What does it take for us to believe in Jesus?
Do we need Jesus to show us something spectacular to believe?
Do we need a Jesus to provide for a very specific need?
Do we need Him to heal us or a loved one?
Do we need Him to change our circumstances?
Or even take us out of a challenging situation and put us in the job, marriage, family of our dreams?
Do we need Him to appear in person and allow us to shake His nail-pierced hand?
Do we need a miracle?
What would it take for us to believe?
What do we want Jesus to prove?
Prove it, Jesus. Prove that you are the Son of God and then we’ll believe you. Prove that you can do the miraculous Jesus, then we’ll believe you. Prove that you love me and do what I ask, then I’ll believe you. Even if you’ve done things for me in the past, Jesus, you’ve got to do something now…in this present crisis and present need…then I’ll keep believing. I’ll trust you then Jesus…once you prove your love to me and do what I want.
Our doubts and lack of belief are no different than the crowds of people who had the opportunity to be with Jesus on earth over two thousand years ago. The crowds had just experienced the miraculous. Baskets of bread and fish had multiplied before their eyes from a boy’s simple offering of five small barley loaves and two small fish. Over five thousand people had been fed by Jesus and yet there were many who still did not believe Him to be the Messiah, the One sent by God.
They began to question Him.
The people 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 sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”
Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
“Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.”
Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. John 6: 28-38 NIV
The people saw Jesus. Yet many did not believe.
The people experienced a miracle. Yet many did not believe.
The people’s hunger was satisfied. Yet many did not believe.
The people were able to listen, hear, and even touch Jesus. Yet many still did not believe.
They wanted a sign. They wanted proof. They wanted manna to fall from the sky again.
What did Jesus say and do in response?
He said, “I am the Bread of Life. I am what you need every day of your life.”
We need to eat. We need the vitamins and nutrients of food to grow us, to sustain us, and to strengthen us. Our hunger, bodies and life are satisfied by the food we eat. Jesus understood that. Jesus was telling the crowd (and telling us too) that our spiritual hunger and spiritual life can be fully satisfied through having a personal relationship with Him. He offered Himself as the Bread of Life to grow us, to sustain us, and to strengthen us in our daily walk in life and with God.
People wanted the miraculous proof to believe. Jesus said, “Miracles do not prove anything.” They had seen them. They had lived them. Their stories and traditions were filled with signs and wonders, and still they doubted the love and concern of their God.
When they asked, yet again, what was needed to do God’s work, Jesus replied, “The work of God is to believe in the One He has sent.”
When they asked, yet again, for another miracle like bread from heaven, Jesus replied, “I
am the Bread of Life. I am the Bread from Heaven that you seek.”
Our work is to believe that Jesus is the Son of God, the Bread of Life, the One sent from Heaven. Our belief is based upon the faith, hope, love and trust we have in our relationship with Him each and every day. Our spiritual hunger and our spiritual life is nourished, satisfied and sustained by filling ourselves full with Christ, the Bread of Life.
Jesus does not have to prove anything to us. He already gave us the greatest proof of His love when He offered His life on our behalf on a cross over two thousand years ago.
To believe is ultimately up to us. To believe is to offer our hope, trust and love of Jesus, the Son God sent, to our Father. This is our work. To believe.