Labor not for the meat - That is, for that only, but also for the bread, etc. Our Lord wills every man to be active and diligent in that employment in which providence has placed him; but it is his will also that that employment, and all the concerns of life, should be subservient to the interest of his soul.
But for that meat, etc. - He who labors not, in the work of his salvation, is never likely to enter into the kingdom of God. Though our labor cannot purchase it, either in whole or in part, yet it is the way in which God chooses to give salvation; and he that will have heaven must strive for it. Every thing that can be possessed, except the salvation of God, is a perishing thing: this is its essential character: it can last to us no longer than the body lasts. But, when the earth and its produce are burnt up, this bread of Christ, his grace and salvation, will be found remaining unto eternal life. This is the portion after which an immortal spirit should seek.
Him hath God the Father sealed - By this expression, our Lord points out the commission which, as the Messiah, he received from the Father, to be prophet and priest to an ignorant, sinful world. As a person who wishes to communicate his mind to another who is at a distance writes a letter, seals it with his own seal, and sends it directed to the person for whom it was written, so Christ, who lay in the bosom of the Father, came to interpret the Divine will to man, bearing the image, superscription, and seal of God, in the immaculate holiness of his nature, unsullied truth of his doctrine, and in the astonishing evidence of his miracles. But he came also as a priest, to make an atonement for sin; and the bread which nourishes unto eternal life, he tells us, John 6:51, is his body, which he gives for the life of the world; and to this sacrifice of himself, the words, him hath God the Father sealed, seem especially to relate. It certainly was a custom, among nations contiguous to Judea, to set a seal upon the victim which was deemed proper for sacrifice. The following account of the method of providing white bulls among the Egyptians, for sacrifices to their god Apis, taken from Herodotus, Euterpe, b. ii. p. 117, casts much light upon this place. "They sacrifice white bulls to Apis; and for that reason make the following trial. If they find one black hair upon him, they consider him as unclean: that they may know this with certainty, the priest appointed for this purpose views every part of the animal, both standing and lying on the ground. After this, he draws out his tongue, to see if he be clean by certain signs: in the last place, he looks upon the hairs of his tail, that he may be sure they are as by nature they should be. If, after this search, the bull is found unblemished, he signifies it by tying a label to his horns; then, having applied wax, he seals it with his ring, and they lead him away: for it is death to sacrifice one of these animals, unless he have been marked with such a seal.
The Jews could not be unacquainted with the rites and ceremonies of the Egyptian worship; and it is possible that such precautions as these were in use among themselves, especially as they were so strictly enjoined to have their sacrifices without Spot, and without blemish. Infinite justice found Jesus Christ to be without spot or blemish, and therefore sealed, pointed out and accepted him, as a proper sacrifice and atonement for the sin of the whole world. Collate with this passage, Hebrews 7:26-28; Ephesians 5:27; 2 Peter 3:14; and especially Hebrews 9:13, Hebrews 9:14; : For if the blood of Bulls and of goats, and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth - how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself Without Spot to God, purge your consciences from dead works! The rabbins talk much of the seal of God, which they suppose to be אמת emeth, or truth; and that this is a representation of the unoriginated and endless perfections of God. This doctrine is just; but their method of proving it is not so satisfactory. Aleph א , say they, is the first letter of the alphabet; mem מ the middle; and tau ת the last: these three letters make אמת emeth, Truth, because God is the first - there was none before him; he is the middle - none mingles with him; and he is the last - there can be none after him. Hieros. Sanhed. fol. 18. See also 1 Peter 1:18, 1 Peter 1:19.
Labour not - This does not mean that we are to make no effort for the supply of our wants (compare 1 Timothy 5:1; 2 Thessalonians 3:10), but that we are not to manifest anxiety, we are not to make this the main or supreme object of our desire. See the notes at Matthew 6:25.
The meat that perisheth - The food for the supply of your natural needs. It perishes. The strength you derive from it is soon exhausted, and your wasted powers need to be reinvigorated.
That meat which endureth - The supply of your spiritual wants; that which supports, and nourishes, and strengthens the soul; the doctrines of the gospel, that are to a weak and guilty soul what needful food is to the weary and decaying body.
