October 31, 2020

Pastoral Nuggets: Defining Moments

Brother-Aaron-236x300Have you ever read a passage of scripture for years and then read it again one day only to see something you have never seen before? Such is the case with me and the passage of scripture that I am writing about today. I read John 6:69(KJV) the other day.

Peter speaking to Jesus says, “And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.” Nothing too outstanding about what Peter says, is there?

However, let me write it in such a way as to change the emphasis on what you are reading. “And we believe AND ARE SURE that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.”

When I read this passage and zeroed in on the “…and are sure…” portion, I shook my head and wondered when they put that in the Bible. I had never paid any attention to it being there before.

At first I thought Peter was just being redundant, after all, he had just said he “believed” Jesus was the Christ.  Aren’t “believing” and “being sure” the same thing? Then it began to sink in on me that they are not!

As I pondered on this I began to realize that “belief” is faith without evidence. However, “being sure” or “knowing” is faith with evidence.

Forty years ago when I asked Marianne to marry me I “believed” she loved me. After forty years of marriage, four children, seven grandchildren and three dogs, I’m “sure” she loves me. I have experiential proof of that fact!

In the scriptures leading up to John 6:69 Jesus has just done some pretty rough teaching to His disciples. He tells them that they aren’t following Him because they saw Him do miracles, but because of the food in their bellies and that they need to be laboring for Spiritual things – not food! (That’s tough!) They were seeking a sign and they used the illustration of God sending manna in the wilderness. He then tells them He is that Bread that came down from heaven. (This is tough!)

And as He’s teaching, they are reasoning: We know His parents. How can He come down from heaven? He then tells them that they see Him but don’t believe in Him. He then told them no man could come to Him but by the Father. Then He tells them they have to eat His flesh and drink His blood. He then tells them that the words He is speaking are Spirit and Life! Then in verse 70, He tells them one of them is a devil! This was tough teaching! And this tough teaching led Peter and the disciples to a defining moment in their faith walk with Jesus.

The Scripture says that because of His teachings, many of His disciples followed Him no more. Hear me, when we as Christians face life’s defining moments, those moments that test our faith, they will always do one of two things. They will draw us closer to Jesus or push us away. There is no middle ground. (Here’s a lesson we need to learn. The Bible does not say Jesus went running after the ones that left begging them to stay and come back. Ponder on this!)

He then looks at the twelve and asks if they were going to leave Him too. Then Peter, in my opinion makes one of the greatest confessions of faith in the Bible. He says, John 6:68(KJV) “Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? …” To borrow a poker term, they are “all in” with Jesus.  They have abandoned all to follow Him. They have no alternatives.

Peter then says, 68(b) (KJV), “… thou hast the words of eternal life.” Although Peter didn’t always understand His words, or live up to what His words required, he knew His words were different. They contained life. And whenever we plant God’s words into the dead circumstances of our lives, it won’t be long until new life will begin to sprout!

And finally, as I have already stated, Peter was “sure” Jesus was the Son of the Living God. When Peter faced this defining moment in his faith walk with Jesus he realized that all that was required of him was to just be sure that Jesus is the Son of the Living God and that He was in control of all his life situations.  Hey, that’s all that is required of us.

In life, I have learned two great things.  1: There is only one God.  2:  I’m not Him. Therefore, when I face defining moments in my faith walk, it’s best for me to let God be God and “know” He is in control of all things – even me.  How about you? Have you learned to do the same?

 

Brother Aaron

 

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