|Jesus at the Feast of Dedication - James Tissot|
TO CHEW ON: “‘I told you and you do not believe…. But you do not believe because you are not My sheep, as I said to you. My sheep hear My voice and I know them and they follow me.’” John 10:25-27
When the Jews surrounded Jesus in the temple during the Feast of Dedication demanding “'If you are the Christ tell us plainly,'” they had one goal – to get Jesus to incriminate Himself. They were not asking for proof of His deity in order to reassure themselves that He was God and believe in Him. They were not even looking to Him as a potential Messiah to free their nation from the Romans. They completely overlooked the miracles that pointed to the fact He was no ordinary man. All they wanted was proof (again) from His own mouth, of blasphemy. Then they planned to arrest Him and get rid of Him as a rival.
The same teachings and miracles of Jesus referred to when talking to the Jews had a far different effect on the “many who came to Him… and believed in Him.” The difference: a willingness to believe.
The same is true for people of our generation. Though we don’t have Jesus in person as they did, we have the Bible. I’m sure you’ve noticed its different effects on people. Some laugh it off as a collection of archaic writings that have nothing at all to say to them. Others read it with reservations and attempt to twist it to say what they want it to say. Still others consider it truth, the very words of God. To them it is direction for life and hope in death. Whatever one’s perception of Jesus and what He said according to the Bible, it hinges on one thing: a decision to believe - or not.
How do we come to that point of belief? How do we encourage it in others? Through exposure to the Bible. John Piper says:
“The Word of God begets and sustains spiritual life because it begets and sustains faith: “These are written,” John says, “so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name (John 20:31). “Faith comes from hearing,” writes the apostle Paul, “and hearing through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17). The faith that starts our life in Christ and by which we go on living comes from hearing the Word of God.” - John Piper, Desiring God, p. 146 (emphasis his).
If you are having trouble believing in and hearing the voice of your Shepherd, spend time in the Bible. Read it, memorize it, think about it, do it. Your exposure to God’s word will plant the seed of faith and grow it into the desire and ability to live an obedient life.
PRAYER: Dear God, I want to hear Your voice. Help me to read, understand and obey Your Word. Amen
MORE: At the age of 19 Abraham Piper, son of John Piper, was an avowed atheist. He came to faith one morning by reading the book of Romans. His advice to parents with prodigal kids:
"When you read something in the Bible that encourages you and helps you love Jesus more, write it up in a couple of lines and send it to your child. The best exhortation—better than any correction—is for them to see Christ’s joy in your life.
Don’t stress out when you’re composing these as if each one needs to be singularly powerful. Just whip them out and let the cumulative effect of your satisfaction in God gather up in your child’s inbox. God’s Word is never useless."
Read his story: “Let Them Come Home.”
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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