Meanwhile his disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat something.”
But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.”
Then his disciples said to each other, “Could someone have brought him food?”
“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.”
How Jesus Loved People
Jesus just finished a conversation with the Samaritan woman at the well. A conversation filled with grace, and love, and truth. His conversation was so gracious and persuasive, that Samaritan woman wound up getting the townspeople together with Jesus for two days. (If you want to gain insight into why Jesus’ conversation was so successful, see previous How to Love Like Jesus post: Grace and Truth)
A two day meeting with the whole town — this was a golden opportunity for Christ to share the words of eternal life with people. What we’re witnessing here is how Jesus’ focus on saving souls took priority above his appetite for food for his flesh.
How to Love Like Jesus – Focus
A number of years ago, my great grandfather Jess went for a walk in the Oregon wilderness. He was in his early nineties at the time. Now it wasn’t like he had to go far to find the wilderness. The log cabin where we were gathered that day is right there, near the Siskiyou National Forest. So he simply left the cabin to go for a walk. No big deal, right?
Well, great-grandfather Jess became lost.
It was quite a scene. My family and I searched all over that mountain. We searched for him well past dark, but without success. It was nerve racking to think about this ninety-something year old patriarch, alone in the forest over night. The next day Search and Rescue came out in force. They had airplanes flying over, ATV’s driving all over the mountain, a bunch of volunteer hikers. It was a huge deal.
Sometime after noon, they found great-grandfather Jess. After he was re-hydrated and had gained his strength back, he explained what happened. What happened was, he happened upon a buck who was in the rut and courting a doe. He became so engrossed in watching this courtship, that he followed them all the way to the top of a ridge line, without giving a single thought to how long he’d been gone, or food, or water — or his whereabouts. The guy was in his nineties! How does that happen?
Well it happens when we focus.
When Jesus said, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.” I believe, he was talking about this phenomena of focus and flow. He had such inspiration from the Holy Spirit, He was in such a flow, he didn’t give a thought to food or anything else. Presented with this opportunity to engage with the Samaritan townspeople, His only focus was on doing the will of Him who sent Jesus, and to finish His work.
It’s similar to what happens when you’re absorbed in your writing project, or your photo editing project, or your music project — fruit producing activities. Or, even, perhaps, when you’re engrossed in non-fruit producing activities, like playing Eve Online, or Minecraft, or reading the book The Hunger Games. You’re so focused, so absorbed, so engrossed — you forget to eat, physical food. Your food is your work (I use the term loosely when referring to video games and reading).
Your food, is your focus.
Your food is your flow.
So then, to love like Jesus, what must we do?
You know, Jesus once asked, ““Why do you call me Lord, and then not do what I tell you?” (Luke 6:46) This is a scripture seldom quoted, yet there it is, truth, staring me in the face. Oh God have mercy on me! I hope I never fall into this category. And I hope you never do either.
To love like Jesus, we must do what Jesus tells us. We must focus on what He focused on, which was of course, loving God, saving souls, and loving people. So we find ourselves in this awkward position, you and I, where we have to ask, “What am I known for?” Because Jesus said his disciples would be known for their love. (John 13:35) And, “What am I doing to reconcile people to God? What am I doing to point people to Christ?”
“My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work,” Jesus said. And the will and the work of him who sent Jesus, was for Jesus to express the love of God to people, which results in saved souls. Jesus loved in a way that reconciled people to God.
That’s what He did for two days with the Samaritans.
That’s what He did His whole ministry.
That’s what He did on the cross.
That’s how He loved people.
And that’s how He wants you and I to love people too.
For more on the topic of evangelism, I highly recommend the blog post A Heart for Evangelism by Klaus Brune.
Pingback: 7 Reasons You Can Relax About Evangelism | God Running
Pingback: How to Love Like Jesus — Focus and Flow: John 4:31-34 « Inspirational Christian Blogs
Great comment above! Another good post, thanks Kurt your writing is quite good.
Blessings to you
Yes, the comment you’re referring to is from Irene, and she always seems to offer some amazing insight.
Blessings on you, your family, and your ministry Greg.
“There is always someone who needs to come to know Him, yet the time for evangelizing is running out; it seems like it is “evening.”
I love that Irene! That statement captures Jesus’ focus.
With a gazillion TV channels and the world wide web, it’s sooooo easy to become inundated with entertainment and distraction. Shifting our focus so it’s in line with Jesus’ focus is when we realize what has eternal value. It’s when we realize why we exist. It’s the way to live your best possible life.
