Jesus was urged to stop and eat, to which he replied, “I have food to eat that you do not know about” (John 4:32, NASB).
The disciples were befuddled. One can imagine them scratching their heads, looking around for Jesus’ secret stash of goodies: “No one brought Him anything to eat, did he?” (John 4:33).
Then he said, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work” (John 4:34).
Of course, Jesus did eat actual food, but it was not a top priority. Going without? Not a problem for Jesus. Being hungry? Not unusual. Notwithstanding the extreme hunger of his 40-day fast, Jesus’ caloric intake would have been much different in both nature and volume to ours.
Life for many of us revolves around the rhythm of eating meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, etc. It never stops. Mealtime shows up every 3-4 hours. We eat by assignment. We eat out of boredom. We feed our emotions. Are we truly hungry, or do we just like to eat?
Jesus’ words about “Gentile” (read: worldly) thinking in Matthew 6 is eye-opening:
Do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” (Matthew 6:25).
Jesus – in his own example – calls us to make our lives less about the body and more about the soul; less about the self, and more about the other; less about the material, and more about the spiritual. In my Bible this section of Matthew 6 is called, “The Cure for Anxiety.” Who knew that depriving the body, serving the other, and investing more in the spiritual would bring us better health? Who knew that stuffing the body, ignoring others and building bigger barns would destroy our inner peace?
The reason many are starving is because they know how to feed the body, but not the soul. Many are emaciated because they have put the value of working for this world’s goods over the value of working for the good of the world.
What really fills you up? What really satisfies? What is your favorite food?
What was Jesus’ favorite food?