Read: John 6:1-59
Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one He has sent.” John 6:28-29
To say our passage today had some dramatic elements would be a massive understatement. We start out with Jesus feeding (and by feeding I mean the bottomless bowl of breadsticks can’t even come close – this crowd had so much they couldn’t even eat it all) – 5000 people with 5 small barley loaves and 2 fish. That’s a miracle.
But it doesn’t end there – we then read about the disciples’ middle of the night boat trip being interrupted by Jesus walking out to them on the water. They were terrified until Jesus reassured them it was Him, no need to be afraid. How does that happen?
These were dramatic events for sure. No one walked away unchanged. Both of these events further revealed not only Jesus’ identity, but also the compassionate love of the One who sent Him. In the Feeding of the 5,000 and in walking on the water, we see that our God is the God of the impossible. He provides even when we don’t have the resources, even when it’s never been done before, even when it defies natural law.
In verse 6 we’re told that Jesus tested Phillip in asking him where they were going to get bread to feed all these people. We might think that Phillip had seen enough to give a different answer, that he might have had faith that Jesus would make a way. After all, he had just witnessed Jesus turning water into wine at a wedding party. But hasn’t God tested me in the same way so many times and so many times I’ve responded just like Phillip. Instead of recognizing the Jesus I know, the Jesus who performs miracles, I look at the problem in front of me and forget that I belong to the God of the impossible.
In our focus verse the people asked Jesus a question that even today, so many of us as His followers still ask: “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus’ reply is so simple: “The work of God is this: to believe in the one He has sent.” It’s about recognizing the identity of Jesus and trusting in the compassionate love of our Father. It was about that for Phillip, it’s about that for me, and it’s about that for you too.
A commentary I read say’s, “Jesus’ work is to reveal the Father, and our work is to receive that revelation and align our lives with it.” Before anything else, any great or small works of love, or compassion, or evangelism, or discipleship, or justice – God requires that we believe in the One He has sent. That’s where we begin. And when we truly recognize the identity of Jesus – when we believe in Him – we want to align our lives to that truth. To The Truth. That the world might recognize Him in us. Let’s get to work! : )
Lord Jesus, thank You that You are the God of the impossible! Please forgive me for forgetting that so often. I pray that as I believe in You, my life would resemble Yours more and more and that others would recognize You in me. Even more importantly I pray that You would recognize You in me! I love you Lord – it’s in Your name that I pray, amen.