Psalm 89:8-18 "I Believe in God…"



Believe! H.C. Question 22

What then must a Christian believe?

Matthew 28:18-20 – Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

John 20:30-31 – 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.

Romans 10:9-10 – If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.



John 4 – The Samaritan Woman

Read John 4

I always admire the irony of the things people say to and about Jesus.  When Pilot has Him before the crowd in Matthew 27, they cry “His blood be on us and on our children.”  Little did they know what they were truly asking for.  Here the woman points out that the well is very deep and Jesus has nothing to draw water from it.  Little does she know in that moment how deep the Well of Living Water truly runs.

As people often do, this woman points to the tradition that she knows, the story of Jacob digging that well to give them water.  For them, especially the Samaritans, it was their tradition that gave them their identity.  Yet getting too caught up in that tradition can have dramatically negative consequences.

These folks thought this well, one that Jacob himself, the father of Israel, had dug, was one of many links to their past and therefore to God, and that drinking from it gave them life.  Jesus, however, points out how empty they really are without the true, life giving water that He offers.

When this is all laid out for her, she and the whole town come out to see Jesus and places their faith in Him.  Contrast this harvest of new believers with those that Jesus encounters in Cana, the very place where He turned water into wine.  These people demand more signs so that they could believe, a sad testimony to the faith of the Jews if there ever was one.

Through Scripture, God reveals Himself to us especially in the person of Jesus Christ.  It is important that we find our identity here and not in our own traditions or denominations lest we find ourselves demanding more signs rather than believing God’s Living Word.



Luke 7 – Contrasting Faiths

Read Luke 7

Jesus speaks about faith a great deal during His ministry.  Often, these teachings come in the form of a parable.  Today, though, it comes in the form of commentary on the faith of others.  While Matthew is known more for his audience being the Jewish people, Luke works show what true faith is by way of  contrast.  Unfortunately for the Jews, they find themselves on the wrong side of this contrast.

The significance of the centurion in this first narrative cannot be overstated.  This is a man who, even though the Jews say he is a good guy, would have been seen as an outsider, and oppressor, and obviously not someone that would share their faith.  In fact, at this time in the Roman Empire, for whom this centurion would have been serving, the practice of “Emperor Worship” was on the rise.  Yet this man knows Jesus and His faith, as Jesus says, is greater than any in Israel.

This is contrasted with the reaction of the Jewish crowd in the next narrative.  Jesus raises a man from the dead in front of everyone.  Their response is almost disheartening, “A great prophet is among us.”

After this, the disciples of John the Baptist show up to ask Jesus if He is indeed the Messiah.  Jesus, quoting Scripture, tells the to report what they have “seen and heard.”  Given what has just happened, this is an interesting response.

However, Jesus doesn’t simply tell them “yes, I am the Messiah,” He uses the very Scripture that points to the Messiah as proof of who He is and gives them the freedom to make up their own minds.  This is the essence of faith, having the ability to freely choose in whom we truly believe, love and trust as our Lord.



Day 358: 1 John 1-5; That You May Know

As we come to the final epistles of the New Testament, we take a look at the letters that are attributed to the Apostle John.  Once again, it is not entirely known as to whether or not it was indeed the Apostle John, the writer of the Gospel of John, that wrote these letters, or if it was someone within the Johannine community, probably one of John’s disciples, that was writing to those that were in the “Johannine ” churches.  In similar fashion to our denominations today, the churches of the first century had some distinctive features that made them different from each other.  Churches that were started by John may have looked a little different than those that were started by Paul.  It wasn’t as if anything was wrong with one or the other, but it was likely that their worship styles were different and perhaps even some of the teaching emphasis was different as well.  John even makes mention of some of these differences in his first letter here, saying that some of the teachings of Paul were difficult to understand.  It could be that that Johannine churches were composed more of poor and uneducated people rather than of more educated, potentially upper class people that might have made up some of the more Pauline churches.  This would make sense, in some ways, as John himself was a fisherman by trade, where Paul was a religious leader and a Roman citizen.  Fishermen tended to be poorer, where the religious leaders often came from families that were religious leaders and were fairly well off.  In this sense, Paul talks in more of a “high church theology” where John is relating to “less educated” community.

Remember, when we were in the Gospel of John, that His writing was quite simple in nature, not using a lot of difficult grammar, large words, or grand theological concepts.  He does, however write in a way that can be understood easily on the surface but also can be deep and theologically rich.  John is a master of words.

Remember too, in the Gospel of John, that John the Apostle does a great deal of playing with themes, especially with the theme of light and darkness.  It is this theme, in fact, that makes the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, which will happen tomorrow (at the time of this writing), when the light entered into the world, a light that shines in the darkness and that the darkness cannot overcome.  It is one of the first themes that John brings up here in his letter as well.

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.  If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.  But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.  If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

Again, remember that John’s Gospel, as well as the letters attributed to John, deal with some specific heresies that had arisen in the church.  Like Peter and Paul, John is encouraging the members of his community, and of the churches throughout the world to keep the faith, to hold fast to the Word of God and not listen to these false teachers.  One of the main heresies that he is teaching against is that of Gnosticism, a group of people that had very different beliefs about the work of Jesus, the nature of the psychical and the spiritual, and the notion that there was some sort of “special knowledge” that people needed to be saved, something that was found in places other that Scripture.  John is writing so that his readers, the believers in his communities and in the church would know Jesus is truly the savior and that there isn’t anything special that they have to do.  John 20 gives an end to the Gospel that gives an explanation to this effect.  All we need is Christ, to believe in His name, and in that we will have life, true life in Him.

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book;  but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”

John concludes this letter in much the same manner:

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.  And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.  And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.