Wednesday of the Week of Lent IV
Today’s readings: Jeremiah 18:1-11; Romans 8:1-11; John 6:27-40
“Then they said to Him, ‘What must we do to be doing the works of God?’ Jesus answered them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent…for this is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him should have eternal life; and I will raise him up on the last day’” (John 6:28-29, 40).
The problem with humanity, from the very beginning, is our desire to save ourselves! Adam and Eve in the Garden ate of the tree, thinking they would be like God, in control, gods themselves. The Church in Martin Luther’s time gave people the chance to save themselves by making a contribution, doing good deeds, praying to religious artifacts, no repentance and change of life necessary. We continue to see Christianity corrupted today by preachers who proclaim, “You are saved by grace through faith in Jesus—if only you will do thus and so!” You have to really listen to hear the “catch’—but there is often a catch that makes salvation, God’s grace in Jesus, dependent upon you and your actions. It’s so tempting—thinking we have guaranteed our salvation because we’ve fulfilled the requirements!
The disciples, always well-intentioned, also wanted to know, “What must we do to please God?” The rabbis taught 613 rules one may fulfill to know one is righteous before God. Surely Jesus had a “take” on this as well!
Maybe they were disappointed when Jesus said simply, “This is the required work of God—that you believe in Him whom He has sent—that you believe in Jesus, and so will be raised on the last day! Although God has expectations for His children that help life to go well for us, as we discussed earlier, salvation, eternal life is through belief, faith in Christ alone!
Prayer: Lord Jesus, I believe in you—and trust that you will raise me on the last day! Amen.
Lenten Response: Read Genesis 3, the account of Adam and Eve.
Today’s devotion was written by the Rev. Dr. David M. Wendel, Assistant to the Bishop for Ministry and Ecumenism.
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