Drawing out the sword
“Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent.” (John 6:29, emphasis mine)
I find that when an individual—in this case myself—has a far-reaching goal, something that I’ve striven for and bled, sweat, and cried for, action must be taken. Jesus, above in the sixth chapter of John talks about the simplest, least-common denominator for doing the work of God. It’s so easy to go through this life doing things, accomplishing tasks and even tearing down long-held paradigms of wrongness, replacing such with the right standard, the correct way of doing and/or looking at a concern—whatever it may be. But! And I don’t mean to set myself up as some holier-than-thou individual with a vantage point granted only to Christ Himself, but if the person doing all of this busywork (for lack of a better term) doesn’t start with belief—that thing to which Christ points in the heading verse—then that’s all the aforementioned activity ends up amounting to: busywork. Jesus seems to bookend the statement about belief-as-work with this, uh, averment (thank you, Thesaurus) in John 17 (verse 4):
“I have glorified Thee on the earth: I have finished the work which Thou gavest me to do.”
Later on in the nineteenth chapter (verse 30), Jesus drives the point home while on the cross with “It is finished”. It’s almost as if in the former chapter, chapter 17 (One of my favorite in all of the Bible), He declares to His father the finality to (and truth of) what He had been doing and then in chapter nineteen He gets to announce it to the world as He’s dying. I love how we as humans, citizens, denizens, get this window on what Jesus was doing while He was here in this world. A window, colored, of course, by Pastors and parents and participants in this grand story of God as we grow up and move through life. But we have to figure it out for ourselves (“work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Philippians 2:12b), so to speak. It starts with belief.
Squaring the circle
“That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with Him.” (Acts 10:37-38)
I love that. What did Jesus do with His life? He “went about doing good”. As we endeavor to follow Christ for ourselves (to “walk, even as He walked.” 1 John 2:6b) what does that look like for us? A person doesn’t have to be an outgoing, type-A personality. One doesn’t need to nurse a Messiah complex (don’t worry about that) and they don’t have to put their hand to the forehead of random strangers, casting out demons in the name Jesus drawing all sorts of weird attention to themselves in the process (unless you’re directed by and moved upon at the leading of the Holy Spirit—you’ll know it though). Those character traits and personality types and incidents don’t necessarily point to the reality of Revival or of “Thy Kingdom come.” (Matthew 6:10). Believe. Pray. Take your perceptions to God and do your best to love others in whatever way is comfortable for you. And I don’t meant the whole (step out of your) “comfort zone” thing. Walk in your body and tear down the old models of apathy and alienation and indifference at work in the world. This is hard work.