The Jewish faith had a strong tradition steeped in works. From the Ten Commandments to the legal requirements in Leviticus to the laws they had created, work was the foundation of their faith. Works after all are measurable and comparable. The greater my works, the more spiritual I am. For those of us who are competitive, this is a great system.
So it was only natural that when Jesus came upon the scene, the inquiry was made: “Jesus, I see you doing all these great things, healing the sick, feeding multitudes, speaking in the synagogue, what “works” must I do to get in on this?” I’m sure they stood there with slate and chisel ready to list the many requirements needed. Read the Torah one hour a day. Attend synagogue regularly. Pray at specific times every day. Give to the poor. Tithe.
We are not much different today. We still want to know what works must I perform to be closer to God? What “works” must I do to be a better Christian, to walk in more power? We stand now with smartphones ready to take notes. Spend quiet time with the Lord. Attend church regularly. Pray in the Spirit. Give to the poor. Tithe. While all of these things are encouraged, they are not the means to salvation and greater works in Christ, they are the by-product.
Jesus is saying to us what he said to those earnest Jewish seekers 2000 years ago – “The only works is to believe in Me.”
I am a “Type A, take charge, roll up your sleeves, let’s get to work” girl. I like the lists. I like checking things off the list. And if I’m being completely honest, the works sometimes become my identity. But God has brought me to a place of rest. A place where my lists are short. In this time of rest He is reminding me, it was never about the work. He loves me for me. He is enthralled with my beauty and I don’t have to work to earn it. I don’t have to check things off of my list to be loved, to walk in power, to be accepted. I am His beautiful masterpiece! My work is simply to believe in Him.
Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” (John 6:28-29 NKJV)