The first dentist I worked for was Jewish by birth and agnostic by practice. Early in our professional relationship he told me he didn’t have a problem with my belief in God.
“Everybody needs some kind of crutch,” he said. “If believing in God makes you feel better, I don’t have a problem with that.”
I thought of Dr. B. this morning when I read about how Jesus called his disciples to follow him.
Time after time in the Gospel accounts, Jesus gave ample proof that he was who he said he was—God in the flesh. “. . . even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father," he said in John 10:38.
Faith has never been just believing in “something to make you feel better." Nor is it a blind leap in the dark. God never calls anyone to believe in him without giving ample proof that he is worthy of our trust.
The way Jesus called his disciples is a perfect example of this.
In Luke 5, Jesus was visiting Capernaum. He taught in the synagogue. He freed a man possessed by an evil spirit. He healed Simon Peter’s mother-in-law. That evening when multitudes flocked to him with physical ailments, he cured them all. Demons came shrieking out of people, testifying that Jesus was “the Son of God” (4:38-41).
And if that wasn’t proof enough, the next day when Simon, James, and John were out fishing, he commandeered their boat and used it as a platform from which to teach to the crowds on the shore. Afterward he told Simon, "'Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.'
“Simon answered, ‘Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.’
“When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break” (Mat. 5:4-6).
Simon couldn’t take it any longer. Overwhelmed with what he had seen Jesus do and realizing that only God in the flesh could do such things, he cried out, "Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!"
"Don't be afraid;” he reassured the men, “from now on you will catch men."
“So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.”
Before Jesus called his disciples to himself, he gave them ample proof of his power, and thus, his deity.
We haven’t had the opportunity to walk and talk with Jesus Christ in the flesh, but we, too, have ample proof of his faith-worthiness.
*We have the historical record of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, including biblical and extra-biblical sources.
*We have evidence of God’s creative and sustaining hand in the world around us (Psa. 19:1).
*We have the faith record of believers down through the ages (Hebrews 11).
*We have the testimonies of contemporary believers attesting to the transforming power of the Gospel.
*We have the evidence of God’s work in our own lives.
Like Peter, my coming to faith experience happened in stages. First I heard about and read the biblical account of God’s work in ancient history. Then I listened to person after person tell how Christ had transformed their lives. Next I admitted my need for Someone greater and wiser than I to direct my life. Finally, I placed my faith in Jesus Christ and watched him begin to transform me from the person I was to the person I hoped to be.
Little by little, God revealed himself to me and drew me to himself. Instead of taking a blind leap in the dark, I placed my trust in a God who has shown himself faithful to thousands of generations.
Now it’s your turn. How has God revealed himself to you in your faith journey? Which evidences have you found most convincing? Leave a comment below and join the conversation.