Jesus said, “Believe the works,” to people who didn’t believe in him. Oftentimes, for people to believe that we are for real, we need to show them some love and service so that they see our faith in action. If they believe the works, they’ll consider the source: Jesus!
36 “Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’? 37 Do not believe me unless I do the works of my Father. 38 But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.” 39 Again they tried to seize him, but he escaped their grasp.
Jesus was accused of (and was crucified for) blasphemy. He claimed to be Messiah. And still, although he could have vaporized those in opposition, he was merciful and patient with them. He said, “If you don’t believe me, judge my works and believe what I do…”
I am amazed that Jesus tolerated more questioning and persecution than most leaders would ever tolerate. The Good Shepherd, as he calls himself in John 10, knows a fair bit about human nature. After all, he is the one who created us and sustains us.
The same strengths which make us excel at research and discovery and argument and logic are the traits which can come across as unbelieving and skeptical. And the strength of will which we use to persevere and face adversity can emerge as self-centredness and self-importance which fails to recognize something bigger than ourselves.
God knows us. He made us.
And so to those who have a hard time believing in his claims and the theology of it all, Jesus gets really practical. If you don’t believe me, believe my works. And if you recognize that my works come from God, then believe me based on my works and recognize that I am one with God…
Hmmm… we could use a dose of this in the church today, couldn’t we? The world is getting a bit sick and tired of the words and the theology and (because there are a lot of wingnut judges out there) the judgment, and they are wondering where the love is.
Where are the works of God from the church to the world?
They are actually there, yet they don’t get the publicity that ‘God hates <insert sinner here>’ gets. Helping families with children with disabilities and helping to feed the homeless just doesn’t get the Facebook posts that the hatred gets.
And so we’ll just have to show more love to drown out the hate.
Hopefully our neighbours will see us serving them and believe in the God who motivates us. Because we are one with God through Christ. We’ll show the works, they’ll believe the works, and then they’ll believe the Lord. That’s how it works…