives.
1. We need it to survive.
Food sustains us, gives us energy, nourishes our bodies. God designed us to not be self sustaining but to draw upon God’s good gifts of food to sustain us.
2. Food is delicious
Do you know that God didn’t have to give us taste buds? Now are there “evolutionary” reasons for begin able to detect, tartness or sweetness. Sure. But our taste buds do so much more than that. We can enjoy delectable desserts and delicious ribeye teaks seasoned perfectly..mmm. Food is also a gift to us. It speaks of God’s glory. After all he thought up flavors. I mean just watch the food network for a few hours and marvel…and salivate.
So food performs at least these two functions for us physically. Nourishment and enjoyment. Now let’s transpose this into the spiritual realm Jesus is saying that doing the Father’s will is just like food. Doing the father’s will is our spiritual food. Then it fulfills those same two functions:
1. It sustains us, it nourishes us, it strengthens us.
2. It is something delicious to be enjoyed.
Now what is the will of God, the Father? Isn’t it the gospel? That sinners would be saved? That eternal life would be given?
So then, in the context of discipleship, discipling others isn’t necessarily a drain on your life, it is actually life giving. It sustains you, and it allows you to marvel and enjoy God. It is a gift.
My wife and I experience this regularly. We have people over and just talk. Talk about God about Jesus about what is going on in our lives. Or in our CG every week. As much as we may dread it before hand. There has almost never been a time where we didn’t walk away more energized and excited about God. That is a great truth that we find in the bile. The things we actually think will drain us, fill us up. And the things we go to to fill us up actually drain us.
Let us meditate then long and hard on Jesus words. This was Jesus’ food and it is our also.