"The work of God is this: to believe in the one He has sent." (John 6:29)

Then they asked him, "What must we do to do the works God requires?" Jesus answered, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent." (John 6:28-29)

How is this 'the work of God'?

The translation* above focuses the question on "the work of God." Did Jesus really say that to "believe in the one He has sent" is the "work of God"?

This makes absolutely no sense rhetorically. "Work" relates to doing something - an activity. And "to believe" is a principle or feeling.

Yes, the Greek word ἔργον (ergon) can mean, "business, employment, that which anyone is occupied" according to the lexicon. But it can also mean "an act, deed, thing done."

In this case, the topic is what is being done to please the Supreme Being - not just a job or work that one does in exchange for compensation. Thus what is being discussed is not the work of the Supreme Being - the issue is about what is pleasing to God. Doing what pleases God.

That is what a person does when they love someone. They don't do "work." They find out what is pleasing to the one they love, and they do that.

In other words, Jesus' followers are asking what pleases God, and Jesus is telling them what pleases God. Therefore, an action of the body or an act of the heart may fulfill this question, because both are a "thing that is done."

Why is believing this so important?

Here Jesus is answering a question that arose from his students. From Jesus’ statement, we know there are two distinct individuals being discussed – the Supreme Being and God's messenger ("the one He has sent"). In other words, there is a sender and the one being sent – two personalities.

Therefore, we can know clearly from Jesus' statement here that he is not and never claimed to be God. He was identifying himself as God's representative – God's messenger. To send someone means to dispatch a messenger.

So why is "believing" in God's messenger so important?

The word being translated* to "believing" is πιστεύω (pisteuō). This word means "have confidence" and "to entrust a thing to one" and "to be entrusted."

In other words, Jesus is not speaking of belief. Certainly, his students all believed in Jesus. Jesus is speaking of trust: Trusting

Why is this about trust?

Just consider what we currently trust. We might trust in our family, or our job, or our health. But none of these things can truly be trusted because none of them will last. Once our body dies, all of these things will disappear.

Trust in the sense that Jesus speaks goes further - it is putting one's life in the hands of the person we trust. It means to surrender oneself or give of oneself.

This lies at the very crux of spiritual life: The loving relationship between God and His loving servants. To trust the loving servant of God is to honor the one who is being served - the Supreme Being. It means to put oneself under the shelter of the Supreme Being.

Trust in what?

Furthermore, to "trust" in Jesus means to trust in his instructions, because those instructions are ultimately coming from the Supreme Being. And by trusting in the instructions of God's messenger, we can learn to enter the relationship of love that exists between the Supreme Being and His loving servant.

To enter into such a relationship of loving service with God is to satisfy the primary instruction of Jesus, Moses, and all other bonafide representatives of the Supreme Being:
“ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment.” (Matt. 22:37-38)

What is a loving relationship?

Within the loving relationship between the Supreme Being and His loving servant lies the intent and meaning of all the scriptures. Within this loving relationship lies the importance of Abraham, the instructions of Moses, the songs of David, the devotion of Solomon, and the focus of Isaiah. Within this loving relationship, we see the true essence of the spiritual world.

We see the intention of God as He works to bring us back. We see the rationale for all the suffering and pain upon the temporary physical bodies of the illusory material world. We see the reason for prayer; for songs of praise; for temples and offerings. We see the reason for beauty, kindness and compassion.

We see the reason we are away from God now. And finally, we see the essence of the relationship between Jesus and God, why Jesus can say "I and the Father are one," and the reason why Jesus sacrificed his physical body in God’s service.

All of this can be seen within the relationship that exists between God and His loving servant. The loving servant is the embodiment of this relationship, simply because the loving servant works to please God, and the desire to please God is the symptom of love for God – the first and foremost commandment.

This relationship is so important to God that even God Almighty treasures this relationship, and treasures the one who shares it with Him.

*Here is the translation of this verse according to the Lost Gospels of Jesus:

Therefore they asked him, “What must we do to please God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “What will please God is that you trust in the one He has sent.” (John 6:28-29)