Each study builds on the previous study, sometimes repeating an emphasis, but that is how we learn. Again, in this module, we see in these first few verses that Jesus is already pointing the disciples to the right sort of food, explaining how to eat and to eat well.
“My food… is to do the will of Him who sent me.”
Jesus had had such an exciting time in Samaria speaking to an outcast woman! He had won her and, because of her, the whole town. He was pointing out that His diet did not need physical food. He lived on a diet of thrilling His Father and doing His will and helping to bring these precious people to salvation. Each of us makes scores of choices every day. Most choices have no moral right or wrong attached to them – for example which bus to catch or what to eat – but we also face some decisions that carry more weight and where we long to do God’s will. We don’t want to do wrong and we don’t want to cause others to do wrong, so how can we know what is the Father’s will?
Before making any decision ask the following question:
- Does it help my witness for Christ? 1 Corinthians 9:19-22.
- Am I motivated by a desire to help others to know Christ? 1 Corinthians 9:23; 10:33.
- Does it help me to do my best? 1 Corinthians 9:25.
- Is it contrary to a specific command in Scripture and so will cause me to sin? 1 Corinthians 10:12.
- Is it best and helpful? 1 Corinthians 10:23; 10:33.
- Am I thinking only of myself or do I truly care about the other person? 1 Corinthians 10:24.
- Am I acting lovingly or selfishly? 1 Corinthians 10:28-31.
- Does it glorify God? 1 Corinthians 10:31.
- Will it encourage someone else to sin? 1 Corinthians 10:32.
Also, Jesus’ nourishment came from time with His Father in prayer, reading the Old Testament Scriptures and having fellowship with other believers. We all know what it is like to be so enthusiastic about something that we forget to eat. We can be hungry at the beginning of a film on the TV and sit for a whole two hours, completely absorbed by the action, without even looking for food. Well that is how Jesus was about His Father’s work and winning souls. If we are as enthusiastic about the Father’s work, we will have no trouble knowing the Father’s will, through His Spirit.
“ …and to finish the work… ”
Finishing the work was also very important to Jesus. It is so important that we are just as enthusiastic at the end of a job as when we started. Jesus made His job His meat and drink. He was totally resolved not to give up, but to go through it and finish the work, however tough that might be, John 4:34. Jesus was showing His disciples (and all those of us who are His followers) a lesson in zeal (do not forget: “zeal for your house will consume Me” John 2:17) “stickability” and earnestness that the salvation of souls should be closer to our hearts than life itself. Let eating, drinking, work and rest, family and friends, thinking, studying, prayer, and all things be directed by the Holy Spirit towards saving souls and making disciples. There is no more exciting activity on earth than leading people to Jesus and watching as they grow in Him and lead people to Him themselves. There is no time like this time in the history of the world (“open your eyes” John 4:35) as revival is expected. All the forces of darkness are working overtime. Every person is very spiritually aware and seeking satisfaction for this inner, spiritual hunger. This can only be satisfied in a deep personal relationship with Jesus Christ after revelation that His death on the Cross was to wash away all our sin. Most people have looked elsewhere to satisfy this hunger but, by the power of the Holy Spirit, those who are truly searching will find the truth… in Jesus. Many refuse the first time they hear the truth because of previous experiences and perception of Christians and churches. But people respond very positively to the Gospel when they seek God with their whole heart and as we pray. We need to remember to bind them to God’s will for their life and cut them off from the deception of the enemy, Matthew 16:19.
Jesus knew that His time for showing His own people His true identity was short, as there would come a time when they would not accept Him, John 1:46. However, because of what He had done in Jerusalem at the temple during Passover, they were willing to listen, John 2:23. When people see how we live our lives for God and know that Jesus makes the difference in the good and bad times, they will be willing to listen to what we have to say.
