Every once in a while someone asks me why I believe what I believe and even more pointed is what it is that I believe. I think this scripture says it best. From the book of Mark chapter 9:19-24
He answered them, “You faithless generation, how much longer must I be among you? How much longer must I put up with you? Bring him to me.” And they brought the boy to him. When the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth. Jesus asked the father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. It has often cast him into the fire and into the water, to destroy him; but if you are able to do anything, have pity on us and help us.” Jesus said to him, “If you are able!—All things can be done for the one who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out,] “I believe; help my unbelief!” (KJV adds the word Lord so it reads ” Lord I believe!”
- It’s interesting that this passage really says it all. Especially with the word Lord added. We can do lots of things but we can do so much more with God’s leading.
- At the center of our faith is God, and when we put God first in our lives we then understand when Paul says “ I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”
Aldous Huxley, the great agnostic, was a member of a house party at a country house. Sunday came round and most of the members of the party prepared to got to church, but very naturally Huxley did not prepare to go. He approached a man known to have a simple and radiant face, and said to him “Suppose you don’t got to church. Suppose you stay at home and you tell me quite simply what your Christian faith means to you and why you are a Christian.” But said the man, “you could demolish all my arguments in an instant. I’m not clever enough to argue with you.” Huxley said quietly “I don’t want you to argue with me I just want you to tell me simply what Christ means to you.”
The man stayed and told Huxley very simply of his faith. When he finished there were tears in Huxley’s eyes “I would give my right hand,” Huxley said “if I could believe like that”
The late Dr. Harry Rimmer was once traveling in Egypt and while negotiating with the Secretary of State at the time, a refined and cultured Egyptian engaged him in conversation concerning religion and revelation.
“We believe that God has given to man, three revelations of Himself,” said Dr. Rimmer.
“We believe that too,” said the sec of state, a Muslim.
“We believe that God has revealed Himself in a book called the Bible,” says Rimmer.
“We Muslims believe that God has revealed Himself in a book called the Koran,” says the secretary of state.
Rimmer replies “We Christians believe that God has revealed Himself in a man and that man is Jesus Christ.”
“We too believe that God has revealed Himself in a man and that man is the prophet Muhammad,” claims the secretary.
“We believe that Jesus died to save His followers,” said Dr. Rimmer.
“And we believed that Muhammad died for his people,” was the Muslim’s reply.
“We believe,” said Dr. Rimmer, “that Jesus is able to substantiate his claims because he rose from the dead.”
The Egyptian hesitated and his eyes fell and finally replied “ We have no information concerning our prophet after his death.”
The Lord Jesus Christ is the only one who conquered death and triumphed over the grave. He is alive and able to save all who call upon His name in faith.
Many years ago there was a song called, “I Believe”, that sums up why we believe. Part of the words are below.
I believe for every drop of rain that falls, a flower grows
And I believe that somewhere in the darkest night a candle glows
I believe for everyone who goes astray
Someone will come to show the way
Yes I believe, oh I believe
I believe above the storm the smallest prayer will still be heard
I believe that someone in the great somewhere hears every word
Every time I hear a newborn baby cry
Or touch a leaf or see the sky
Then I know why I believe
Oh I believe
Brooks and Dunn also have a great video of their song I believe.
I love the lines in the chorus that go:
I raise my hands, bow my head
I’m finding more and more truth in the words written in red
They tell me that there’s more to life than just what i can see
I can’t quote the book
The chapter or the verse
You can’t tell me it all ends
In a slow ride in a hearse
You know I’m more and more convinced
The longer that i live
Yeah, this can’t be
No, this can’t be
No, this can’t be all there is
The African impala antelope about 30″ tall can jump over a 10 ft fence and cover 30 ft. Yet the San Diego Zoo keeps them in an area with only a 3 ft fence. The impala wont jump the fence if they cannot see where their feet will fall.
Faith is the ability to trust what we cannot see.
Christian faith at least for me helps me face the challenges of life or face death, not because I can see where I will land or fall, but that I know God sees me, loves me and guides me.
Mary Magdalene had seen the risen Christ but didn’t recognize Jesus.
“Mary” said Jesus, she then turned toward him and exclaimed “Master” she told the disciples “I have seen the Lord”
And yet doubting Thomas said , “I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, and put my fingers into them and place my hand into his side.”
The Living Bible says it like this “put your fingers into my hands put your hands into my side…Don’t be faithless any longer….Believe”
Jesus’ disciples saw Him do many other miracles besides the one told about in this book. John says “but these are recorded so that you will believe that He is the messiah the Son of God and that believing in Him you will have eternal life.”
What the beloved disciple(John) believes there is the evidence of the empty tomb, not merely that the tomb is empty but that its emptiness bears witness that Jesus has conquered death.
Note that the disciples also didn’t believe Mary.
The word doubt never shows up in the scripture about Thomas.
The story does not focus on doubt and skepticism but on grounds of faith. Jesus meets the conditions that Thomas set forth for his belief, Christ identifies His offer of Himself as the motivation for Thomas move from unbelief to belief.
“my lord and my God” finally says Thomas.
Is Jesus trying to shame Thomas? NO, NO, NO, NOT at all.
But he is giving Thomas what he needs for faith.
The center of this story is not Thomas but Jesus.
At the heart of the story is Jesus generous offer of Himself to Thomas.
Thomas should have been able to believe the disciples just as they should have believed Mary.
Jesus gives Thomas a sign and asks him to see, to touch and then to believe.
Notice Mary was asked not to touch and yet Thomas was asked to touch.
What does that say to me and you?
Do I need to see Christ or to touch Him? DO YOU?
Cease your unbelief and believe.