The really big one

I’ve almost finished the book of John, (I’m at chapter 20) and I must confess. I’m not reading three chapters a day. The last seven chapters are my favorite, and I find that I really love to savour them — turning the ideas over in my mind, imagining how they sounded to the very first people who ever heard such controversial words…

Beginning with Jesus’ washing of his disciples feet, in chapter thirteen, the next pages are almost entirely written in red ink (in most Bibles) indicating that they are the direct words of Jesus. It seems no matter how many times I read these passages, I find myself stopped short by these kinds of statements:

You have already been pruned for greater fruitfulness by the message I have given you.
You didn’t choose me. I chose you.
Those who obey my commandments are the ones who love me.
The truth is, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the father.
You can ask for ANYTHING in my name, and I will do it, because the work of the Son brings glory to the Father.

And then this one: The world’s sin is unbelief in me. (John 16:9)

That’s a tough one for most long-time believers. We think we can list sins, like making a grocery list — from greatest to least. We classify people based on the seriousness of their sins; we even classify testimonies based on which believers came from the most sinful past. It’s as if we are facing a sick patient, and we want to focus only on the symptoms.

Jesus goes right to the cause of the disease. Unbelief.

Jesus’ words throw a monkey wrench into tradictional thinking. It forces us to realize that the ground at the cross is completely and perfectly level. The BIG sin, the real sin is unbelief in Jesus. That is the fatal wound that festers into the symptoms we know so well. But whether you were raised in the church, or on the street — all of us came to that one place where we had to deal with WHO JESUS IS!

All of us went through a period where we didn’t believe. Whether blissfully ignorant, or willfully defiant, we lived in a world without Jesus. Some moved from there to a world labled, “Maybe.” Maybe he is worth considering. Maybe the pastor is right. Maybe there is something more to life than this.

Then we came to a point where we made a decision. Either you decide, “No Way. I’m not going to believe that stuff.” (my brother Bill is here) or you make a completely different choice.

Jesus is who he claims to be.

But when you deal with the world, Jesus tells us not to be distracted by the symptoms of the disease. Remember the root cause. Unbelief. If you will work toward showing the world who Jesus is, God will take care of the symptoms…


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