The people saw that Jesus and his followers were not there now. So they got into the boats and went to Capernaum to find Jesus.
The people found Jesus on the other side of the lake. They asked him, “Teacher, when did you come here?”
He answered, “Why are you looking for me? Is it because you saw miraculous signs? The truth is, you are looking for me because you ate the bread and were satisfied. But earthly food spoils and ruins. So don’t work to get that kind of food. But work to get the food that stays good and gives you eternal life. The Son of Man will give you that food. He is the only one qualified by God the Father to give it to you.”
The people asked Jesus, “What does God want us to do?”
Jesus answered, “The work God wants you to do is this: to believe in the one he sent.”
So the people asked, “What miraculous sign will you do for us? If we can see you do a miracle, then we will believe you. What will you do? Our ancestors were given manna to eat in the desert. As the Scriptures say, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”
Jesus said, “I can assure you that Moses was not the one who gave your people bread from heaven. But my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. God’s bread is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
The people said, “Sir, from now on give us bread like that.”
Then Jesus said, “I am the bread that gives life. No one who comes to me will ever be hungry. No one who believes in me will ever be thirsty.”
John 24-35 ERV
There’s a popular joke circulating these days where the punch line is, “You had ONE job!” There’s even a website: youhadonejob.org. It shows a children’s book that says “Five bananas” – only the picture shows SIX bananas. You had one job! It shows a door that opens out of the second floor, with no stairs. You had one job! It shows a red crayon with “yellow” printed on its red wrapper. You had one job! Sometimes we mess up the simplest things.
And I know the feeling. At a Bible Study, a friend Susan asked me to pray for her husband. This was a great and fervent prayer. “Dear God, we ask your richest blessings on my friend Brad. I pray you will give Brad good fortune in his job search. I pray you will protect Brad and Susan as they go through this financial challenge. Draw them closer together, and strengthen their marriage.” It went on and on, as you might imagine. “Lord, I pray that Brad will feel your presence for all his days. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”
So Susan leans into me and I think she wants to hug, but she just wants to whisper. “His name is not Brad!” she said. “His name is STEVE!” I can imagine her thinking, “You had ONE job …”
We humans are so distracted, so scatterbrained. I’ll bet some of you have your own examples of a simple mistake that had a big impact. I’ve had pound cake made with salt instead of sugar. I’ve ended my day to discover I was wearing shoes from two different pairs. At my wedding, they gave me and my groomsmen the wrong tuxes and we didn’t know it. We were an odd looking wedding party. You had ONE job …
You might say that Jesus had ONE job. His job, simply put, is to forgive our sins so we can enter the Kingdom of God through faith in him. Fortunately, Jesus did his job; if it doesn’t work, it’s our fault, and not his. “God loved the world so much that He gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him would not be lost but would have eternal life.
We have a lot to do, but in a spiritual sense, we have ONE job. Our scripture today shows people who saw Jesus feed 5,000 with a few loaves and fish. They were so impressed, they tried to make him king. They did not see him walk on the water that night, but they did ask, “Teacher, when did you come here?” Jesus said they had come not because of the miracles, but because of the food. Jesus told them not to seek food for the body, but spiritual food. They wanted that spiritual food, which Jesus said only the Son of Man could give them. So they wanted to know, “What does God want us to do?” Jesus might have said, “Well, you have ONE job …”
“The work God wants you to do is this: to believe in the one he sent.”
In the original language, the people had asked about workS – plural – and Jesus told them about THE work – singular. To believe; that’s the job God wants us to do. If we can do more, that’s great, but if we don’t believe, then we might find Jesus saying, “You had ONE job …”
“What miraculous sign will you do for us?” they asked. “If we can see you do a miracle, then we will believe you.” It wasn’t enough that he fed 5,000 from one little boy’s lunch. Some of them had seen healings as well, even resurrections. And here they are asking for another sign. I guess they wanted to see the miracle up close, just to be sure that this was the Son of Man. Jesus reminded them that he had God’s seal of approval and that they shouldn’t need another sign. And when they asked, “Well, where’s the bread?” Jesus said, “God’s bread is the one who comes down from heaven. … I am the bread of life.”
A lot of people were offended because Jesus claimed to come down from heaven, when they knew full well who his parents were. It was a spiritual claim, not a physical one. Later that day, he said, “If you do not eat my flesh and drink my blood, you have no real life in you.” He told them flat-out it was symbolic, spiritual, not physical, but a lot of people got offended and left that day. They were so close. They had ONE job …
Now, believing is more than saying we believe. If we believe, then we take the whole package. We believe in taking up our cross and following him. We believe in loving one another, our neighbors, and our enemies. And if we believe it, we do it. We demonstrate it by our love for others, but it all starts with believing in the ONE whom God has sent. Remember, we have ONE job …
We humans get antsy, don’t we? We look for something else to do. We want to fix each other, teach other, lead each other, maybe even judge each other – and that goes double for people outside the church. But we are never told to do that!
The book of Romans gives us a lot to work with if we want to judge other people. Paul tells us, “The righteousness of God is revealed through faith for faith,” then God’s wrath is revealed against a long list of sins, and I guarantee every one of us is guilty of one or more things on the list. Then, Paul closes the list with this: “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.” (Romans 2:1)
We might think it says we can judge the sins we do not commit, but it doesn’t. It says that we can’t judge others because we are also guilty – of envy, malice, strife, gossip, boasting, or something else on the list. James said the same thing – that when we judge the law, we are not keeping the law. (James 4:11) “There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you – who are you to judge your neighbor?” (James 4:12)
And, of course, even Jesus says, in the sermon on the mount: “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” That is not our job. Vengence is not our job; that belongs to God: “Vengence is mine, I will repay, says the LORD.” We have one job: To believe in the one whom God has sent.
So when we testify to others, I suggest we don’t get into squabbles over the details. We’re all sinners, and as James said, whoever What must others do to be saved? They have one job … Faith in Jesus Christ leads to so many other things, and they won’t happen without faith in Jesus Christ. It looks like God has a whole host of assignments for us, but it all starts with, rests on, depends on and stems from faith. We have one job … to believe in the one whom God has sent.
It would be great to cleanse the world of all sin and unrighteousness. Unfortunately, none of us is qualified to do that. “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:8) Only Jesus can take away our sin: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) So vengeance is God’s job, and forgiveness and purifying are Jesus’ job. What’s our job? I think we’ve covered that. We have one job: “The work God wants you to do is this: To believe in the one He has sent.”
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, may we do the work that God wants us to do. Amen.