349. If You Do That I Will Believe. Maybe. Maybe Not.

“The other day,” Stan began, “we talked about Jesus’ crucifixion and how some of the people said to Jesus that if He was the Son of God He should come down from the cross.”

“You’re right,” I replied, “it had to do with Jesus’ obedience to His Father.  [Note to reader:  See Posting Number 341, “Sorry, I Can’t Do that.]

“In reading Matthew’ account of the time Jesus was on the cross, there was another group of people who said something to Jesus that has a clear application to my belief in and response to God.”

“Which is what?”  I responded.

“Some of the chief priest, scribes, and elders said to Jesus that if He would come down from the cross they would believe that He was who He said He was.”

Continuing, he said, “I think it is clear that those people were not being truthful.  They had plenty of opportunity to believe in Jesus.  They had seen and heard more than they needed to believe that Jesus was who He said He was.”

“It’s just like I was before I became a Christian,” Stan continued.  “In my lack of belief, I said that if God would do such and such for me I would believe.  But it wasn’t true.  I just wanted something for myself.  I didn’t want Him.”

“Just as obedience is the only thing that qualifies as obedience,” he continued, “unconditional belief is the only thing that qualifies as belief.  Saying I will believe if God does something I want is not belief, it is my self-focused desire that is no different from the hypocrisy of those who lied to Jesus and said they would believe if He came down from the cross.”

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In the same way the chief priests, along with the scribes and elders were mocking Him, and saying, “He saved others; He cannot save Himself.  He is the King of Israel; let Him now come down from the cross, and we shall believe in Him.”  Matthew 27:41, 42.

Prayer:  Thank you, Lord, for showing the truth of what you want and expect of me in my belief.  I confess that I have too often expressed conditional belief by saying that I will believe if you do what I want.  Please forgive my impertinence.  You are God.  I am not.  Please help me in my unbelief so that I am yours without a doubt.  Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus.  Amen.

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