10 January 2009


Romans 5:1-2 [NIV]
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.

He just didn’t get it. No matter how well I explained it, he refused to believe this could be possible. I said it this way and that way; I offered lots of examples; I tried my hardest at creating a visual impression; all my efforts were in vain. He simply would not believe that it was possible. Then, one day, he saw with his own eyes. Finally, he conceded and said, “Well, wouldja look at that!” It is so hard for some people to grasp a new idea. Only when they see with their own eyes do they believe something is possible.

The New Testament Gospels tell us about boat rides Jesus and his disciples made to travel from town to town. On one of those trips, they left him behind, so He had to walk. He took a short cut across the sea, and caught up to them within a couple hours. A strong gale made boat travel difficult for these experienced fishermen. Even from shore, Jesus could see how they struggled with the oars to make forward progress.

When they saw Him, they were startled--they thought He was a ghost. “But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!”[MATTHEW 14:27 NLT] However, they were in doubt. Peter told Jesus to enable him to walk on the water with Him so he could be sure it was really Him, so Jesus called him to come. Peter got out of the boat and started walking. As long as he kept his eyes on Jesus, he stayed above the water. As soon as his eyes and thoughts turned to the water, he sank. As Jesus reached out and pulled him up, Jesus asked Peter, “Why do you doubt me?” Together, they got into the boat. “When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped. Then the disciples worshiped him. “You really are the Son of God!” they exclaimed.” [MATTHEW 14:32-33 NLT]. “Well, wouldja look at that!” By golly, I think they got it!

When Jesus and the disciples arrived at Gennesaret, word quickly got around that they were there. Crowds of people gathered around Him. Many brought their sick friends and relatives to Jesus for healing. Even though these people had never seen Jesus or heard Him speak, they believed in Him. They had so much faith in our Savior; they believed by simply touching His clothes, they would be healed. That speaks volumes!

I can’t help but wonder how Jesus must have felt. Considering everything He taught His disciples, all the miracles they witnessed—the healings, the feeding of thousands, the wine at the wedding, and so on—they still didn’t have the faith in Him like these folks that only heard of Him did, or the Centurion whose slave Jesus healed by speaking it to be. Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law from a raging fever right there in the house with them. These guys just didn’t get it. Why? “Their hearts were too hard to take it in.” [MARK 6:52 NLT].

Missouri is known as the “Show Me” state. I guess this implies the natives prefer to see for themselves before they believe. Faith isn’t based on seeing. “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” [HEBREWS 11:1 NLT]. Where does faith come from? “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.” [ROMANS 10:17 NIV]. Those that only heard about Jesus believed in Him while those that witnessed His miracles were hesitant.

Thank you, Father, for giving me a new heart—one that desires to be obedient to you, one that desires to do what pleases you, and one that has faith in you and your son, Jesus. Amen.

Hebrews 11:6 [NIV]
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

James 5:15 [NIV]
And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven.

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