Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me to accomplish His work” (John 4:34).
Jesus Christ’s food--that is sustenance, growth, energy--“is to do the will of” the Heavenly Father. As we contemplate this truth with the realism of the human body’s nutritional needs, we ask, “What does this mean?” In a spiritual sense, we can explain that our being nourished in the faith is to pursue the will of God and actively strive to accomplish what God leads us to and what He sets before us.
However, Jesus Christ—True God and True Man—is beyond normal human nutritional laws. His fasting for forty days has been proven to be a dangerous feat. Some have attempted it under medical supervision. They required care and were given juice, at least, for the sugars and small amount of protein, allowing them to survive. Jesus’ ways are above ours, again, this time in regards to nutrition. Nevertheless, He did not forsake earthly nutrition. He regularly partook of food, even in His resurrected body: “They gave Him a piece of broiled fish, and He took it and ate it before them” (Luke 24:42f).
The context John 4:34 is when Christ and His disciples were traveling through Samaria. Christ had stayed at a well as the disciples went to get food. At the well Jesus “accomplish(es) His work” by conversing with a Samaritan woman. He explained to her about the “living water” that He gives and that He is the Messiah. When the disciples returned, they encouraged Him to eat. At that time Jesus was not concerned about carbohydrate, fat, and protein food. “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me to accomplish His work” (John 4:34).
Let us “…be imitators of God, as beloved children, and walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us…” (Ephesians 5:1f). I am not encouraging us to attempt forty days of fasting from carbohydrate, fat, and protein food; however, I am encouraging us to set our minds on the will of God and accomplishing His work. His work in a nutshell is to “believe in the One who was sent” (John 6:29). His will is that “all come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). Faith in Jesus Christ--“the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6)—is “food” for our everlasting souls. We will still care for our earthly “tent” (as Paul called the body) with nutrition, along with the many others tools and accommodations for this temporary life.
Accommodations for this life are provided: “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” (Matthew 6:26). Consider the birds. They go to the food source, and peck open a seed pod. Likewise, mankind will be involved with the accommodations we receive. We will follow Jesus as His “food is to do the will of Him who sent Me to accomplish His work.” We are involved in the Christian practices of the reception of His means of grace in the Word and Sacraments. With this spiritual feeding, we are strengthened to go about His work “for we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).
The Lord be with you,
Pastor Sam Wiseman