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Saturday, February 04, 2017

Faith, it's what's for dinner. (i swear i've used that title a half dozen times.)

"In the meanwhile the disciples were asking him, saying, “Rabbi, eat something!” But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.”"  John 4

Why didn't Jesus eat?  The woman was gone.  It would be a while before the rest of the villagers came.  Doesn't seem to be anything going on, what would be the logical reason for refusing food at that point?  i don't get the impression 1st century peasants in the Middle East ate anywhere near as much as we Americans peasants do twenty centuries later.  Maybe i'm wrong but while wandering on the dusty road by foot, i'm guessing they didn't eat three squares a day.  So anytime food was offered i'm gonna guess they didn't pass.  "No thanks, man, I had a sticky bun and a sardine three days ago, i'm stuffed."  So why does Jesus take a rain check on the food he sent the twelve into town to get in the first place?  He seemed to see what was coming.  Crowds.  Two days of preaching.  Why would he want to weaken his body?

"So the disciples began to say to one another, “No one brought him anything to eat, did they?” Jesus said to them, “My food is that I do the will of the one who sent me and complete his work."  John 4

 i'm not saying i know, but the only reason i can think of is because he didn't necessarily see what was coming.  He is God but as a man, it seems his foreknowledge was not always perfect.  The Spirit showed him and told him some things but not everything.  We don't know when.  We don't know how.  He was in communion with God, yes, but he still got off by himself to pray.  He used the same channels you and i use to speak with the Father.  To listen to the Father.  To be in communion with His Father.  He prayed.

And he fasted.  He had just pulled the pin on a grenade and sent it back into town in the form of a woman in the joyous shock of having possibly just met the Messiah of God!  Like the messengers He chose to send news of His resurrection, Jesus chooses this woman to be the herald to her own people.  Now, it seems to me, he is fasting and praying upon the outcome.  That God would be exalted by the good news spreading and changing more hearts than just this one.  That the harvest would produce fruit.  He's no longer alone but that doesn't mean he can't discipline his body, submit it to his eagerness to the work.  Every pang of his stomach only serves to sharpen his vision as he gazes down the road and prays for the ears about to hear.  After a long day of walking in the heat, food may make him drowsy.  He wants his wit for the work, both the work of praying and the hoped for work of receiving the hopeful.  For this time, he did not have to send someone healed of a physical disease.  The crowds, if they came, would come seeking the cure for the spiritual, not the bodily ailments.  They would come perhaps just to see and hear a prophet, but to hear the words of God.  They wouldn't be dragging along everyone afflicted with everything from leprosy to restless leg syndrome.  They would come seeking God.

But i wonder too.  Is that all?  Did angels minister to him as they did to Elijah?  i don't know.  Maybe they did or maybe the joy that comes from being exactly who God made you to be, doing exactly what He made you to do completely cancels out, at least temporarily, all other needs and considerations.  Can we be so filled with the Spirit that we are full?  Can it be that actually loving God and obeying him can drive out the sins we cling to?  The idols we find so hard to throw away?  The fragile identities we cultivate so carefully?  The identities and comforts and treasures of this world we so hunger and thirst for?  

"Blessed are the ones who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    because they will be satisfied."  Matt 5

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