We cannot afford to just say that we believe what Jesus says and that He can take care of our problems. We have to behave as if we know He can. When we pray about a need, we must then live as though we trust Jesus has the answer in hand and cling to what we know He is going to do. So, this royal official just took Jesus at His Word and left for home, John 4:50. Obedience just means, “yielding to authority, and complying with another’s command”. So, as we obey the prompting of the Holy Spirit, we are just acknowledging that He is the higher authority in our lives and that we know He is better at solving our problems than we are.
“Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders, you will never believe.”John 4:48
Jesus longed with all His heart for these people to believe in Him:
- because of who His Father was, and on the strength of what He said,
- not because of the power He showed by the miracles He did.
He did not want the people to follow Him for the spectacular. He knew that did not make strong disciples but only experience-orientated people without character and backbone. Jesus knew how strong His followers were going to have to be for what was coming during the next few years. He wanted to encourage them to look deeper than having Him resolve a few earthly problems with a word from His mouth. He wanted them to know who His Father was and what an exciting plan He had for the whole world for eternity. This royal official was probably an officer in Herod’s army. He walked twenty miles to see Jesus and addressed Him as “Sir” putting himself under Jesus’ authority, even though he had legal authority over Jesus. It shows us that Jesus wants to reach all people, like the Samaritan woman. Jesus was doing this miracle of healing a child for a Gentile. This man had faith that Jesus could do whatever He said. He obeyed what Jesus told Him to do and returned home, showing His amazing faith by his actions. What a home-coming!
Just stop now and worship Jesus, telling Him that, whether He answers your prayer in the way that you want it answered or not, you will still love and obey Him because of who He is. Then go and be obedient. As you are on your way, Jesus will answer your prayer (John 4:51) and people will believe because of your testimony, John 4:53.
Home challenges for Power Up! – No. 8: Which diet are you on?
1. Read the notes “Which diet are you on?” John 4:31-38. Do you feel that doing the will of God is the most important thing in your life?
2. Has God asked you to do what you are doing in every area of your life, or are you just doing it because it is a good idea or because you don’t want to let people down?
3. Do you have a decision to make and you do not know God’s will? Could you apply the principles listed here and see what the Father is saying to you? (Don’t forget Proverbs 16:3 Amp “Roll your works over onto the Lord commit and trust them wholly to Him; He will cause your thoughts to become agreeable to His will, and so shall your plans be established and succeed.”)
4. Is there an area in your life where you need “stickability”? Is your zeal flagging for something you started with great enthusiasm? Pray for God to renew your vision in this area, to put some backbone in your character so that you will be determined to see it through.
5. Read the notes on John 4:43-54. Is there a situation in your life where you have asked God to do something for you in Jesus’ Name and now is the time to move off your knees and away from your begging; to live by faith in what Jesus has said to you? Believe that whatever He has said He will do. Start rejoicing in Jesus!
Read John 5:1-15
6. Where did this next miracle take place? How many people were in the place seeing Jesus that day?
7. How long had this man been sick? What do you think this man’s attitude to his future was?
8. Note that Jesus went to this man, not the other way round. In the light of what we learned in past lessons about how Jesus decided to do things, who do you think caused Jesus to notice this man?
9. What was the first question that Jesus asked the man?
10. Why do you think Jesus asked this question?
11. When Jesus told the man what to do, how long did it take him to do it?
12. What was the reaction of the Jewish people to this man’s actions?
13. When you see God do amazing things for someone else, what is your reaction?
14. What was Jesus’ action after He saw the man healed?
15. Did the man have to deal with sin in his life before Jesus would heal him? (John 5:14)
Read John 5:16-30
16. What were the two things that the Jewish people levelled against Jesus at this time?
17. Pick out three points from Jesus’ answer and put them into your own words.
18. What stops us from being condemned? (John 5:24)
19. Pick out one verse that shows the Father’s devotion to the Son and one verse that shows the Son’s devotion to the Father. Write them out here.
20. Do you KNOW that the Father feels the same about you? How do you feel about Him? Tell Him!
21. Choose one verse to memorise and write it out.