Faith or Unbelief?

Is faith in Christ simply believing that Jesus is great?  Or is faith something more?

At a time when Jesus was avoiding Jerusalem because of the threat against his life, Jesus’ brothers said to him , “You ought to leave here and go to Judea, so that your disciples may see the miracles you do. No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.”

In this statement (recorded in John 7:3-4), Jesus’ own brothers (who did NOT believe in him, v. 5) spoke very similar words to Jesus as Satan did in his temptation.  “Since you are so great, show yourself to the world.”

I have often wondered if this was indeed the thinking of Judas Iscariot also.  Why would he hang himself after Christ’s crucifixion, unless he had hoped that his betrayal would force Jesus to powerfully defeat the Jewish leaders?

I have known people in America who say they believe in Jesus Christ, but their faith is wrecked if Jesus doesn’t do a miracle or answer a prayer in their lives.  John says that this trait is a sign of unbelief, not of faith!

If I truly believe that a certain doctor specialist is the very best and is seeking my good, then I accept his treatment and prognosis, whether it is positive or not.  I don’t require “miracles” or healing.  I trust his word.

Faith in Jesus is believing his word and accepting what he chooses to do.

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2 Responses to Faith or Unbelief?

  1. Jesus may not have had to go to Jerusalem to be heard by the whole world.  His main base of operations, Capernaum, was just off the major international highway that linked the far east with Africa.  All he had to do was go out of town a little ways and start preaching by the roadside, and he could easily reach an audience of men from all over the known world.  So much for the mistaken idea that God sent his son into an unknown, forgotten backwater!
    And did you ever notice that the parables of the wise man who built his house on the rock and the foolish man who built his house on the sand immediately follows a passage in which Jesus says that not all who call him “Lord, Lord” will enter into heaven?  When questioned, those not admitted will point to miracles as the reason they should be admitted.  But to no avail.  Seeing (or even doing) a miracle is not equivalent to a relationship.  And its the relationship that counts, so much so that God is even willing to let Satan test the quality of our faith to see if it is built on nothing more than gratitude for what He has done for us (see Job 1 & 2).  The genii in the bottle kind of faith is so abhorrent to God that he would rather take the chance of driving us away from him altogether than giving us what we expect and hoping that real faith will someday take root.
    I love your puns!

  2. longhikes says:

    Thanks, Joe, for the comments.  Now when I read the Gospels I will think differently about all the events near Capernaum.  I am wanting more and more to take a learning trip to Israel…
    I may quote your comments about faith.  Jesus seems to remain aloof and make no attempt to be understood in arguments like that recorded in John 7. He sure doesn’t seem to be following the principles in “How to Win Friends and Influence People.”  But Jesus isn’t wanting to elicit “the genii in the bottle kind of faith” so he doesn’t respond to people the way “Evidence that Demands a Verdict” or “Evangelism Explosion” might recommend.

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