Thursday after Misericordias Domini
Scripture: St. John 6:16-29 (NKJV)
6:16 Now when evening came, His disciples went down to the sea, 17 got into the boat, and went over the sea toward Capernaum. And it was already dark, and Jesus had not come to them. 18 Then the sea arose because a great wind was blowing. 19 So when they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near the boat; and they were afraid. 20 But He said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.” 21 Then they willingly received Him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land where they were going.
22 On the following day, when the people who were standing on the other side of the sea saw that there was no other boat there, except that one which His disciples had entered, and that Jesus had not entered the boat with His disciples, but His disciples had gone away alone—23 however, other boats came from Tiberias, near the place where they ate bread after the Lord had given thanks—24 when the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, nor His disciples, they also got into boats and came to Capernaum, seeking Jesus.
25 And when they found Him on the other side of the sea, they said to Him, “Rabbi, when did You come here?”
26 Jesus answered them and said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. 27 Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.”
28 Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?”
29 Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”
No matter how impossible the task—of how much it might appear that we are on our own—trusting in Christ will bring us what is ultimately in the best interest of extending forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation. When He tested His disciples, they still struggled with what He says in our reading concerning “working the works of God.” Our flesh still contends against our new man in hearing it, as well.
After the feeding of the 5000, the disciples head toward Capernaum, but Jesus is not in the boat. Instead, He walks to them amidst of a windstorm on the sea. John’s report magnifies God’s monergism—His unilateral work of coming to save us. They had gotten themselves into the middle of nowhere, their boat tossed by the rising sea as they futilely kept rowing. Then, God in the Flesh (Immanuel) appears walking on the roaring waves and they are afraid. He says not to fear, because He is Jesus (“He That Saves His People from Their Sins”). His Word causes them to believe, so they welcome Him into the boat…and are immediately at their destination (because He is their Destination, even as he is their Path there; even as he is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, eternal life consists of knowing Him and the Father).
“The works of God,” therefore, are not works that you seek to do, but the work that He does, sending the One in whom to believe and bringing you to faith in Him. All other works must flow from this, or they have no eternal value at all—and those works that flow from faith are also His, because we are His workmanship .
We pray: Thank You, O Lord, for giving us the honor of doing works that please You, solely through faith in Christ Jesus. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.