John 4:31-34 In the mean while His disciples prayed Him, saying, Master, eat. But He said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of. Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought Him ought to eat? Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of Him that sent me, and to finish His work.
In verse 8 of this chapter, we know that Jesus’ disciples had gone away unto the city to buy meat. Here in verse 27, that precedes the lesson text, we find them returning to Jesus. At that time He was conversing with, and teaching, the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well. They marvelled that he talked with the woman. Although they knew of the controversy between the Jews and the Samaritans, yet they did not ask Jesus the reason He was talking to her. But in their mind they questioned it, because no man asked aloud why He was talking to her (See Vs. 27). With this, the woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city and told everyone about the prophet she met, and asked them, is not this the Christ? After this, the townspeople came out to seek Him (See Vss. 28-30)?
Considering the distance traveled from the wilderness district near the Jordan River to Sychar, in Samaria, Jesus and His disciples were, doubtlessly fatigued as well as hungry. Having returned from a nearby town, they asked Jesus to eat the food that they had purchased. But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of. This statement caused the disciples to think that someone else had possibly brought Jesus food while they were away and He had already eaten. Jesus’ thoughts were, more than likely, still with the Samaritan woman to whom He was teaching the good news about God’s plan of eternal salvation. From this we know that Jesus placed much higher emphasis on filling spiritual hunger rather than the need for food to satisfy the physical body. However, the thoughts of His disciples were on the food that would satisfy their physical hunger. In order for Him to teach them this spiritual truth, Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of Him that sent Me, and to finish His work.
Jesus was now about to teach His disciples, as well as Christians of all ages, the multiplying effect of teaching the soul-saving word of God. And to each of us, this labor of love, the teaching of others, is just as satisfying and refreshing to the spiritual soul of a man or woman as food and drink is to their physical body. Although satisfying the temporal and emotional needs is the primary object of life for most people of the world, yet to the devout follower of Jesus Christ, physical gratification is far less satisfying than the contentment one receives from teaching the gospel of salvation to others. Leading others to accept Jesus Christ as their Savior, teaching them the need to obey God’s will culminating in being baptized for the remission of sins, and knowing that they have been added to His body, the church of Christ, is the most satisfying “food” one will ever take into their spiritual body. It far exceeds the gratification of physical hunger. In a proverbial manner Jesus taught His disciples the spiritual tenet found in the verses following the lesson text. He told them that there are yet four months, and then cometh harvest. The normal time to plant seed in this area of Palestine was four months hence, and after that cometh harvest. However, Jesus told them that a spiritual harvest can be had at all times, even now. He also told them to just look around you to find others that are earnestly searching for the pathway to eternal life. These spiritual fields can always be found, for they are white already to harvest (See Vs. 35). The economy of teamwork in producing physical food and other necessities of life has been proven. This same teamwork in spiritual labor produces far better results than anyone can achieve than if an individual Christian labors alone.
Verses 36-38 tell of this gospel truth. When the pure seed of the gospel of Christ is sown in receptive hearts it will symbolically grow into a spiritually ripe man or woman that is ready to obey God’s will and accept Jesus Christ as their Savior. One disciple of Christ may preach the gospel of salvation without any immediate affect on the one being taught, and yet another, weeks, months, or years later, may help them find the final few steps to become a born-again Christian. Indeed, One soweth, and another reapeth. At this point in the earthly ministry of Christ Jesus, He had sent His disciples out to spread the gospel message of baptism for the repentance of sinfulness. Others had already sown the seed to prepare the way for receiving Jesus as the Savior of the world. Certainly the Old Testament prophets foretold of the promised Messiah, Jewish teachers interpreted these prophecies, John the Baptist and Jesus taught about the coming kingdom of God. These had sown the seed of righteousness, and now it was time for the disciples to reap the harvest.