The Lord's Food

Here is choice cuisine indeed.

The Gospel of John: John 4.27-42

Read and meditate on John 4.31-34.
The disciples’ fixation on their bellies draws a mild rebuke from Jesus. He does not condemn their eating, but He points them beyond their growling tummies to the larger realities of life as a follower of Christ.

                               31About the same
time, His disciples urged Him, saying to
Him, “Rabbi, eat.” 32 He answered, “I have food
to eat of which you do not know.” 33They said
to one another, “Who has brought Him bread
or anything to eat?” 34But Jesus to
them said, “To do God’s will is all My food,
and all His work to finish.”

- John 4.31-34

1.  This food thing is really consuming the disciples. They want Jesus to join them for lunch. Their concern for His nutritional needs is perhaps laudable, but it might be that some other motive is operating here. Explain. Complete this prayer: Lord, fill the details of my daily life, all my interests and needs, with…

2.  Jesus said the disciples were unacquainted with the “food” that was satisfying Him at that moment. What food was He talking about, and what did He mean by saying the disciples knew nothing of this food? Lord, help me each day to make sure that I’m feeding…

3.  In what ways is doing God’s will and taking up His work a kind of food? What does food do for us? How do God’s will and work do this? Increase my appetite, Lord, for…

4.   Verse 33 shows us just how stuck the disciples were on their personal and material needs. Does this ever happen to you? Explain. I have to eat, Lord, but help me always…

5.  Suppose you could more consistently and more abundantly eat the food that Jesus ate. How would you expect that to help you grow? Bring together into one prayer the prayers you wrote from questions 1-4.

“Having initiated the conversion of the Samaritans … Jesus focuses entirely on the salvation of those who are called and has no concern for bodily food, though wearied with his journey. In this way, he encourages the teachers in the churches and persuades them to disregard all fatigue and be more zealous for those who are being saved than caring for their own bodies. For the prophet says, ‘Cursed is he who does the work of the Lord with slackness.’” Cyril of Alexandria (375-444 AD)

When we are hungry, we usually find something to eat. Like the disciples did. Why do you suppose we aren’t as hungry for Jesus’ food as for the food that fills our bellies?

Closing Prayer
I waited patiently for the LORD;
And He inclined to me,
And heard my cry.
He also brought me up out of a horrible pit,
Out of the miry clay,
And set my feet upon a rock,
And established my steps.
He has put a new song in my mouth—
Praise to our God;
Many will see it and fear,
And will trust in the LORD.
Blessed is that man who makes the LORD his trust,
And does not respect the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.
Many, O LORD my God, are Your wonderful works
Which You have done;
And Your thoughts toward us
Cannot be recounted to You in order;
If I would declare and speak of them,
They are more than can be numbered.
Sacrifice and offering You did not desire;
My ears You have opened.
Burnt offering and sin offering You did not require.
Then I said, “Behold, I come;
In the scroll of the book it is written of me.
I delight to do Your will, O my God,
And Your law is within my heart.”

Psalm 40.1-8

Psalm 40.1-8 (Dix: For the Beauty of the Earth)
I waited patiently for God; He inclined and heard my cry,
Lifted me up above the sod, set me on a Rock on high!
New songs in my mouth He gave; may He through me many save.

Blessed are all who trust in You, turning both from lies and pride.
Countless wonders, Lord, You do, and Your thoughts with us abide.
Lord, who can Your worth declare? None with You can e’er compare.

Off’rings You do not require – open now my ears, O Lord –
What from me do You desire? Firm delight to do Your Word.
Take my life in ev’ry part; write Your Law upon my heart.

T. M. Moore

Visit The Ailbe Seminary, where our course, One in Twelve: Introduction to Christian Worldview, can show you how Jesus is central to all aspects of life in the world – and beyond! Our course is free, and you can study at your own pace, watching videos and using the free materials provided.

We are happy to offer each week’s Scriptorium studies in a free weekly PDF, suitable for personal or group use. You can download all the studies in our series on the Gospel of John by clicking here. Please prayerfully consider sharing with The Fellowship of Ailbe through your giving. You can contribute to The Fellowship by clicking the Contribute button at the website or by sending your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 19 Tyler Drive, Essex Junction, VT 05452.

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series IV a and b: John, edited by Joel C. Elowsky, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006. Verse translation of John by T. M. Moore.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT. 

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