Thursday, July 14, 2011

MrsDrPoe: Seeing Isn't Always Believing

Good morning everyone! It's Theology Thursday on the blog, so I'd like to once again invite you to open up your Bibles as we examine some passages in Mark.

Today we'll be looking at comments that some folks make like, "If I had lived in Jesus' day and had seen all those miracles for myself, I'd have no trouble believing in Him and obeying the gospel." Based on Biblical accounts, I think those of us who would make this statement may be fooling ourselves...

In Mark 6:1-6, we see Jesus return to His hometown of Nazareth. On the Sabbath, He went to teach in the synagogue as was His custom, and "many hearing Him were astonished, saying, "Where did this Man get these things? And what wisdom is this which is given to Him that such mighty works are performed by His hands?" So the people clearly acknowledged Jesus' wisdom and His works (v. 5 tells us that He did heal sick there). They SAW, but v. 3 and 6 tell us they were offended by Him and did not believe.

Furthermore, on a multitude of different occasions in the gospels, we see the Sadducees, Pharisees, Herodians, and scribes listening to His teachings and observing His miracles, yet they do not turn to follow, surrendering their lives to Him, the Christ, the Holy One of God. Another example that is greatly emphasized in Mark is that of the 'great unnamed character' in the book: the crowd. We see that Jesus is constantly around a huge number of people; however, the majority of this group is referred to as "the crowd" or "the multitude," which is not synonymous with "the disciples." The people who are part of the crowd HEAR His teaching and SEE His miracles, but they still walk away. They don't SEEK after the meaning of the parables like the disciples do; they are content to participate in social religion but not to FOLLOW the Savior.

One opposite example can be found in Mark 10:46-52. In this passage, Jesus comes to the town of Jericho, and, as He is leaving, blind Bartimaeus (meaning "the son of Timaeus") cries out to Jesus for mercy. He calls Jesus "Son of David," acknowledging his belief that Jesus is the Christ. Jesus calls Bartimaeus to Him, and Bartimaeus tosses aside his garment, comes to Jesus, and asks Him to give him his sight. This miracle of healing the blind is a messianic prophecy- no one else in the Bible performed this task- and asking it of Jesus again points to the man's faith that Jesus is the Messiah.
Jesus heals him and tells him to go his way; Bartimaeus then "followed Jesus on the road." We can see that others' testimony of the works of Christ was enough for this blind man to know who He was and to instill in him the faith to follow.

Seeing isn't always believing. We are given the written Word- eyewitness accounts of Christ, His teaching, and His miracles- and various other evidences of God and His plan of salvation. Just like Bartimaeus, we don't have to see the miracles with our own physical eyes to have the faith that Christ is "the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him." (Heb 5:9)


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