2019 01 13 pm Hungry to Do His Will John 4: 34

Congregation of the Lord Jesus Christ,

Have you noticed that there are more and more restaurants and food stores around?  This is great news for people like JB, who is a chef, and it is good news for those who like to try different foods, but it also highlights a simple reality, which is that We need food.  We pretty much need to eat every day to stay alive.

And of course, there is a request in the Lord’s Prayer about this – “Give us this day our daily bread.”  But that is not the request before us today; that’s the next request we will consider together.  Today’s request is “Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”  And as we heard in the catechism answer, the reference to “heaven” points us to the example of the angels who always obey God immediately and joyfully.

But we are not going to consider the example of the angels today; we are going to consider the example of the Lord Jesus.  And we do this because He shares our human nature.  He knows what it is like to be hungry and tired and in pain, etc, and to be hurt and disappointed by others, etc.  He knows what it is like to be tempted in very way that you and me are tempted.


So to help us understand what this petition of the Lord’s Prayer means, we see in John 4:34 that The Lord Jesus equates Obedience with our need for food.


It was June last year that we looked at this chapter in our Gospel of John sermon series.

  • It records a conversation between Jesus and a Samaritan woman. Samaria was a country to the north of Israel and the Jews and the Samaritans hated each other.
  • v8 tells us that “the disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.” But in v27 we see that they have come back and are amazed that Jesus was talking to this Samaritan woman.
  • But she leaves to tell the people in her town about Jesus and later on they all come back with her to meet Jesus. But in the meantime, in v31, the disciples are trying to get Jesus to eat something.
  • But in v32, we read, “But He said to them, ‘I have food to eat that you do not know about.’ So the disciples said to one another, ‘Has anyone brought Him something to eat (could someone else have bought Him food, perhaps)?’”  And that seemed a reasonable assumption on their part, if you take Jesus’ words literally: He sent them away to buy food but now He is telling us He has food – conclusion, someone else must have brought Him food.  But knowing they were thinking this, Jesus says, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to accomplish His work.”


So let’s take some time to consider His response as we ask two questions:

  1. First, what is the Lord Jesus’ food? What is the food He is referring to here?
  2. And then, secondly, is the Lord Jesus’ food my food?
  3. So first of all then, what is the Lord Jesus’ food?


  1. And we begin by noting what the Lord Jesus’ food is not.
    1. He tells us that His food is to do the will of the one who sent Him. So He is clearly not talking about physical food.  He is using food as a metaphor or word-picture to speak about something that is a basic, daily necessity.
    2. But note from what He says about His food that it is not doing His own will. He says, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent me.”  And the ‘Him’ He is referring to is His Father in heaven, as we shall see in a moment.   But the Lord Jesus’ food is not to do His own will.
      1. In Isaiah 14 there are words that on the one hand apply to the King of Babylon but also to the devil. The devil was originally a good angel but he and the other evil angels were thrown out of heaven.  And Isaiah 14 is one of the places in the Bible that explains why this happened.  Listen to what it says about the sin that lead him to him being thrown out of heaven.  We read, “How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! … You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north;  I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.”  Now, what two words are repeated five times in those verses?  “I will…”  I want what I want.  I want to do what I want to do.  I do not want what God wants.  I do not want to do what God wants me to do.  I will do what I will.  I
      2. And the devil used that temptation with Eve – Paraphrasing, he said, Eve, don’t obey God’s will, do what you want! And this has been the chief struggle of the human race ever since then – the conflict between obeying God’s will and doing what I want.  God says, “You shall not do this and you shall do that,” but we want to do what God forbids and we do not want to do what God commands.
      3. But that stands in stark contrast to what the Lord Jesus says here, doesn’t it. His food is not to do His own will.  His will is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His


  1. And as we switch our focus now to what the food of the Lord Jesus is, which is to do the will of Him who sent me and to accomplish His work, turn over a page or two to John 6:37-40 (p. 892). I actually quoted some of this passage in this morning’s sermon.  Jesus also speaks here about doing the will of His Father and says more about what the Father’s will is.  “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.  For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.  And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.  For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
    1. And what we have here is what we considered this morning as the Bible’s Basic Story: Before the creation of the world, the Father chose some to spend eternity with Jesus. And it would be the Son’s task to redeem all God’s chosen people.  So before the first Christmas, we can imagine the Father giving the Son His instructions, saying, Go down to earth now and be born of a virgin by the Holy Spirit.  Then endure temptation all day and every day but live a life of perfection.  And then take the guilt of all the sins of my chosen people on your shoulders to the cross at Calvary.  And there I will pour out my fierce anger on you and you will die.  But I will raise you from the dead and exalt you.  And all who believe in you will receive the gift of eternal life.  And at the end of time, I will raise every single one of them from the dead and present them to you, spotless and pure and radiant.  This is my will for you – go now and do this.
    2. So right then and for the whole time He was on earth, Jesus immediately and joyfully and always and perfectly obeyed His Father’s will. For Him, obeying His Father was as necessary as the bread He needed to eat each day.


