“…to all who received [Jesus], to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God…” - (John 1:12, NIV)
Believing gets more difficult every day. As a society, we don’t believe in each other as much as we used to.
It seems that we are disappointed daily by the inconsiderate and outright selfish choices made by people beyond our control.
Innocent people are usually the victims of the selfish choices of others. Liars, abusers, and scoundrels of all kinds are being revealed in the press. For increasing millions of people, it gets more and more difficult to believe in much of anything.
Believing in Jesus begins with believing that He existed; that one is easy. The secular historian, Josephus, was not a follower of Jesus, but recorded in his historic writings that there appeared in Galilee a prophet named Jesus of Nazareth; a prophet like none other, able to heal the sick and raise the dead. Josephus also records that the tomb was empty and that Jesus appeared to his closest friends.
I do not know of any reputable experts that can disprove the existence of Jesus of Nazareth.
Believing in the name of Jesus, in this context, means believing in who He was and is, and what that means for us today, for the rest of our lives, and beyond.
St. John clearly identifies Jesus as the pre-incarnate Word of God and fully God (John 1:1). John then describes Jesus (The Word) as the creator of heaven and earth (John 1:3). John continues to explain that “The Word became flesh and lived among us … [with] the glory of the One and Only …” (v. 14).
But none of that is truly convincing without the Resurrection. That is what makes the story so powerful. His disciples saw His body, nail marks and all, three days after they saw him dead on a cross with a spear hole in His side.
In fact, St. Paul, in writing to Christians in Corinth, said that after His resurrection: “[Jesus] appeared to more than five hundred of the [believers] at the same time …” (1 Cor. 15:6).
If that is enough to make a believer out of you, what does that mean for your life now and forever? After all, none of us get out of here alive.
What will happen and where will you go when your body stops working? Jesus gives the answers in His teaching.
Here’s hint: He wants all of us to be happy and at peace with ourselves and everyone else, and to live forever in His heavenly Kingdom. How does that work? Tune in again next week.
Blessings and Peace to You All,
Rev. Dr. David Bridges is the pastor at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Grove. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. St. Andrew's worship service is at 10 a.m., every Sunday, and broadcast on KWXC 88.9 FM at noon on Thursdays and at 5 p.m. on Saturdays.