The next day the crowd that had stayed on the other side of the sea saw that there had been only one boat there. They also saw that Jesus had not got into the boat with his disciples, but that his disciples had gone away alone. Then some boats from Tiberias came near the place where they had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks. So when the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum looking for Jesus. When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” Jesus answered them, “Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal.” Then they said to him, “What must we do to perform the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”
In John 3:16, our Lord Jesus famously declares: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” In today’s passage, when the people ask him what they must do to perform the works of God, Jesus tells them: “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” The question for today is this: When Jesus tells us to believe in him, what exactly are we supposed to believe?
Well, for one, we need to believe that Jesus is the Son of God, who came down from heaven to pay the price for our sins. He did this by leading a sinless life as a human, and then dying as the perfect sacrifice. Then he rose from the dead ensuring eternal life for all those of us who repent and are baptized in the name of Jesus for the forgiveness of sins. And, finally, to ensure that we live in the fullness of the new life he has given us, he gave us the Holy Spirit. That’s the basic good news.
But that is not all we need to believe in. We also need to believe in the things that Jesus says. And this comes from listening to him, looking at things the way he does, and understanding his point of view. We have been reflecting a lot lately about how “weird” Jesus is in what he says and what he does, but this appears crazy to us because we are looking at things as people of earth, not people of heaven. If we are to understand things from a heavenly perspective, we need to listen to the only one who has come from heaven! And believe what he says!
And, thirdly, believing in Jesus means we believe that he is truly alive today and by our side. Consequently, it means that we can count on him to be involved in our lives, and present in every situation. When we believe this, we behave differently, we react and respond differently. Take this situation with the Coronavirus that is affecting us all. If we don’t believe Jesus is with us, we will worry and be fearful, but if we believe in Jesus, then we will be a lot more at peace because we know that he is by our side.
In order to believe in him, you need to get to know him, and you will only get to know him if you spend time reading the Bible in prayer. These reflections are intended to whet your appetite for the word, so that you will want to dig into it and discover the wonderful treasures that are contained in them. But if all you do is listen to these reflections, then you are never really going to get to know our Lord well enough to believe in him in the ways that we have reflected upon today.
And I think that would be a tragedy. So, please read the word. And you will believe in him.