I’ve been reading out of the Message Bible lately. I am in the book of John which is full of miracles and healings and unusual experiences for many people who crossed paths with Jesus. This morning I noticed the connection that Jesus keeps pointing out between hearing and believing. Sometimes he begins by saying “listen;” other times he says “hear me.” Sometimes he just speaks and it becomes obvious from the response that some hear and reject him and some hear and believe.
Consider the Samaritan woman who heard and believed. She had every reason to roll her eyes and walk away, but rather when He spoke, she listened.
Or consider the man at Bethesda who had been lying by the water for 37 years. When Jesus asked him “Do you want to be healed?” He answered with an explanation of why he couldn’t be healed. Jesus looked straight at him and said “Get up. Roll up your mat. Walk.” It says he was healed on the spot. Apparently he listened and believed.
Now consider the many followers and Pharisees that Jesus spoke to about his body and his blood. He went into a rather gory and visceral explanation about how they had to eat his body and drink his blood to enter into eternal life. It says many turned away. Even His disciples said, “This is a tough teaching. Too hard to swallow.”
As they rejected Him and began to walk away, Jesus turned to his twelve core disciples and directly asked if they were leaving too. Simon Peter looked at Him and said.
“Master, to whom would we go? You have the words of real life, eternal life. We’ve already committed ourselves, confident that you are the Holy One of God.” John 6:68-70 MES
I can relate to this passage.
Christ has said some hard things to me in the last year, things I found “hard to swallow.” (Things like square up, trust me, wait on me, rest in me, choose me.) These things have been hard to hear and believe because the believing proceeds the miracle.
I heard, but I had not yet seen.
I don’t know if I would have believed if I wasn’t already fully committed and confident that Christ is the Holy One of God.
But I am convinced.
And I do believe.
Therefore, when He speaks to me (even if hard to understand or receive) I find His words bring life to me.
In a moment of one on one revelation, His word breathes on my tired soul and my faith springs forth. I am filled with a fresh dose of life. This life produces a burst of energy, vitality, strength, and courage. In that moment I realize again, He alone has the words of real life.
In John, the ones who heard and believed experienced many miracles, healings, supernatural signs and wonders.
The Samaritan woman became an evangelist, inviting a city full of people she had reason to hide from to come and meet a man who knew everything about her. When they arrived, they listened and believed too.
The man at Bethesda didn’t even know who helped him get healed. A few days later He and Jesus crossed paths again in the temple and He began to understand that the Messiah had come. He reported who healed him to the Jews. They listened and rejected him.
And what about those twelve disciples? Eleven listened and believed and rocked the world. One listened and rejected him and came to the end of himself.
I find that I too am experiencing healing, miracles, signs and wonders. Thankfully, my body is being renewed despite the challenges of treatment and the ravages of disease. But more than that, my soul is being transformed. His life producing words are so powerful that they are changing me from the inside out. I am being resurrected.
Jesus is speaking to the whole world but only a few are listening, Even fewer can make the same confession of Simon Peter, recognizing that there is no other place to go for the words of life because they have believed that He is the Holy One of God.
If you face hardships you never expected, then let me encourage you to run to Jesus, don’t reject Him. Ask Him to speak to you, then listen carefully. Listen again. Listen until hope springs up. It will be the sign that you believe. Now grasp hold of that hope and hang on. Miracles are coming.