To everlasting life - The strength derived from the doctrines of the gospel is not exhausted. It endures without wasting away. It nourishes the soul to everlasting life. “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint,” Isaiah 40:31.
Him hath God the Father sealed - To seal is to confirm or approve as ours. This is done when we set our seal to a compact, or deed, or testament, by which we ratify it as our act. So God the Father, by the miracles which had been performed by Jesus, had shown that he had sent him, that he approved his doctrines, and ratified his works. The miracles were to his doctrine what a seal is to a written instrument. See the notes at John 3:33.
“We are labourers together with God” (1 Corinthians 3:9). Christ engaged in the great work for which He lived and died. We are to be instant in season and out of season. And why? “For ye are bought with a price,” and have enlisted under the banner of Prince Emmanuel. We are enlisted for labor, “not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life” (John 6:27). We are to work out our own salvation with fear and with trembling. We are not our own. We are bought with a price, to glorify God with our bodies and spirits, which are His. A work is to be done. There is a faithful work to do in His vineyard. And to every man is given his work. If we are privileged with the bread of life, we must work in the Lord's vineyard. A charge comes to us to deny ourselves and take up the cross and follow Christ. We are to run the race set before us with persevering earnestness. This oft requires energetic movements. We cannot be idlers. We are urged, “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life.” ... UL 217.3Read in context »
“God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.” “He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.” 2 Corinthians 9:8, 6. MB 112.1
The prayer for daily bread includes not only food to sustain the body, but that spiritual bread which will nourish the soul unto life everlasting. Jesus bids us, “Labor not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life.” John 6:27. He says, “I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever.” Verse 51. Our Saviour is the bread of life, and it is by beholding His love, by receiving it into the soul, that we feed upon the bread which came down from heaven. MB 112.2
We receive Christ through His word, and the Holy Spirit is given to open the word of God to our understanding, and bring home its truths to our hearts. We are to pray day by day that as we read His word, God will send His Spirit to reveal to us the truth that will strengthen our souls for the day's need. MB 112.3Read in context »
Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed. John 6:27. TMK 91.1
We cannot tell the ambitious man that he must cease to be ambitious if he would become a Christian. God places before him the highest objects of ambition—a spotless white robe, a crown studded with jewels, a scepter, a throne of glory, and honor that is as enduring as the throne of Jehovah. All the elements of character which help to make him successful and honored in the world—the irrepressible desire for some greater good, the indomitable will, the strenuous exertion, the untiring perseverance—are not to be crushed out. These are to remain, and through the grace of God received into the heart to be turned into another channel. These valuable traits of character may be exercised on objects as much higher and nobler than worldly pursuits as the heavens are higher than the earth. TMK 91.2Read in context »
Principal and teachers need to be baptized with the Holy Spirit. The earnest prayer of contrite souls will be lodged by the throne, and God will answer these prayers in His own time if we cling to His arm by faith. Let self be merged in Christ, and Christ in God, and there will be such a display of His power as will melt and subdue hearts. Christ taught in a way altogether different from ordinary methods, and we are to be laborers together with Him. 6T 153.1
Teaching means much more than many suppose. It requires great skill to make the truth understood. For this reason every teacher should strive to have an increased knowledge of spiritual truth, but he cannot gain this knowledge while divorcing himself from the word of God. If he would have his powers and capabilities daily improved he must study; he must eat and digest the word, and work in Christ's lines. The soul that is nourished by the bread of life will have every faculty vitalized by the Spirit of God. This is the meat which endureth unto everlasting life. 6T 153.2
Teachers who will learn from the Great Teacher will realize the help of God as did Daniel and his fellows. They need to climb heavenward instead of remaining on the plain. Christian experience should be combined with all true education. “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 2:5. Teachers and students should study this representation and see if they are of that class who, through the abundant grace given, are obtaining the experience that every child of God must have before he can enter the higher grade. In all their instruction teachers should impart light from the throne of God; for education is a work the effect of which will be seen throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity. 6T 153.3Read in context »