Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
In John 6 a crowd, finding Jesus, ask him when he arrived in the place they were looking for him. Yes, that’s a strange question to ask. After all, they were looking for Jesus. Looking right through their pretense, which is to care about Jesus in order to get him to make food for them, Jesus tells them to work for some sort of eternal food (v. 27).
What are the works of God? This is a common question. We all seem to have the idea that it is by our works that we will earn God’s favor. Many times, especially in hospitals and speaking with people who think they are dying, I have had this conversation. The troubled person wants to know about confidence in God. He or she always says something like, “I have tried to be a good person. I hope I’m safe.” In effect, the question is, “Have I done the works of God? Have I found that eternal food?”
My answer in those cases is also predictable. “You haven’t worked the works of God well enough to redeem yourself. The good news is that Jesus has done what you could never do. He is the one who has kept God’s will perfectly and who is able to give you the credit for that obedience.” This is what Jesus means by doing the works of God. After all, in verse 29 he says that the work of God is to believe on God the Son.
Jesus tells his followers (who here may seem more like his mob of chasers) that he has taken care of the obedience, they need to trust his obedience rather than their own.
Does this mean that it doesn’t matter how we live? It doesn’t mean that at all. God has revealed his character in Scripture. He tells us what he values and what he hates. We don’t do the works that God hates. But we realize that it is not our obedience or failure which creates eternity for us. It is Jesus’ obedience and our trust in what Jesus has done.
This is truly food for eternal life. It will never pass away. Jesus has done all we need to enter into eternity without fear. We simply trust that he has done exactly what he promised and that it will be effective. This is doing the work of God. This is the food to eternal life.
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