I’m reading through John this week. Not sure why… I felt a little Holy Spirit nudge so I’m going along with it.
I have found something I wasn’t even looking for. I believe I may have found the most confusing verse EVER for people with eating disorders:
“Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of man will give you. On him God the father has placed his seal of approval.” -John 6:27
An anorexic brain may filter this verse to say, “God approves of you not eating.” And add a little footnote or commentary: “Refusing food will make you more spiritual.”
Obviously, the eating disordered interpretation of this verse is sorely wrong. Jesus’ words here are a response to the crowd following him the day after he miraculously fed all 5,000+ of them with 5 small loaves of bread and 2 little fishies. Upon further reflection and a little help from WIlliam Barclay‘s commentary (thanks to my very Scottish grandmother for giving me a set of Barlcay commentaries!) I gained a little more insight.
This crowd came looking for Jesus because they wanted more bread. Jesus sees right through them. The crowd of people missed the point of Jesus’ miracle entirely! Jesus does far more than give bread for the belly. These people saw God work miraculously, and all they seem to care about is their physical hunger. They saw GOD HIMSELF and all they want now is a snack. Come ON. Jesus’ words in verse 27 don’t show God’s approval of anorexic starvation… instead He is pointing to the truth that He is the only one who can satisfy our spiritual hunger. Bread and fish will never satisfy our longing for truth, for love, for life, for guidance, for belonging. Only Jesus can satisfy those needs!