  1. So coming now to our second point, we now need to ask, Is the Lord Jesus’ food your food? Is obedience to God as important to you as your daily food?


  1. Well, to answer that question, we need to know what God’s will is for us, don’t we. And that is why God has given us the Bible.  It is in here that He has revealed His will for us.  And His will is the commands we encounter throughout the Bible.
    1. And given what the Lord Jesus said about the Father’s will for Him, it comes as no surprise that the chief command revealing God’s will for us is the one we find in 1 John 3:23, where it says, “Here is His command: to believe in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ.”
      1. When you are in hospital and unable to eat and drink yourself, they put you on an intravenous drip to supply you with the absolutely essential nutrients to sustain life.  Well, belief in the Lord Jesus is the essential food of eternal life – John 3:16, “Whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
      2. So in relation to obeying this command, Is the Lord Jesus’ food your food? Do you believe in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins?


  1. But as we continue to think about God’s will for us and our obedience, we come next to the same point we considered this morning. We are saved by grace alone in Christ alone, which we receive by faith alone.  We cannot earn our salvation.  But in Matthew 7:21, Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”
    1. So boys and girls, where can we learn about the Father’s will? In the Bible.  The will of the Father is expressed in the 10 Commandments, for example, and everywhere else that we find the commandments of God.  One example is Ephesians 4-6 where we read, “Therefore, each of you must put of falsehood and speak the truth … Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.  Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you  … Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouth … Among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality …              Wives, submit to your husband as unto the Lord… Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church … children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right…”
    2. But of course, it is not enough just to know the will of the Father. Jesus’ point in Matthew 7:21 was that we must do the will of the Father; we must do what He commands.
    3. Please turn with me to James 1:22 ( 1011). There we read these words, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.  For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror.  For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.  But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.”  To just hear God’s will and know it is not enough.  We must be doers of God’s will
      1. We saw an illustration of this in our earlier reading about Elijah and the Widow of Zeraphath. Elijah asked her to bring him some bread.  But she told him that she had only enough bread for herself and her son.  But Elijah said first bake bread for me and then for you and your son and all will be well.  And we read that “She went and did as Elijah said.  And she and her household ate for many days.”  Her faith in the word of the Lord was demonstrated by her obedience.


  1. And this is how it is with all who truly believe in Christ; they will be eager to do God’s will. When we pray, “Our Father in heaven … Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven,” and we open the pages of our Bible and find commands that forbid adultery and lying and require us to observe the Lord’s Day and obey our leaders and forbid greed and filthy jokes and require love and a willingness to help the poor and needy, etc, and by good and necessary deduction we see that we are to volunteer to lead this class or clean the church or serve in office, etc, we must be eager to do; we must be like the Lord Jesus who considered obedience to His Father’s will as His food.


  1. Sadly though, we can be like the little girl who had a very rich Grandmother. And it was Christmas time and the little girl had high hopes of receiving a smartphone or a camera or something like that.  But what she got instead was an embroidered pin cushion, exactly like the one that her grand-mother’s grand-mother had once given to her.  But living in 2018, the little girl didn’t think that much of embroidered pin-cushions.  So to be polite, she wrote a letter to her grand-mother.  She said, Dear Grandma, thank you for the pin-cushion.  I have always wanted a pin-cushion, but not very much.”
    1. Could it be that you are like that little girl when it comes to God’s will? Could it be that your commitment to obey God’s commands really amounts to a letter that says, “Thank you, Lord, for having a will for my life.  I have always wanted your will for my life, but not very much”?
    2. Could it be that that you consider obeying God’s will as more like dessert than food – sometimes, special occasions?
    3. Or are you like the Psalmist we read earlier who said, “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!”? Who said to the Lord, “Teach me, O LORD, the way of your statutes; and I will keep it to the end.  Give me understanding, that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart.  Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it.”?
    4. You will be like the Psalmist and like the widow of Zeraphath and like the angels and like the Lord Jesus if you know that God’s will for you, as revealed in His commands, is good and is for your good and you strive to do it.


So be very thankful that the Lord Jesus considered obedience to His Father’s will His food.  For if He did not, we would be lost and without hope.


And because you have been saved by His obedience, and because the will of God is good and is for your good, may the Lord Jesus’ food be your food.  Amen.





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