STRUGGLING FOR THE Way
“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." So they asked him, "What miraculous sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? "
‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house . . .” We all know that famous poem. But did you ever stop to think what the world was like the night before the first Christmas? Did you ever consider the hopelessness of a world full of people who knew they were lost but had no idea how to be saved? There was nothing to fill their emptiness. No way to find satisfaction. There was no way to be at peace.
“What must we do,” they asked? Isn't that always the question? Everyone seems to know that they have some kind of problem with God - that is the commonality in religions - but nobody seems to know what to do about it. So they continue to struggle with their questions: How can I make up for who I am? How can I atone for what I’ve done? What can I give to offset my failures and shortcomings? Man is always trying to deal with sin through effort and sacrifice. Men are always trying to earn God’s favor. But none are finding success.
In this brief passage Jesus gives them the answer. Jesus gives them God's answer. It is really pretty simple, it doesn't require a lot of effort and it doesn't involve any sacrifice at all. Jesus said: "Believe." And He focused faith, not in actions, but in a person. "Believe in the one God has sent." Believe that He came to save sinners. Believe that He has done what is necessary to provide forgiveness and reconciliation. Believe that He rose from the dead and lives to speak for you. Believe that He is your Righteousness, your Hope, your Peace, and your Provision.
But the people didn't want such a simple answer. "Believe?" ridiculous! They wanted a sign. They wanted a miracle! "What miraculous sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you?” You know what? Jesus IS the sign. The greatest miracle possible stood right before them. Centuries before, the prophet Isaiah had proclaimed: “The Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel [God with us].” And the Angel of the Lord affirmed that this prophecy was fulfilled in the birth of Jesus (Matt. 1:20-23). This was the "Word become flesh" who was dwelling among them (Jn. 1:1). This was God the Son who willingly set His glory aside in order to take the nature of a servant, to live in obedience, and to die on a cross (Php. 2:6-8). This was the kindness and love of God, come in the flesh to rescue the lost and dying and to give them hope and light and life (Titus 3:-5).
What must we do? Believe it! Believe HIM!
--- Pastor Keith Andrews