God is at Work

Scripture: John 5:17, ‘Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working.”


Observations: The Jews persecuted Jesus because he healed a man on the Sabbath, but Jesus responds, ‘My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working.’ Jesus uses the present tense of the verb ‘to work’ implying that God is working even on the Sabbath. Just as God always works so Jesus always works. What work is Jesus suggesting that God is doing? The Bible talks about God doing the work of creation, but he completed that in six days and then rested. However, God didn’t stop work after that as deists believe. Jesus talks about God sending rain on both the righteous and the unrighteous (Mt 5:45, see also Act 14:17). God shows his loving care for humanity even on the Sabbath. Jesus consistently teaches that it is right to show love even on the Sabbath (Mt 12:12; Lk 13:16; 14:5; Jn 7:23). But more than that God has been constantly working to redeem humanity by sending the Messiah. The NIV adds the words ‘to this very day’ implying that Jesus may be suggesting that God is at work through Jesus. If that is the case the Jews are actually complaining that God is working on the Sabbath. Because Jesus is God the Sabbath laws don’t apply to him anyway, because as he says elsewhere he is Lord of the Sabbath (Mk 2:28).


Application: We believe that God is at work in this world and in our lives. Often we don’t see God at work, or we don’t understand what it is that he is doing, but God is actively caring for us and busily working to bring his kingdom to completion. And just like God sent Jesus to complete the work of salvation, so Jesus sends us to continue that work. As we do our daily work we are also working for the Lord (Col 3:23). In what way are you working for God? How can you be more conscious of the fact that ultimately you are serving Jesus today?


Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, as I go about my tasks today, may I be aware that I am serving You. Lord, these things that I do aren’t just what I do, rather help me do them for Your glory. And if You have a special task for me to do today, help me see clearly what I need to do and help me obey immediately trusting You with the outcome. Lord, use me to build Your kingdom, whether that’s in the ordinary tasks of my day, or encouraging Your people, or sharing the gospel with those who are far from You. Lord, may I see You at work in and through my life. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

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