Seeing And Not Believing
From the series Letters to the Prison
Last week, we caught a glimpse of the stunning relationship Jesus the Son has with God the Father. We’re about to see another mind-blowing view of this relationship. To begin, we see in John 10:22-24 that the conversation between Jesus, the man born blind, his disciples, and some of the Jewish leaders has ended and some time has passed. Given the way this next conversation goes, though, it's probably fair to say that it occurred during the same visit to Jerusalem by Jesus –just on a different day. The Jews in Jerusalem confront Jesus with a challenge:
- “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” -John 10:24
To be clear, these people are asking Jesus to publicly proclaim that he is the Messiah… not because they’re curious and want to know… and not because he hasn’t already made such a claim (we’ve seen several times when Jesus has done precisely that)… but because they are looking for reasons to denounce, arrest, and murder him. Jesus is not intimidated by any of this, nor does he shy away from the challenge. Look how he responds:
- Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father's name bear witness about me, -John 10:25
Jesus has told them –plainly-- already… and he has demonstrated it –plainly-- with the works that he has done already –and he will do many more works and make many more stunning claims, as we will see. So, what’s the problem?
They don’t believe. Why not?
Isn’t what they’ve seen and heard enough? Jesus has an answer:
- but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. -John 10:26-27
They don’t believe because they are not part of the flock… they’re not “among Jesus’ sheep.” This is not the first time Jesus has observed this dire truth about people who don’t believe. Earlier in John, we saw Jesus say:
- If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.” -John 8:46-47
In these two passages, we can identify an essential difference between those who believe and those who don’t… between those who are “of God” (those who are “among Jesus’ sheep”) and those who aren’t: Believers hear the words of God. They hear the voice of Jesus, the Good Shepherd –and they follow him. People who don’t believe don’t do these things. Friends, if you are struggling with unbelief, ask God to help you: “I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24)
God answers such prayers gladly and offers an amazing promise to those who ask such things. We’ll see next week! Until then, have a conversation with God. He loves you. So do we!