Thursday, January 29, 2015

Do You Believe?

What does it take for you to believe?

There are a lot of stories in the Gospels about men declaring what they need to believe in Jesus. First, they come to Him somewhere in the middle of His ministry and tell Him if He would just show them a miracle, they would believe. But the truth is that the miracles are all He's shown them. He's already healed countless sick, given sight to countless blind, told paralyzed men to stand up and walk. What are these, if not miracles? Is one more going to make the difference? Does it take one more for you to believe?

There's a story in Luke 16 about a rich man and a man named Lazarus. Lazarus spends his life begging at the rich man's gate, covered in sores, and miserable; the rich man spends his life inside the gate, partying, and living the life of luxury. Both men die and Lazarus is rewarded while the rich man is sent into suffering. The rich man can see Lazarus and begs for him to be permitted to come and sooth the rich man's pain. The request is denied. The rich man begs again, "Then at least let him go back to my father's house. I have five brothers, and if a man comes back from the dead and warns them, they will believe." Again, the request is denied and Jesus declares, "If they won't listen to Moses' Teachings and the prophets, they won't listen even to a dead man." What about you? You have Moses' Teachings and the prophets. Do you really need a dead man?

And again, when Jesus is on the Cross, a group of witnesses gathers and begins to taunt Him. "He said He would tear down the temple and rebuild it in three days," they said. "But if He really is the Son of God, let Him take Himself down from the Cross." C'mon, Jesus. Climb on down. Show us You're tougher than nails, and we'll believe You. That's all it takes - one big, powerful moment. One earth-shattering feat of strength, and You've got us. We're Yours. And He doesn't do it. Did you need Him to? Are you waiting on one big, powerful moment?

We all have an idea what it takes for us to believe. We all think we know what it is that we need to experience from God to be able to put our faith in Him. But the truth is He could give us all we ask for, and we still would not believe. Indeed, that's all His people have ever done.

Those who had seen the miracles were asking for one more. And there is one more. Three days later, there's an empty tomb. 

Those who were looking for a dead man found Him. Jesus appeared to more than 500 people after His resurrection. He came back from the dead and walked the very streets they walked. 

Those who asked for one big, powerful moment - one moment where Jesus was tougher than nails - got it. At the moment Jesus gave up His spirit and died, the earth shook, the curtain tore, and the ground opened up for the dead to walk out (which means those who were waiting for a dead man got even more than they bargained for). 

See, Jesus has given these doubters the very things they thought they needed to believe. He does the same for you and me. Whatever it is you think is the missing piece, it's already out there. It's somewhere in the story of Jesus. He's given you the very thing you've asked for. The question is: is it enough? You have what you thought it takes. You have one more miracle. You have a dead man come back to life. You have one big, powerful moment. 

Do you believe?

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