Thank you for another amazing comment.
God’s richest blessings on you and your family!
Yes, Kurt, food is focus and flow! We’ve all heard, “You are what you eat!” And, you are right, because when I get into the Word and study, I become so focused on the study that I don’t think about eating until the headache starts. I can certainly forego the physical food and replace it with the spiritual and I shall not die, other than to “self”.
These scriptures in John prompted such a study and now my belly is flowing with rivers of living water. But even John needed more than the spiritual to keep up his strength; his food was locusts and honey. Locusts are a biblically clean food, in case you evangelists get lost in the woods like Kurt’s Great-grandpa did, you’ll have something to munch on. And perhaps you’ll be blessed with finding a honeycomb nearby to strengthen you. When you find your way back, you’ll be able to share Good News!
In these passages we have Messiah dealing with the Samaritans for “two” days. The Samaritans were a mixed race from the Northern Kingdom under the influence of Jeroboam who separated the people from Jerusalem, from the worship of the true Elohim, resulting in their worship of false gods. Yet they intermarried with surrounding Israelites thus becoming more Hebraized as indicated in Ungers Bible Dictionary.
“Two” days is interesting because it has been two thousand years since Messiah left us and His believers are a mixed multitude today! Perhaps now we may see the shift in His attention from the Samaritans to Israel. “But, beloved, let not this one thing be hidden (from you), that one day (is) with (the) LORD as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” (2 Peter 3:8)
Messiah said, “I have food to eat of which you do not know of.” (John 4:32) Then He said, “My food is that I do the “will” of Him who sent me, and that I complete His work..” Regarding the word “food”, there is an implied under the surface wordplay that is brought out in Aramaic. I use the Aramaic English New Testament to reveal the pun.
John 4:32 in the Aramaic translation reveals what Messiah truly says when He indicates “I have food…” which is the Aramaic word makultha, rather than the Aramaic word for food which is sevartha. So what is going on here? Messiah is stressing that though makultha refers to “food” here, malkutha means “kingdom”–the Kingdom of Elohim. So the requirement for obtaining both “food” and the “kingdom” are similar: “to do the will of our Heavenly Father.” John almost verbatim copies the imagery of the harvest as used in Matthew!
This passage is used in comparison with Matthew 9:35-38 with Messiah’s word: “the harvest is great and the workers are few; ask, therefore, the master of the harvest that he should send workers in his harvest.” Likewise in Matthew 21:28-32, two sons asked to work in their father’s vineyard. These passages relate “harvest” with “Kingdom”.
In the Matthew passages Messiah is addressing the chief priests and the elders with His parable. I believe the first son, whom the Father asked to work the vineyard represents the Samaritans/Christians/Ephraim (sons of adoption by Jacob/the grafted-in believers) who said he wouldn’t go, but later regretted it and went; I believe “Judah” represents the son who said, ‘I will my master.’ Yet did not go to work the harvest. Then Y’shua/Jesus asked the chief priests and the elders which of the two sons did the “will” of the Father, and they said that the first one did. Messiah responds: “I say truly to you that the tax-collectors and harlots will precede you into the Kingdom of Elohim. For Yochanan (John) came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him. But the tax-collectors and the harlots believed him.”Messiah is addressing the chief priests and the elders with His parable. I believe the first son, whom the Father asked to work the vineyard is of the Northern Kingdom Samaritans/Christians/Ephraim who said he wouldn’t go, but later regretted it and went; I believe “Judah” represents the son who said, ‘I will my master.’ And did not go. Then Y’shua asked the chief priests and the elders which of the two sons did the “will” of the Father, and they said that the first one did. Messiah responds: “I say truly to you that the tax-collectors and harlots will precede you into the Kingdom of Elohim. For Yochanan (John) came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him. But the tax-collectors and the harlots believed him.”
So as we share the Father’s Word, we should remember that His Son indicated that the harvest was ripe when He spoke to His disciples. There is always someone who needs to come to know Him, yet the time for evangelizing is running out; it seems like it is “evening”. Let us not forget that there is great reward for those who sow seed and for those who reap the harvest! Our soon coming King will return during the Father’s Fall festivals when the harvest is ready: Yom Teruah (Trumpets), Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), and Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles/Booths (the Marriage Supper of the Lamb).
Let’s make our Father proud! Let’s work the vineyard and complete the work so that we can receive our pay, and I’ve heard the benefits are out of this world!