“How can this be?” Nicodemus asked. John 3:9
We have all lived through learning something that shook us. Something that we believed and thought was true was disproven or we were told it was wrong. For many of us that is the scary times in our lives, for others it’s the greatest moment of our lives. Many times these things are new discoveries or miracles in our minds. Now put yourself back 2000 years ago.
I know that most of the people that read the words that I have written are Christian. Many of you are probably very strong in your faith and no one can shake your faith. You could listen to Mormons for weeks and not be shaken or question your faith what so ever. God has blessed you with the foundation that he calls us to have, one built upon rock.
Now 2000 years ago, let us see ourselves as Jews instead of Christians. We have been told that a Messiah would come and save us. And just like today I’m sure that many of us see the world as being so bad that it has to come soon because it can’t get much worse. So we hope, but we see our world as we do and realize that there is nothing we can do about it, just as we could do nothing about the Romans that conquered us.
We go to synagogue and we pray, we keep our laws the best we can. Many of us are hoping that the Messiah will come soon to rescue us from the rule of Rome. We’re good Jews though and hold to our covenant the best we can. We want to be free from the rule of Rome so bad, but we know that it would take God himself to free us from Rome.
We have made up our minds in our fantasies of who and what this Messiah will be. We know that the Messiah will be something beyond belief. God in the flesh, wow. His beard must be perfect and take no grooming. A Jew’s Jew.
So we hear stories and rumors about this man down at the river talking about the Messiah coming soon. We want to believe, but we’ve heard his kind before. They are the crazy ones that yell on the corners holding signs. They are all crazy, he doesn’t even wash his hands properly, he can’t be Jew, let alone someone that God has given sight to.
A little more time goes buy and this carpenter’s son starts teaching that the Law is wrong. Even more that he is the Son of God in the flesh. This is not a Jew’s Jew, he’s no Messiah. That’s what your friends say. He is teaching all the wrong things, and he’s not here to free us from Rome. He is not what you pictured the Messiah as, he can’t be him.
Would we really believe the story unfolding before us? Would we believe that Jesus was really the son of God? That would be like us today believing the story of John Smith. He is adding to the bible, and the bible says that you cannot do that. We can read so many other Christian books to add to our faith as long as they are not adding to the Bible itself we are OK.
What do you think writings like these are doing? Building upon the word of God, but I’m not saying that this is the Book of Joe, stick it in there between 3 John and Jude. But let us go back to Jesus. He was an amazing man, we saw him do miracles, we try to corner him with biblical teachings and he knows the word better than most of us do. But he’s a carpenters son, this can’t be the Messiah.
How hard would it be for us to believe? Each society had their own beliefs and today is no different. Christianity is the largest religion in the world, but yet there are so many people that still do not believe. I want you to think about how hard it would be to believe when you are raised told that those Christians are crazy, they believe in things that Science cannot prove.
I mean let us be honest here, what is your opinion on the sacrifices that Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses make? Is it crazy that the watchtower denies their followers birthdays? Mormonism’s diet is very strict. We as Christians, what do we think of these sacrifices? They aren’t godly because our bible doesn’t say to do these things.
Let me tell you a secret, the same book that we use to guide our belief is the same book that the Jehovah’s Witnesses use to prove their way of life. It is all about interpretation of God’s Word. Am I saying that they are right? No, I can’t believe in that. I cannot believe that only 144,000 people will be allowed into heaven and be with God. How do I view their personal sacrifices? I think that it is impressive that they believe strong enough to deny themselves of things like that. I am also glad that I am not called to sacrifice in that way.
Going back two thousand years ago, how hard do you think it was for Nicodemus to go seek out Jesus? How hard do you think it was for him to believe Jesus? God opened his heart and lead him to believe, but I don’t think it was that night that it all sunk in, because if that was true I doubt he would have asked some of the questions he had asked later in the gospel. When our world is shaken to the foundation, it is hard for us to grasp onto everything.
These world changes can happen and they happen every day. Every atheist that sees that God is real, it happens. Every time a Pagan realizes that the Gods they serve are not truly Gods, it happens. Every time a Satanists realizes that Satan is not God, it happens. Every time a non-believer is added to the fold, it happens.
The more solid our foundation in what we are believing now the harder it is to turn from it. If you want to imagine what it was like for Nicodemus, just think about what if the Mormons are right for a moment. That’s all you need to do to put yourself in Nicodemus’ shoes. Now come back to what you believe God is God and Jesus is Jesus. For Nicodemus to believe Jesus, it took something in his heart. He believed.
Now there are new discoveries nearly every day, but we can handle new understanding and knowledge when we know that we don’t know what’s there. It is when we believe we know what is real, that is when it is hard. It is not hard for us to believe in finding another planet in space that is similar to earth. It’s not hard to believe in discovery of a new star, but you downgrade Pluto from a planet to a lesser classification and that’s hard to believe.
What would happen to your faith if another sentient life form was discovered on many of the near earth planets out there? Would you doubt God’s word? You shouldn’t, nowhere in the bible does it say that he didn’t create man on more than one world. Man might look a bit different somewhere else, but it doesn’t matter, it’s not a faith thing.
So why talk about this? There are millions of people out there that know what they believe just as strongly as we know and believe in Christ. How do you reach them? You can’t only God can. Do you hate child that does not know things? No we teach them. Sometimes all we are called to do is cast a few seeds in the direction of the lost. Live by example and tell them why you believe. Look for opportunities to get to know people and have relationships with them.
You have to invest yourself into people’s lives a bit. Love first, let God be God. You realize that you do not have to tell someone that they are a sinner or damned to fulfill God’s commandments? You can love people as you would desire to be loved without mentioning God. It is when they ask how or why that you can let them know the how or why. That how or why, we all know, is God. Love first, let God be God. Cast the seed and let God water it.
“Faith is not belief without proof, but trust without reservation.” D. Elton Truebloodby