But He answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working.”
Jesus made this bold statement to the Jewish leaders who were trying to indict Him for healing on the Sabbath. He had just told a disabled man at the pool of Bethesda to pick up his mat and walk. In doing so, the man was healed (5:1-9)! The Jewish leaders, however, weren’t pleased that Jesus did so and were persecuting Him for breaking the law (5:16).
Jesus’ response did two things. For one, it affirmed His relationship to God the Father. This, of course, only made the Jews all the more vehement to kill Him, because He considered Himself equal with God (5:18). Secondly, it affirmed that God is constantly at work—even on the Sabbath. Nothing is outside of His rule and reign and there is never a time when He isn’t at work. Jesus would go on to say that He was only doing what His Father in heaven was doing (5:19-20).
As we close the door on another year and begin a new one, we should ask ourselves if we find ourselves as Jesus did. When opposition comes, or the enemy seeks to thwart us, can we be found doing the work of our Father? Can we be found simply following His lead? This past year has had more than its fair share of opposition for most of us. At several points it might have been difficult to discern which way was best. For Jesus, the opposition didn’t prevent His obedience. But that was only possible because of His abiding with the Father. So too it is with us. Regardless of the threats or unexpected hurdles, our call is to be found following Jesus—constantly abiding in and with Him. This means wherever we are. In our unemployment and grief. In our loss and uncertainty. In our seasons of plenty and seasons of wanting. In our longing and in our waiting. Wherever we find ourselves at the close of 2020, God is still working, and He is still inviting us to work at His side.
- As you reflect on the past year, where can you look back and see evidence of God at work in and around you? How are you hoping to see Him work in the year ahead?
- How did you get to partner with Him in the kingdom? How are you hoping to partner with Him in the year ahead?
- Take some time simply to thank God for being your Father in the midst of such a chaotic and unexpected year. Thank Him for continuing to work, even when you couldn’t see it and even if you still can’t. Ask Him for the courage to follow His lead in the year ahead.