31 In the meantime His disciples urged Him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” 32 But He said to them, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.” 33 Therefore the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought Him anything to eat?” 34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.
Before the disciples came back, Jesus was tired and thirsty. Now that they had returned, rest and water was not prominent in His thinking.
Verses 31-38 form a new scene. It is an interlude to explain the focus of Jesus to do the will of God to His disciples.
In the meantime
The “meantime” is the time between the woman’s return to her town and Jesus’ interchange with His disciples after they came back from searching for food. The word “meantime” stresses the interlude or an interval between events.
His disciples urged Him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.”
The disciples called Jesus “Rabbi,” meaning teacher. As a human being, Jesus was subject to hunger. The major focus of the disciples was the search for food. They urged Jesus to eat the food they brought back from Sychar.
But He said to them, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.”
Jesus used the idea of concrete food to illustrate intangible truth. He set forth an enigma for the disciples—they did “not know.” Jesus demonstrated little interest in eating although He was hungry. He used this lesson to show His disciples what should hold priority for them. There are purposes of greater importance than food.
The “I” and “you” in this verse are emphatic. Jesus put separation between Himself and His disciples. The mission of Jesus was not primarily to eat but to provide eternal life to the spiritual needy.
Therefore the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought Him anything to eat?”
The disciples crudely misunderstood what Jesus said about food. They took it in a literal or material sense.
Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me,
Jesus’ mission to do the will of God was more important to Him than eating physical food. God had a prescribed role for Jesus on earth.
and to finish [accomplish] His work.
Jesus’ purpose was to finish the Father’s work for Him on earth (Jn 17:4). The primary focus of Jesus was not the search for food but providing food for the spiritually hungry. He was the source of soul food. His mission was to see this to completion (Jn 19:30).
The word “work” in the singular refers to the work of Christ in its entirety. There is nothing complete without His work on the cross.
Christians have a higher priority than the mundane issues of life.
Jesus’ great desire was to do the will of God (Jn 5:30; 8:29). His focus was spiritual, not material. He raised His goals above the mundane (Mt 4:4). Satisfaction of accomplishing the will of the Father was greater than any food to Jesus. He put Himself totally at the disposal of the Father. His entire life centered on doing His will.
The Christian is to lift the purpose of his or her life beyond the mundane issues of life. The purpose of our lives is to glorify God by doing the will of God for our lives.