I’m not brave. I never have been. I have to be coaxed into doing new things, and the place I like best is my bedroom, because I’ve always felt safe there.
Recently, I’ve had to be really brave–or at least, what constitutes as brave for me. I applied for college, and got accepted. In less than a year, I’m leaving home. I’m going to be away from my family and the friends I’ve had since childhood.
Matthew 1: 18-25
Joseph Accepts Jesus as His Son
18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about[d]: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet[e] did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,[f] because he will save his people from their sins.”
22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”[g] (which means “God with us”).
24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.
A lot more people would believe in Jesus if not for the resurrection. I know it would be easier for me: There was a good, moral man who taught how to live a good, moral life, but he was tragically murdered by those evil Romans. That’s easy to believe. Read a history book–there are loads of people like that.
It’s the resurrection that is the hang-up, because it requires faith. It’s simple to believe that a long time ago, there were thirteen good people and they walked around, teaching other people. But the resurrection means that people have to believe Jesus is the Son of God, and that He has power over death.
That’s not as easy. It requires belief, without eyewitness accounts and YouTube videos and newscasts and all the other things we use as proof. We can’t talk to someone who personally heard Jesus speak. We can’t call up Thomas, who put his hands in the holes from the nails and ask him if it’s true.
We have to trust. We have to live by faith, not by sight.
John 20:29: “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
That’s difficult. I’m not going to deny that, because I’ve struggled with it for ages. I like seeing things on the news. It provides a nice cushy bubble: “Of course this happened! Bret Baier talked about it in the Special Report!”
(That does allow me to put in a nice Twain quote: “If you don’t read the newspaper, you’re uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you’re misinformed.”)
Anyway. I would like it if Jesus would come down and say, “Congratulations! You’ve made the right choice. Look at Me; I’m real!”
But it’s not called faith because we have a video of Jesus. It’s faith because, as the Google definition said, we have a “strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.”
We can’t point to someone and say, “Yep, that’s Jesus. He’s our guy, look, He’s real!”
He works through the heart. Your heart. My heart. It’s a personal relationship, not a mass-produced newscast.
Faith. Not sight. And as much as I get frustrated by that at times, I don’t think I would like it as much if it was the other way around. For one, (and I’m paraphrasing Josh Harris here) if God came down and did something really cool, like turning David Silverman (the president of the American Atheists) into an elephant, it wouldn’t fit with who God is. Turning Mr. Silverman into an elephant doesn’t change people’s hearts. It might make them afraid of an vengeful God, but it wouldn’t turn their hearts to love Him. And God is a gentleman. He won’t force you to love Him. You will always be given a choice to believe in Him or not.
Believing the resurrection requires faith. It requires trust. Seeing someone being turned into an elephant doesn’t require faith or trust. It doesn’t change hearts and lives.
So when you think about it, living by faith instead of sight is a pretty darn good idea after all.
I was just getting ready to go to bed after another exciting night at youth group and my phone rings.
“Hey Ali, how do I know if I’m a Christian?” This question set me back on my heals a little. This girl had been in church since she was little. She had to know the drill Romans 10:9 Confess with your mouth that “Jesus Christ is Lord” and know in your hearth that God raised him from the dead and you will be saved. simple enough.