“I was over in Centerville the other day,” Stan commented on morning. “I was there to visit with the pastor of the community church about a discipleship class he’s thinking about putting together.”
“Discipleship classes are important,” I commented.
“You got that right!” Stan replied. “Seems to me that discipleship is the essential heart of the church, and I was delighted to hear the pastor is moving in that direction. But that’s not what I want to talk about this morning.”
“What is?” I asked.
As I drove into the parking lot at the church,” Stan replied, “I noticed the sign that said what the pastor’s message was going to be on Sunday. It simply said, ‘The Stone of Unbelief’.”
“The stone of unbelief?” I said. “What’s that mean?”
“That’s what I asked my pastor friend,” Stan replied. “I asked him what he was going to be teaching, and he said he was going to focus on what the apostle John wrote about his belief.”
I didn’t say anything, so Stan continued.
“The pastor said he was going to talk about his own testimony of how the story of the resurrection of Jesus as recorded in John’s gospel rolled away the stone of his own unbelief. And, as the pastor talked to me about what his message was going to be, it became clear to me that his story is just about the same as mine.”
“How so?” I asked.
“Resurrection Sunday,” Stan replied.. “The empty tomb. The stone was rolled away. The apostle John entered the empty tomb, he saw, and he believed. Same with me.”
“I saw the empty tomb and believed,” Stan replied. “There was a time when I thought the stone had been rolled away so Jesus could get out, but I came to realize that the stone was rolled away so, like the apostle John, all could enter, see, and believe.”
“Isn’t that why Jesus came,” I said, “to give salvation to all who believe? And that it’s likely a person who doesn’t look won’t believe?”
“That’s it,” Stan replied. “And it seems to me that we all have a big stone of unbelief that needs to be rolled away, followed by other smaller stones that get in the way of our belief.”
“Big stone and smaller stones?”
“Yeah,” Stan said. “It was necessary for me to roll away the big stone of unbelief so I could accept God’s free and gracious provision of life with Him eternally when it’s time. That was and is followed by rolling away the smaller stones of unbelief that get in the way of working out that salvation on this side of eternity.”
“For an ever-deepening personal relationship based on the eternal life of knowing Jesus and God the Father? Is that it?”
“That’s what it seems to me,” Stan replied with a smile.
Bible verses to consider:
Then entered in therefore the other disciple also, who had first come to the tomb, and he saw, and believed. John 20:8.
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16.
And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent. John 17:3.
So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. Philippians 2:12-13.
Immediately the boy’s father cried out and began saying, “I do believe; help my unbelief.” Mark 9:24.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for giving your Son so all who believe by faith can have the assurance of life eternally with you when it’s time. Thank you for those who brought that truth to me (and me to that truth) so the huge stone of unbelief was rolled away in my life. I know that too often there are other stones that get in the way of my belief on this side of eternity, and that you want to roll all of those away so my relationship with you only grows deeper. Please, Father, help me follow every step of your lead into the deepest possible personal relationship with you based on an ever-deepening belief and faith. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Has the big stone of unbelief in your life been rolled away so you have the assurance of spending eternity in God’s presence when it’s time? If no, why have you not accepted God’s free and gracious provision? If you are a Christian, how are you doing with the smaller stones of unbelief that get in the way on this side of eternity? Are there such stones that need to be rolled away? If so, how is that going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?