Saturday, October 7, 2023

Eat Your Soul Food First!

 “Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you." – John 6:27

There’s an activity that most people will participate in at least 20 times this week. Chances are, you did it this morning, and you’ll probably do it a few more times today. You can perform this activity alone, but if you’re like most people, you prefer to share it with others. This activity is a part of every party, most dates and even major holidays. Of course, I’m talking about … eating. Food is an important part of our lives, isn’t it?

So, chew on this for a moment: No matter how poor you think you are, you enjoy a luxury that several billion people on earth don’t have. You don’t have to worry about where your next meal is coming from. But in First Century Israel, many people did. So, in the early verses of John chapter 6, when Jesus performed a miracle and fed 5,000 men an all-you-can-eat fish and biscuit dinner, it was a HUGE deal. That may have been the first time in a long time that some of those people went to bed with full bellies. That’s why, in the middle of the chapter, it’s not surprising that many people in the crowd who were fed by Jesus yesterday, want him to feed them again today.

When the crowd tracked Jesus down in Capernaum, He called them on it: “You are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill” (v. 26). As William Barclay puts it, “It is as if Jesus said: ‘You cannot think about your souls for thinking of your stomachs.’” Sadly, what was true of so many people in Jesus’ day is equally true of many people in our day. Jesus told them, “Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you” (v. 27). He’s telling the crowd to stop chasing after STOMACH food that is only edible for a short time. Instead, Jesus tells them to chase after SOUL food—food that never spoils, and which nourishes for all eternity.

Verse 27 actually sounds like a paradox. Jesus is telling them to WORK for “food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will GIVE you.” When we work for something, it’s not a gift. Right? But the people are fixated on the “work” and are overlooking the “gift” as they ask Jesus: “What must we do to do the works God requires?” (v. 28). The crowd wanted to know what every one us has wanted to know at some point: “What do I need to DO to get on God’s good side? What do I need to DO to make it to heaven some day?” When we ask these questions, we’re asking for some sort of to-do list. “Read your Bible and pray every day. Go to church every Sunday. Help 100 old ladies across the street.” That type of list makes sense to us.

But in verse 29, Jesus responds with some of the simplest yet most profound theology in the entire book of John: “The work of God is this: to believe in the one He has sent.”

Here are three Life Lessons we can take away from these passages:

Life Lesson #1: Your old nature craves PHYSICAL food to the exclusion of SPIRITUAL food. So, keep your priorities straight. Feed your spirit before you feed your face. Jesus urged the crowd in Capernaum to stop working for food that perishes, but instead to work for food that endures. In John 6, the people who came to Jesus were physically hungry. But this second time, Jesus refused to give in to their physical cravings. Instead, He fed their spirit. That’s a good model to follow. Before you feed your face, make sure you feed your spirit. The health of your eternal spirit is infinitely more important than the health of your temporary body.  

Life Lesson #2: Grace and truth both come through Jesus Christ, and you need them both. Why did Jesus feed the 5,000 on the other side of the Sea of Galilee? Well, He did it because He had compassion on the crowds. He also did it to teach his 12 disciples some important lessons. But He also did it to show the crowd God’s grace so that they would be more open to receiving God’s truth. His grace included physical bread. But the truth was: What they most needed was the eternal Bread of Life, Jesus Christ. Over the years, you’ve accepted many gracious gifts from Jesus—your health, your family, your job. However, have you rejected the truth of Jesus … that unless you place your faith in Jesus Christ, none of your good works will matter on Judgment Day? You can’t go to church enough times, or give away enough money, or walk enough old ladies across the street to escape God’s judgment.

Life Lesson #3: If you want to be right with God and make it to heaven one day, there’s only one good work that God finds acceptable: Believe in Jesus and keep believing in Jesus. In Hebrews 11:6, we read that “without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” Pleasing God begins with believing in Jesus as your Savior and Lord. And once you are saved, you can only continue pleasing God by continuing to believe in Jesus.

Far too many Christians believe in Jesus for salvation and then spend the rest of their lives believing in themselves. That’s stupid! If you trust that Jesus can snatch your rotten soul out of Satan’s grubby hand, why on earth don’t you trust that Jesus can help you with every other problem you’ve got? Walk by faith. Talk by faith. Pray, read your Bible and make your decisions by faith. Your belief in Jesus Christ should permeate EVERYTHING in your life.

Dane Davis is the pastor of Impact Christian Church. Join us for worship on Sunday at 8:30 a.m. or 10 a.m. at 16209 Kamana Road in Apple Valley, or livestream us on Facebook or YouTube. For more information, visit

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