Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.” (John 6:29) NLT
Tis the season of carols and countdowns, baking and blinking lights, ornaments and online orders (signed, sealed, delivered – it’s yours!). Somehow, two of the biggest hallmarks of the holidays have become excess and overspending.
Not gonna lie, Christmas is probably my favorite time of year, other than my birthday. For me, it’s not any one thing, but a combination of everything – traditions, family, anticipation. But what am I eagerly awaiting? Sometimes I feel like those moochers in John 6:28-30, who said: “We want to perform God’s works, too. What should we do?” Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.” They answered, “Show us a miraculous sign if you want us to believe in you. What can you do?”
Show us a sign?! Mind you this encounter took place a day after Jesus fed 5,000 men (plus women and children) with only two small fish and five loaves of bread. Literally, the next day… “What can you do?” These people didn’t want to do more but get more! It was all about handouts and high-fives. And don’t we sometimes behave the same? Yes, until life throws us for a loop. Then we go to God, complaining. Confidence turns to questioning, following becomes floundering: “God, if you love me so much… if you have unlimited power…Why?” We doubt, we question, we always want more. Even when all is well, we continue seeking the next great gift, forgetting what we’ve already received through Emmanuel: the breath of life, abundant life, eternal life! We have Jesus, with us, in us and for us. Why isn’t that enough?
David Guzik’s commentary puts it like this, “Often we can learn more from understanding the reason we ask God a question than from the answer to the question itself.” The crowd wasn’t interested in “God’s work” or obedience. What they really wanted to know was how to get their own way; their question was more about human desire than spiritual hunger. They missed the fact that God’s work begins and ends with Jesus. Apart from Him, we can do nothing; with Him, there’s nothing we can’t do! When “What else?” is in your heart, ask a deeper question. Belief is the one work from which all else flows.
Friend, if you’re caught in a place of questioning God this Christmas, you’re in good company. Even Jesus cried out from the cross, “Why have You forsaken Me?” Just as His question had an answer, so does yours. We may be tainted by tragedy but, in Christ, we’re more than conquerors. We may be black sheep of bad choices, but by the Good Shepherd, we’re wrapped in righteousness. Sought, sealed, delivered, we’re His! And miracles continue today, maybe not in the form of a little boy’s lunch, but Jesus still supplies our needs in most unusual ways: time is stretched to accomplish insurmountable tasks, love is multiplied to heal hurts, filling voids, hearts are broken to receive and distribute inconceivable forgiveness. Seeing isn’t always believing, but by the Spirit’s unveiling, belief brings sight.
In this season of celebrating The Savior’s wondrous birth – and every season in between – may we only seek more of Jesus!