Friday, October 24, 2014

SERMON: Do you really want to believe?

By DAVID BILDERBACK, Special to The Herald | 10/25/2013

“The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know Him,” the Apostle John says in 1st John 3:2.

From the time Jesus read from the scroll of the prophet Isaiah in his home town of Nazareth, concerning the fulfillment of that prophecy, through his trial and crucifixion, the religious establishment and the majority of the general population failed to recognize Him for who He was: God incarnate.

“The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know Him,” the Apostle John says in 1st John 3:2.

From the time Jesus read from the scroll of the prophet Isaiah in his home town of Nazareth, concerning the fulfillment of that prophecy, through his trial and crucifixion, the religious establishment and the majority of the general population failed to recognize Him for who He was: God incarnate.

Jesus was called a prophet or a great teacher, but to most He was not recognized as the Messiah. Had Jesus delayed his coming until the current generation, I doubt most people’s perception would be any different than it was in the first century.

He could have had a large following, no doubt. People love to follow successful and popular individuals. His miracles and deep teaching would have interested the mass media and intellectual thinkers. But in the end, when He began to issue harsh rebukes and difficult teachings, His following would dwindle just as they did in that day.

These were disciples who took offense at Jesus’ words, refused to listen to Jesus’ explanations and were unwilling to accept the message of salvation by grace. This is a crucial point in this gospel. Many of the disciples together with the crowds rejected Christ in disbelief.

Jesus then asks his 12 disciples a simple question.

“Do you want to go away as well?”

The question brings forth Peter’s great confession.

“Lord to whom shall we go?” he said. “You have the words of eternal life and we have believed, and have come to know you are the Holy One of God” (John 7:68-69).

Peter’s confession gets to the heart of the Apostle John’s conclusion. People do not want to believe and therefore they cannot worship God. That’s the reason for the great chasm or gulf between God and man. God requires our worship. The only one way to bridge this gulf is through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

The world can provide momentary pleasures, but only God can provide eternal life.

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