John 6:29 This is the work of God, that ye believe on him who he hath sent.
The icy stream of Plattekille Creek in the Catskills cuts deep pools into the rock with steep cliffs on either side — perfect for a daring leap. A group of friends and I stopped at one of these spots, and one after another my friends walked up to the edge, looked over, and jumped. I watched them step out into nothing, drop, splash into the pool, and then re-emerge laughing crazily from the adrenaline rush. It looked like a ton of fun!
I saw with my own eyes that it was safe and made up my mind to join the fun. I walked to the edge and looked down. It seemed so much higher! I stepped back, my heart racing. Once again, I stepped up to the edge, looked down, prepared to take that last step but couldn’t. I must have repeated this process five or six times. I never did take the leap.
Faith also requires a struggle or “work” as Jesus calls it in John 6:29. As if we’re taking that last step off an edge, we have to battle through doubt, thoughts of what we might be giving up, or fear that other people might despise us. When we finally take the irreversible step, faith has won.
In John 6, Jesus challenges a group of followers that the only way to eternal life is through accepting him as the Bread of Life sent from Heaven. The Bible says that many of His disciples left in dismay. “Will ye also go away?” Jesus asked the twelve apostles (John 6:67).
Peter’s response is exemplary: “Lord, to whom shall we go?…We believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the Living God” (John 6:68-69).
Peter had clearly completed the inner work of faith. His faith did not require him to fully understand Jesus’ provocative statement, the one that was tripping up a lot of disciples that day: “Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life” (John 6:54). But that’s the point. Faith didn’t have to understand it all.
We also cannot expect to understand it all before we simply believe in Jesus. And when we have done the “work of God” in believing, our commitment to Jesus can be as unquestioning as Peter’s.