“But Jesus responded to them, ‘My Father is still working, and I am working also’ … ‘I assure you: The Son is not able to do anything on His own, but only what He sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, the Son also does these things in the same way” ( John 5:17, 19, HCSB).
This somewhat cryptic response to the Jewish religious leaders was given by Jesus as a defense for healing a man on the Sabbath who had been sick for 38 years.
So why did Jesus answer their accusations in this way?
First, Jesus meant that God is always at work in this world, 365/24/7. God is perpetually at work in His created order!
God is omnificent. He has unlimited powers of creation. God sustains His creation by His creative power and energy. And, God is still at work in His creation.
Sometimes we think God is up in heaven watching over His creation like an unconcerned observer. Jesus affirms that is not the case, that God is an active participant in His creation.
And, Jesus claimed He was justified in healing the man on the Sabbath because He was doing God’s work and God is always at work irrespective of the time or day.
Jesus also claimed He was justified in healing the man on the Sabbath because of His divinity. Jesus said that the work He did was a cooperative effort with God the Father. As God the Son, He was not able to do anything that God the Father didn’t will. It was divine labor!
It’s just good theology on the part of Jesus. God is One and it is impossible for God the Son not to do the same thing as God the Father. The Son has to do what the Father wills because the Father and Son are One. (God’s “work” is synonymous with God’s “will.”)
And what is true for Jesus as the Son of Man would certainly be true for us. We are unable to accomplish God’s work unless it is a cooperative effort with God. We can’t do God’s work (or will) on our own. To do God’s work, we must do what God is doing.
The way we do this is like Henry Blackaby has taught us so well in Experiencing God: Look and see where God is at work and then join Him in His work.
Admittedly, it is sometimes hard for us to see what God is up to in our own little worlds. And, if the truth be known, we get so busy with all the work of our own worlds that we don’t really see where God is at work at all!
But, if we don’t know where God is at work, then how can we join Him in His work?
Just because we don’t see God at work doesn’t mean that He is not at work. Remember, God is omnificent! He is always doing His creative work! And God wants you and me to become His partner in doing His work.
It may be that we’re not looking hard enough (through prayer and Bible study) to see what God is doing. Or, it may be that we’re not seeing where God is at work because we’re too busy with our own work.
So you want to find out what God is up to?
Then get serious and committed about doing God’s work. Stop being so busy with your world. Look around and pray and then look around and pray some more until you find out what God is up to in your life and your world.
God is up to something with you! Discover what it is and join with Him in doing it!
“The one who does God’s will remains forever” (1 John 2:17, HCSB)