Verse 27. "labour not for the meat" - That is, for that only, but also for the bread, &c. 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, &c." - He who labours not, in the work of his salvation, is never likely to enter into the kingdom of God. Though our labour 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, chap. vi. 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 lHebel 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, Heb. vii. 26-28; Ephesians v. 27; 2 Pet. iii. 14; and especially