“When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, ‘Rabbi, when did you come here? Jesus answered them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of man will give to you; for on him has God the Father set his seal.’ Then they said to him, ‘what must we do, to be doing the works of God.’ Jesus answered them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.’ “ John 6:25-29
John chapter six is one of the greatest writings in the New Testament. It starts with the feeding of the five thousand, then leads into Jesus walking on the water and finishes with this amazing discourse on Jesus being the bread of life. After the feeding of the five thousand the multitudes cross over the Sea of Galilee to Capernaum to seek out Jesus. However, they don’t fool Jesus. He knows it is not for spiritual reasons they want to follow Him, but instead it is for material blessings.
Jesus calls them out saying, “you seek me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves.” He then teaches them what true blessings are all about. He tells them that the loaves of bread they want from God will perish, but Jesus is offering them a permanent bread that, not only doesn’t perish, but leads to eternal life. He of course is talking about himself as the bread of life, (v.35), but it goes right over their heads.
The people have a go at it again having missed Jesus point and they ask, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Here Jesus is offering them freedom from their sins and the gift of grace that leads to their salvation and they want to do something to earn God’s acceptance. It is one of the frustrating aspects regarding the modern church that we have learned so little from these New Testament stories. Many followers of Jesus are still trying to build their relationship with God on their good works. They just don’t seem to be able to wrap their heads around the idea that God paid the penalty for sin and has freed them from guilt and death by shouldering our sins while we become the recipients of His perfect character and salvation.
For those Christians that want to do something to earn merit with Jesus you will want to notice Jesus reply to those Jews who wanted to do something to do the works of God. Jesus states, “This is the work of God; that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” Our works, if we want to put it that way, is to believe in God and in the Son whom He sent to save us.
A person does not need to know scores of doctrines before he can know God, nor does he need our approval to become a Christian. In John 6 Jesus says, “No one can come to me unless the Father, who sent me draws them, and I will raise him up at the last day.” v. 44 It is the Father who, through the working of the Holy Spirit, touches our hearts and draws us towards accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior. And everyone who comes to Jesus is assured that, “All that the Father gives me will come to me; and him who comes to me I will not cast out.” John 6:37 In John 10:27, 28 Jesus assures His hearers, “My sheep know my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand.”
The people who are being drawn to Jesus through the grace of God know the words of Jesus are true, and it is through accepting Him that they have eternal life and no one can take that from them. It is the Holy Spirit that convicts us of sin, brings us to repentance and acceptance of God’s grace. We simply accept that grace and follow Jesus in the newness of life. Our commitment is to trust God and allow Him to transform us from our indifference to sons and daughters of the Kingdom of God.
Christianity is not about what you can get from God through your prayers or associating with the right people in the right church. To be a follower of Christ is to put yourself into God’s hands trusting that He will never drop you or let anyone snatch you out of those nail scared hands. Remember that we are not immune from life’s storms, but instead are promised that God walks through those storms with us and He never ever lets go of our hand.