Then they 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.” John 6:28-29
Jesus had just walked on the water (see John 6:16-24), and now he was in the synagogue responding to questions. To his audience, obtaining eternal life meant finding the right formula for performing works to please God. Jesus responded, not with a list of things they needed to do, but by directing them to the Gift of God that could only be obtained by faith in Him.
This verse is speaking primarily about salvation, which is obtained through faith in Jesus Christ and his atoning sacrifice for our sins, not through a list of things we must do to “earn” our way to Heaven. But for those of us who may have been Christians for a while, don’t we still do the same thing as the people in this passage? How many times have we wished God would just come right out and show us what we need to do? Instead, God wants us to focus on the Person of Christ, not on our own works.
As Jesus often does, he answers this question rather indirectly, pointing not to what man can do in his own power, but what only the power of God can do if we will simply trust and believe. We must focus not on what we can do for Jesus, but on getting to know him more intimately through His Word and through prayer.
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