John 11:40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”
This whole story is loaded with marvelous quotations of Jesus. I’m so thankful that John went to the trouble of writing his Gospel to add this sort of thing to the record, even though Matthew, Mark, and Luke had already been circulating for a few years. I’m reminded of one preacher who, to emphasize the depth of a period of depression and burnout that he had experienced, said, “I couldn’t even get a message out of JOHN!” It is indeed easy, and delightful, to open this Gospel almost anywhere and share the Word of the Lord. This particular statement by Jesus has two elements: our faith, and God’s glory. God’s glory is unchanging, and essentially infinite. Our faith, however, is another story. We may think, and probably do, that we would like to see the glory of God, but our lack of faith often blinds us, not only to God’s glory but to all sorts of things about Him and what He is doing. I am personally convinced that there is no such thing as a “coincidence.” Causative factors are almost without limit, but nothing “just happens.” Thinking too deeply about that quickly exceeds the limits of human intellect and understanding, but a study of the “if … then” statements in the Bible can go a long way in growing our hearts. Faith is enormously important, but we are quick either to discount it or to get it confused with wishful thinking. A study of the lives of the apostles should help clear that up. Their faith was exemplary and they did many miracles, but their lives were far from easy, and all but John left this world as martyrs. Faith is a gift, but it is also a choice, and must be exercised to be effective.
This is certainly preaching to me! I have complete assurance about a number of things, but my faith often comes up a little short in various details. It just occurred to me that faith is an example of quantum physics, in which something can be either plus or minus or both at the same time. Like the father of the epileptic boy, I am forced to cry out, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24) I think Peter alone recorded that particular quote because he identified with it so strongly, having literally walked on water, but also having denied that he even knew Jesus. I have moments when my faith is a strong encouragement to those around me, and also moments when it’s no stronger than wet toilet paper. The marvelous thing is that the result of my faith isn’t dependent on me, but on Whom I believe. Like Paul, “I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.” (2 Timothy 1:12) That, ultimately, gives me all the peace I need. I just need to remember it!
Father, thank You for this reminder. Help me indeed walk in the faith You have provided for me, accepting it and exercising it, so that Your glory may be manifested. Thank You. Hallelujah!