Spiritual Food

Lord Jesus Christ taught about food and drink in the John Gospel during the apostasy era. When HE went to the city of Sychar in Samaria and arrived at Jacob’s well, Lord Jesus met a Samaritan woman and asked her, “Fetch me a drink”. Later, towards the end of the passage we hear, In the meantime His disciples urged Him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” But He said to them, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.” Therefore the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought Him anything to eat?” (John 4:7, 32-33)

Then, Lord Jesus states plainly “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work. What he is talking about is a different type of food: One that does not have a material nature or origin, a food that is spiritual, not physical. (John 4:34)

Lord Jesus explained about another spiritual food and that is doing the will of God the Father. When we talk about will, we’re not talking about a legal document to be executed upon a person’s death. Nor are we talking about an adverb describing a future action to be taken. Rather we are talking about a wish, a want and a desire.

The will of God is central to our lives as human beings. In the HIS Prayers, Lord Jesus taught HIS disciples to pray to God the Father asking for His Kingdom to come and His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. Lord Jesus also says, for whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother.” (Matthew, 6:10, 12:50, Mark 3:35)

In the Gospel of John, Lord Jesus taught in more detail. “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:38-40)

Perhaps Lord Jesus’ most famous and meaningful preaching’s comes from HIS own prayer to God the Father in the Garden of Gethesemane. saying“Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” (Luke 22:42)

The Apostle Paul helps us understand better what in fact God’s will is. He says: See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God. (Ephesians 5:15-21)

Consequently, the following exemplary quotes:

  • “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.” And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord. 5Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Lord Jesus Christ; not with eye service, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of Godfrom the heart, with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men, 8knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free. And you, masters, do the same things to them, giving up threatening, knowing that your own Master also is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.” (Ephesians 6:1-9)
  • “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality”(1Thessalonians 4:3)
  • “Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all. See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of Godin Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.”(1Thessalonians 5:14-22)
  • “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1Timothy 2:1-4)

The Apostle Peter chimes in too:

“For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God. 17Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.” (1Peter 2:15-17)

“For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.” (1Peter 3:17)

The Apostle and Evangelist John the Theologian adds the following:

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world–the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life–is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” (1John 2:15-17)

 Many scriptural references are in scripted in the Holy Bible regarding God’s will. In fact all of God’s commandments are an expression of HIS will for us. When we try to discern God’s will for each one of us individually, we need to start with His general commandments for all humanity. For it is within the sincere effort of humbly trying to fulfill God’s commandments that we can begin to discern His unique plan for each one of us personally. In other words, it is in following the general path of the Christian life, that each one of us discovers the unique trail that God wishes us to travel.

In conclusion, there is another specific expression of God’s will that Jesus reveals to us at the end of today’s Gospel. Listen again:

Lord Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work. Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. For in this the saying is true: ‘One sows and another reaps.’I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors.”

The Church Fathers interpret and explain Lord Jesus’ teaching as such:

Lord Jesus instructs HIS disciples to lift up their eyes so that their thoughts may be focused on what God wants to accomplish (Origen). The fields that are white for harvest are the multitudes of souls prepared for receiving the preaching of the gospel (Chrysostom). Both sowers and reapers rejoice together (Origen) as Moses and the prophets prepared the harvest (Chrysostom), along with the seeds sown by Christ (Theodore). The harvest is then reaped by the glittering and sharp word of the apostles, who then bring their harvest to the floor of the church (Cyril A.). Jesus had done the spadework for the apostles as He cultivated the prophets from the beginning (Theodore).

Thus, we must fulfill the will of God be imitating Photini, the Samaritan woman by sharing and proclaiming the Gospel of Lord Jesus Christ, the Good News of God’s kingdom. She is Equal to the Apostles; she helped sow the seeds that the other Apostles would eventually reap in harvest. The Apostles also sowed and others later reaped, repeating through every generation in the Church down to our own present time. How will we reap the harvest that our predecessors sowed? How will we plant seeds that will lead to a new generation of faithful, dedicated and committed Christians to sprout up and grow? This is God’s will; This is our food. Let us do it and be fulfilled!

Source: Saint George Greek Orthodox Church