Tuesday, January 13, 2015
January 13 – Repeated over 100 times in the Bible...
When Jesus heard it, He answered him, “Don't be afraid. Only believe, and she will be made well.” (Luke 8:50 HCSB)
Don’t be afraid. This one phrase is repeated all through the Bible. From the time of Abraham through the gospels, it appears in different forms, over one hundred times, spoken by God directly or through angels who He sent to His servants in times of great distress. And here, Jesus says it again. As impossible as it feels when certain doom is staring you in the face, God calls us to refuse our fears and choose faith instead.
One problem most of us have is that we want God to take away the feeling of fear first, and then we’ll be able to believe. But God commands us to banish our fear, to take control over our emotions. In the preceding verses, Jairus, a distraught father, hears news that his sick daughter has just died, and this is the answer Jesus gives him. I have known many people to react with a sense of insult and anger when I’d encouraged them with these words. We’d like to believe that we are humble children of God, but I’m sure that many would argue back at Jesus, thinking that He was being insensitive and rude. But that is where the rubber meets the road – that’s where the chance for a miracle either fizzles out, or ignites into a full blaze.
In the original writings of the New Testament, the words faith, trust and belief all come from the same Greek root word.. The word “believe” in the Bible signifies a conviction that is so strong, it has to be lived out and acted upon. Putting your belief to the test is true belief, not the weak meaning we attach to the word in English. “I believe in the theory of relativity,” just means you agree that a lot of scientists say it’s true. Most of us have no idea what that theory even means, much less change our way of life because of it. But when Jesus commands us to not be afraid and just believe, He is asking for a radical action of trust, a change of course, a willingness to take great risk because of that belief.
Fortunately Jairus had the humility to push his emotions to the side and obey. His belief wasn’t just a mental agreement, it became action. He chose to bind up fear and walk back home by Jesus’ side in the faith that his little girl would be fine – even though she was dead. We know the rest of the story, that Jesus called her name and she rose from her bed as if she had just been asleep. If we say we believe in God and His word, we need to act on it, even if it feels scary or ridiculous, otherwise we really don’t believe at all.
Weak, uncommitted believers are everywhere. Don’t be contaminated by them. This false belief is no different from the kind of belief that demons have in God. “You believe that God is one; you do well. The demons also believe—and they shudder.” (James 2:19) We can choose a demonic belief that nods and agrees and does nothing, or true belief that risks everything and works. The promise God offers, is that the dead can be raised and the impossible become a reality.