The disciples knew that Jesus had been tired and weary because of the journey from Judea, so they were encouraging Him to eat physical food. Jesus tells them that He has a food that they know nothing about. They don’t understand that He is referring to a Spiritual food that refreshes Him more than physical or natural food ever could. It was hard for them and it is hard for us to understand that Jesus could become so involved in doing God’s work that nothing else matters. The work of the Father was His very life and His sustenance. Natural food has to be taken and eaten to give us refreshment and life, but Spiritual food must be given away to have the same effect on the giver and the receiver. In the natural order of things, we have to plow, sow and wait to reap and eat the food and the fields can only be harvested at certain times of the year. In the Kingdom of God, the spiritual food is always available with us doing no work to receive it. The fields are always white and ready for harvest. Let each of us pray that the work of God becomes more important than food and water in our lives. What good is there in sustaining the natural if the spiritual dies? We can eat all the Spiritual food we can get. It will fill us with Life but we should never be satisfied.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Just as we needed our milk as physical babies, we need pure milk as spiritual babies. We need to become well grounded in the basics of Christianity so that we can stand against temptations to go back into the lifestyle that we lived as sinners. We are new creatures in Christ Jesus and we need to learn a new language and a new way of walking. Faith comes by hearing, so we need to hear the Word everyday. Just as our children learn to read by reading out loud to us, we need to practice reading a few verses out loud every day. Tell God every day that you love Him and want to be obedient to Him. Just as hungry babies cry out for their nourishment, there are times in our lives when we need to cry out to God for guidance from His Word. As we study, meditate, and grow, we will be able to take our place as building blocks in God’s body, the Church. We are his holy priests and should daily offer ourselves as living sacrifices that please God.
12 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him–Romans 12:1 (NLT)
Once we have made progress on “the milk” of the Word, we can move on to solid food.
14 Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong.–Hebrews 5:14 (NLT)
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
Condemnation comes from satan and weighs us down with guilt for things that we have done in the past or things that we are doing now. If satan can keep you feeling guilty, he has defeated you because you will not be able to do good works when you are weighed down with guilt. Remember that there is no condemnation for those of us who are in Christ Jesus. Condemnation is different from conviction. God’s Holy Spirit will bring conviction upon us but it will lead us to repentance. Once we have repented, our relationship with Jesus is restored and we can again be effective working for Christ. Man should not add any requirements for salvation to what God has already laid out in His Word. No matter what anyone tells you, we cannot be good enough to earn salvation or bad enough to lose our salvation. Our salvation depends on Jesus and His shed blood. God tells us in Romans that nothing, absolutely nothing, can separate us from Him and His love. Why? Because it is a gift from God and gifts cannot be bought or earned.
All the rules and precepts are shadows of what is coming. It is our responsibility to use discernment and cross check what people say with the Holy Scriptures. If the two do not agree, then we must always go with the Word. Just as our physical bodies are controlled by our brains (head) and nourished by the blood flowing through it , so is the Spiritual body controlled by the head, who is Christ Jesus. The whole body is held together by the power of His Word and is nourished by His Spirit flowing through us.
31 Meanwhile, the disciples were urging Jesus, “Rabbi, eat something.” 32 But Jesus replied, “I have a kind of food you know nothing about.” 33 “Did someone bring him food while we were gone?” the disciples asked each other. 34 Then Jesus explained: “My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work. 35 You know the saying, ‘Four months between planting and harvest.’ But I say, wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for harvest. 36 The harvesters are paid good wages, and the fruit they harvest is people brought to eternal life. What joy awaits both the planter and the harvester alike! 37 You know the saying, ‘One plants and another harvests.’ And it’s true. 38 I sent you to harvest where you didn’t plant; others had already done the work, and now you will get to gather the harvest.”-–John 4:31-38 (NLT)
The disciples are concerned about the physical welfare of Jesus, but He explains that He is nourished by doing God’s work here on earth. He uses the idea of food to segue into planting and harvesting. But again, He is not talking about natural or physical food. He is using the sowing and reaping in the natural to demonstrate how God wants us to do His work here on earth. Studies have shown that it takes between 7 and 8 times of hearing the Gospel for a person to accept Jesus as their Savior. So, as we go, we plant seeds into individuals and others reap the harvest. It is a joyful moment when we get to harvest where others have come before us and planted the seeds. We must be faithful in doing God’s work even though we may not see the result of the seeds we plant. We can be encouraged by what Jesus said here and what we find in Isaiah: 10 “The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry. 11 It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.—Isaiah 55:10, 11 (NLT)