How Just Being Jesus Caused a Crisis of Faith

image_pdfimage_print

Jesus created a faith crisis as Messiah to the world. Here is an encounter recorded in the Gospel of John 7:37-53, NIV.

image_pdfimage_print

On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.

On hearing his words, some of the people said,
“Surely this man is the Prophet.” Others said,
“He is the Messiah.” Still others asked,
“How can the Messiah come from Galilee?” Does not Scripture say that the Messiah will come from David’s descendants and from Bethlehem, the town where David lived?

Thus the people were divided because of Jesus. Some wanted to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him.Finally the temple guards went back to the chief priests and the Pharisees, who asked them,
“Why didn’t you bring him in?”
“No one ever spoke the way this man does,” the guards replied.
“You mean he has deceived you also?” the Pharisees retorted.
“Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed in him?” No! But this mob that knows nothing of the law—there is a curse on them.

Nicodemus, who had gone to Jesus earlier and who was one of their own number, asked,
“Does our law condemn a man without first hearing him to find out what he has been doing? They replied,
“Are you from Galilee, too? Look into it, and you will find that a prophet does not come out of Galilee.”
Then they all went home.

A REFLECTION : Search the scriptures, and watch your faith grow.

FAITH LOADING

Our faith is built and destroyed one experience at a time. The more success we experience, the more faith builds. We can endure a few challenges and difficulties along the way, and if we are honest, when a moment of reflection presents itself, massive growth frequently follows deeply challenging times. Even if that moment rattled you, intentionally addressing and rebuilding beyond those moments can lead to deeper and more fulfilling relationships.

But yet for some, faith is lost, and so are you. You are not alone. Many things chip away at a fragile faith and it seems easier to just start from scratch, or even abandon faith in the divine and simply lean on your own understanding. It just feels safer. What happens then? How do we grow from that space to a growing faith in the divine again?

…......………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

ELLEN G. WHITE (1827-1915), one of the most published authors in the world, named one of the “100 Most Significant Americans of All Time” by the Smithsonian Institution in 2014, was a co-founder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

*You can read The Desire of Ages in its entirety online at www.whiteestate.org/onlinebooks.

 

This article is part of our 2024 May/June Issue
Subscribe –>

 

 

 

…......…………………………………………..

image_pdfimage_print

Faith Lost and Rediscovered

The word “faith” is used 247 times in the KJV New Testament, with only two occurrences in the Old Testament. The most quoted scripture is Hebrews 11:1

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” 

This is often the starting point of our biblical journey, and it is a good one. It is a description of expectation and current reality. The transition from hope, or “hoped for” to evidence, is the space where faith is often lost. The hope stage.

I invite you to journal for the next seven weeks. Write out your prayers. As the weeks move forward, write the changes in your mindset from day to day about the topics you have written about and how God has used them to increase your faith, no matter the result from day to day.

(1) Read Hebrews 11
What grabs your attention about the stories of those mentioned? Note: If you do not know the stories of those mentioned, look them up and read about their faith journey.

(2) Though I am not sure of his faith journey prior to our biblical encounter with him in 2 Kings 5, Naaman seems to be aware of spiritual things and God. His medical condition meant a death sentence because Leprosy proved not only debilitating, but fatal in the days of biblical writing. Money was not going to fix his leprosy, and he was losing hope. An unlikely character in his story, a slave girl, gives him hope that he can be healed if he would see a prophet in Samaria. With his hope restored Naaman arrives at the prophet’s house ready to be healed, but this encounter goes nowhere close to how he thought it would go. Dip into the Jordan river seven times, he was told. Odd? Absolutely! Beneath a man of his success and stature? In his opinion, yes. Hope was lost again, and he leaves. Reflect on a key moment when your faith in God grew deeper, or a moment when you felt deep disappointment.

(3) Before we move on, let’s take a look at the girl who shared with Naaman that he should go and see this prophet. She must have had faith too! Her belief that God was able, through the prophet, to heal him was next level. A lot was at stake for her and her faith. She believed before the healing and lived in the “evidence not seen” as it related to Naaman. Faith to speak up, faith to believe, faith with your livelihood and perhaps life on the line is next level faith. Even her life position did not cause a callousness toward humanity because her faith transcended her difficult life. We could learn from her approach to life, and how we can still speak well of God and maintain our faith in Him despite life’s challenges. How do you deal with the challenges of what you thought would happen versus what actually happened in real life?

(4) Naaman is angry because he thought that God would move in a specific way. At its worst, the act of putting God in a box is a sure way to lose our faith. At its best, it limits faith. Faith is about believing what God can do, and working with God to bring it to pass. Is it wrong to have expectations and be direct with God about the answer we want? Not at all. Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” Be bold in your faith, just don’t put God in a box. Naaman almost missed it.

(5) Foundations are critical to anything you want to last. I am often saddened when I see the devastation of homes due to natural disasters, whether they be hurricanes, tornadoes, or earthquakes to name a few, but there is often one part that remains in place, the foundation.

That is what our faith can be like, a foundation that is unbothered by the storms, its one job is to remain so that if rebuilding is needed, the first step has been taken care of and is ready. Building foundations takes work and so does faith. The Bible speaks of the work that faith demands of us in James 2:14-17.

(6) Our experience deeply impacts how we view God and thus our faith in God. When our faith gets tired and we feel as if we are losing more than winning, it is easy to say, “What is wrong with me, and why does it seem as if I take one step forward and fall two steps back?” Here’s a helpful idea, instead of asking, “What is wrong with me?,” ask, “What happened to me?” For the sake of this topic, I would add the words, “What happened to me that has caused me to waver in my faith?” “What happened to me? What is God building within me?” Answering these questions may lead you to where your faith in God becomes stronger.

(7) All around the world, the resurrection of Jesus is celebrated. It is a time of deep reflection and celebration. It is also the cornerstone of all Christian belief (1 Corinthians 15:14-16). If Jesus is still in a tomb, we have wasted countless hours and resources. None of it matters without the resurrection. The resurrection is the start and finish of our faith. If we are going to grow our faith, we should base it on a solid foundation. Faith as a principle and faith as an experience are two different things, and they work together to form our spiritual journey with God.
………………………………………………………………………..

BARON SAVORY pastors the Valley Fellowship SDA Church in Rialto, California.

 

 

This article is part of our 2024 May/June Issue
Subscribe –>

 

 

 

 

 

Tags from the story
,
Written By
More from Ellen White
Feeding the Five Thousand
Christ never worked a miracle except to supply a genuine necessity, and...
Read More
Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.