“DIFFICULTY IN BELIEVING”

  Astonishing the great difficulty the disciples had, believing who Jesus said He was, almost to the very end of His life. One would think, having seen so many miracles performed by Him, and not to believe He was God incarnated, seemed strange. Lately, we have preformed an intense autopsy on the final accounts of His life, and His disciples. With more questions posed than answered, that longed for unquenchable truth, for those who diligently sought them. Sometimes we wonder why unbelievers remain un-phased, after a well preached gospel invitation, or a thorough presentation of the gospel. We know through our unyielding search of the Scriptures, some are going to accept the message, while others are going to reject it. Amazing was the disciple’s respond to the Teacher’s words, deeds, and His personal appeals, for them to accept Him, as God the Father. Think you’ll been different?

      We supposed if we had been there it would have been no question that we would have followed Jesus to the ends of the earth. Easier said than done because these men had eye witnesses to the dead raised, blind sighted, lame healed, lepers cleansed, thousands feed from next to nothing, and countless miraculous events never preformed by any human, yet they failed to believe. There’s a TV program, “What would you do?” which challenges people to act during an incident of crisis.

I’ve heard a preacher say, “It’s easier to die for Christ than to live for Him,” it’s proven all to true for me, what about you? Sometimes I’m too critical of the disciples because I’ve got the finished product and their living it out in real time.

A case in point, I’m studying the account of Judas’ betrayal along with the Thurs-day night group, and I come to this portion of Scripture that’s not in our text of study, but I’m one to go the extra mile for the sake of clarity for whatever reason.

     Allow me to paraphrase the scene in Jn.13:18-20, “It was during the last supper when Jesus announced that one of His disciples would betray Him. Then He threw an interesting clause in the mist, and said, I speak not of you all I know whom I have chosen,” but here’s the kicker, “Now I tell you this before it come to pass that when it come to pass, ye may believe that I am he…and he that sent me,” which I found to be somewhat odd. It almost appears as though it’s His last appeal to them to believe Him, and God who sent Him, as though the miracles weren’t sufficient. In compari-son, this almost seems minimal to all the others. To put it in perspective, He’s within days of being placed on the cross. Also He wants the assurance they can continue on His ministry after His death. Consequently, He made a final appeal to their faith.

     On the other hand, faith can be a subjective thing. You may have experienced this, when things are going great in your life then your faith is on the mountain top, but when things has taken a turn for the worst, your faith is as low as a valley slope.

Yes, we believe we have all faith that can move mountains, but when the storms of life hit, we wonder where Jesus was when we needed Him. Look I believe this part of Scripture was placed here so that we could see the difficulty in believing. Take it from this writer, I’m tossed and turned by every wind of doctrine that sounds good.

I’m sure you heard some say, “If it sounds tight, it must be right.” Or if the pastor says it, who am I not to believe it, after all he’s got more credentials than I have. After all, Jesus encourages us when He say, “Blessed are those who believe and do not see,” so move over Thomas, you’re not alone; you have a host of company.

“UNRESOLVED FORGIVENESS”

 

     The Holy Spirit has pressed upon me not to move so quickly from this subject of forgiveness and no forgiveness. Here in Mk.11:25-26, Jesus instructed His disciples that they must have a spirit of forgiveness. Not to forgive is like cancer eating at the body which caused it to rot away. He had foreseen difficult days ahead for them. He knew they needed this type of spirit to move forward as His disciples in the midst of persecution.  During His trial they punished Him beyond human bounds. More than anyone had been before. Yet He asked His Father to forgive them because they knew not what they did. The idea is, the disciples were headed down this same road, He went down. So He wanted them prepare, to face fierce persecution. When they are punished beyond human bounds, then they are to stand and pray for their enemy’s forgiveness.  It is a powerful lesson we need to practice as Christians,

     Furthermore, we are encouraged to forgive our enemies. More powerful than that, we are instructed to forgive our love ones, who might have deserted us in a relationship. This might be difficult for some, because forgiveness is difficult to do, in those situations. The fact is, many emotions have been invested; it may play a role in our forgiveness. The idea of forgiving someone, who has betrayed us is foreign. This is exactly what Jesus did with Judas. There is a text in Psalm 41:9 which reference the night Jesus was betrayed. He said,  “Yea, my own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, who did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.” If the Son of man was betrayed, then we shoulnot think  it as something strange that we are betrayed. We need to always beware of unresolved forgiveness in our lives so we can forgive and heal.

     In addition, it is medicine for the soul to forgive others and be forgiven by them. For us to be effective ministers of the Gospel, we must forgive! This is essential for our souls to be cleansed by the Spirit of forgiveness. It is a vital part of His ministry to convict us of a non forgiven issue in our lives. There’s the old adage Which people says, “I can forgive but not forget” it maybe true or not, but the issue is do they bring a hurtful issue up from time to time? We are aware an injury had occurred which precipitates an act of forgiveness. And pouring salt, however, on an old wound does not heals correctly. As Christians, we posses  medicine, in the power of the Holy Spirit ,for those who are wounded one way or another, because we are to minister to their hurts. They may have been placed in our path for that purpose, and failure to act could be catastrophic.

     Finally, we must be mindful that we have been forgiven. This should motivate all of us to be about forgiving. It is so vitally important, we never forget our past state prior to salvation. Which we were doing things that were unseemly. Most us may have had a hurtful spirit, but we might have not been aware of because we thought we were treating people the way we wanted to be treated. Any case it was not the way God wanted us to treat them. We have  developed a law unto ourselves. In fact, He said, “The Gentiles who were without a law made to themselves a law unto themselves in their conscience.” We all know holding a grudge is not healthy for anyone because It will destroy you more than it destroy them. It is like gangrene which eats your flesh from the inside out. The only way you can rid yourself of this dreadful disease is to amputate the infected part. The same way this disease eats away at your flesh is the same way unresolved forgiveness eats away at your heart. Furthermore, It takes a radical procedure to rid yourself of gangrene thus it must be with a spirit of non-forgiveness a flesh  eating disease of the heart. Rid yourself of this disease and forgive!