Reflections: Friday of Septuagesima

Daily Lectionary: Job 13:13-28; John 6:22-40

Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” (John 6:29)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. They followed Him for miles hoping to see another miracle. They tried to make Him their king after He fed them in mercy because they were so far from home. And we mistake His compassion for His desire to prove Himself to us. We mistake the miracles for the love that motivates them. We lose sight of eternity for daily bread. And the Lord rebukes us along with the crowds. 

Jesus says not to chase the miracles. Don’t try to earn them by your prayers or by your works. The crowd is eager, so Jesus answers. This is that work, that you believe in Him whom the Father has sent. I wonder if Jesus smirked as He made that point. We cannot by our own reason or strength believe. But the Holy Spirit calls us by the Gospel, enlightens us with His gifts, sanctifies, and keeps us in the true faith. 

The work that earns salvation is the work you don’t do. It’s not allowed to be on you. It’s the will of Him who sent the Son to save you, that none given to Him should be lost. So not only does He win Your salvation on the Cross, but by Word and Sacrament He delivers this salvation to you in a way that gives the faith you need. So He makes your work His own work and gives you credit for it. He makes His works yours in return. He fulfills the Law perfectly for you, dies and rises to atone for your sins, then gives you His good works by faith. Your believing in Him whom the Father has sent is the work of God. 

We don’t have to save ourselves, earn our salvation, or even choose to believe. The Father sent the Son, and the Father and the Son send the Holy Spirit. He preaches through your pastor, and He feeds you with the bread of life that is His Body and Blood. Your pastor holds it up and promises it brings the peace of the Lord that will be with you always. Eat it. Drink it. Believe, and rise with Jesus on the Last Day. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

My Lord, You here have led me To this most holy place And with Yourself have fed me The treasures of Your grace; For You have freely given What earth could never buy, The bread of life from heaven, That now I shall not die. (“O Living Bread from Heaven” LSB 642, st.2)

-Rev. Harrison Goodman is content executive for Higher Things.

Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane Bamsch

Discover new insights from each line of the Psalms in Engaging the Psalms: A Guide for Reflection and Prayer. Read, repeat, and return to the Lord as you walk through all 150 Psalms. Now available from Concordia Publishing House.