John 4:32-4 - Physical vs. Spiritual Food.
John 4:32-4 (KJV) 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 4:32-4 (CWR) He said to them, "I've been eating while you
were gone, and you have no idea how good it tasted." The disciples
said to each other, "Do you think that someone brought Him something
to eat while we were gone?" Jesus, over hearing their conversation,
said, "The food I'm talking about is the happiness that comes from
doing God's will and accomplishing what He sent me to do.
The "food" about which Jesus was speaking was his spiritual
nourishment. It includes more than Bible study, prayer, and attending church.
Spiritual nourishment also comes from doing God's will and helping to
bring his work of salvation to completion. We are nourished not only
by what we take in, but also by what we give out for God. [Life
Throughout Jesus' ministry, we see a marked difference between
His priorities and the concerns of His disciples. The disciples were
often preoccupied with how to meet their physical needs (Mt 14:15-17;
John 4:8; Lu 18:28). Jesus repeatedly assured them that the Father
knew their needs and would provide (Lu 11:11-13). Jesus stressed that
their priority was to "seek first the kingdom of God and His
righteousness"; the necessities of daily life would be provided (Mt 6:33).
When Jesus spoke to the woman at the well, His disciples had
gone into a nearby town to get food. While His disciples were seeking
earthly nourishment, Jesus was giving this woman "living water" that
would satisfy her soul for eternity. When they returned, the disciples
urged Jesus to eat. He replied that His "food" was to do the will of
His Father. Since their attention was on earthly matters, His
disciples misunderstood His reply. Jesus' very life came from obeying His
Father. Because of Jesus' obedience that day, the woman received eternal
life. In her excitement, she brought many others to Jesus to hear for
themselves, and many believed that He was indeed the Christ, the Savior of
the world (John 4:39-42).
The apostle Paul understood what Jesus had been teaching His
disciples. When Paul wrote to the believers in Rome, he stressed that "the
kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace
and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who serves Christ in these things
is acceptable to God and approved by men" (Ro 14:17-18).
When Satan tempted Jesus to turn stones into bread, Jesus quoted
the Scriptures, summarizing the focus of His life and ministry:
"Know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every
word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord" (De 8:3).
[Experiencing God Day by Day by Henry and Richard Blackaby re John 4:34]
The relative importance Christian's attach to material things as
compared with things of the spirit is an index to their devotion (see on
Matt. 20:15). [SDA Commentary]