I felt convicted last night. I had spent some time reading the Good Friday commentaries of various authors and bloggers, most of whom I am convinced have a good deal of knowledge about and faith in what happened at the cross. I had not, however, spent time reflecting on what I claim to be the living Word of God.
So I opened it. Always a good choice.
I read through the four Gospel accounts and compared them. One theme stood out to me this time.
As part of the crowds’ mocking insults, they were yelling, “‘Come down from the cross and save yourself!’” (Mark 15:30) and “‘He saved others, but he can’t save himself! Let this Christ, this King of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe.’” (Mark 15:31-32)
That we may see and believe.
I can’t help but think at least some of them were hoping he really would. Surely some of them really wanted to believe. Surely some had a smidgen of hope that it really could be true, but they hadn’t seen enough evidence.
But had they heard the evidence? All the miracles that had taken place within walking distance of where they stood? No doubt many of them knew the old testament prophecies that he was certainly fulfilling, but he didn’t come as they had imagined or hoped. Surely no real “king” would come into the world and live like he did. Surely the Messiah wouldn’t have spent so much time with unworthy “sinners”.
They were much closer to the evidence than we will ever be, and they struggled.
Don’t we beg for evidence sometimes? Or at least we did before we became believers? God, if you would only come down for two seconds and show me yourself, I’d believe. If only he would have lived at a time when there were cameras. God, if you do this miracle in my life, I’ll be convinced that you are real. Show yourself to me.
He did. He does.
Jesus said to Thomas (aka “Doubting Thomas”), who had the privilege of seeing the nail holes after Jesus rose from the dead, “‘Stop doubting and believe.’” Thomas was convinced by what he saw with his eyes. “Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen me and yet have believed.’” (John 20:27, 29)
Blessed are those who have not seen me and yet have believed.
Is it not enough to just believe, considering the fact that we have multiple accounts that reveal very similar, if not the same, detailed events?
I think it’s only natural for us to be skeptics. It wouldn’t be wise to believe everything we read or heard. If the crowd had a hard time believing, I can understand why we, 2000+ years later, sometimes struggle to believe.
But we have the evidence of multiple accounts and fulfilled prophecy.
John tells us, “Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” (30-31)
That you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah…that by believing you may have life in his name.
May we have the faith and the strength to do just that. Because it changes everything.