4-21-17 - Believing For Your Life

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.

Why did John write down the Jesus story? He tells us in this week’s gospel passage: so that his readers may come to believe in Jesus’ messianic and divine identity, and “through believing you may have life in his name.” Paul, too, links spiritual vitality with believing in Jesus’ divine self. Even Jesus says that those who believe he is who he says he is will have eternal life. This believing stuff is not a minor detail.

Yet reading a story about Jesus’ resurrection activities and conversations does not by itself confer faith. Most of us need to experience the power of the Risen Christ for ourselves if we are to put our faith in him. What the written record does is invite us into the Great Story of God’s love for us expressed in Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. It brings us to the threshold. It’s up to us to step in and live it.

Do you feel you have experienced the reality of Christ in some way or fashion? If we expect to see him the way Mary or the Eleven or the two on the Emmaus road did, we may feel we’re lacking that experience. Visual and aural Jesus sightings are rare… possibly non-existent. Jesus said as much to his followers – he said when he left, the Father would send the Holy Spirit to them. It is the Spirit who brings the presence of Christ to us in a way we can experience.

When we feel the Holy Spirit in or around us – whether by a sensation, or an insight, or seeing answer to prayer, or some other way – it is the Spirit of Christ we are experiencing. When we have a holy encounter with another person, it may be that we are meeting Christ in them. As we become more attuned to that presence, we can more readily accept that Christ is a part of us, in our lives – and thus we are led to believe more fully. His life in us leads to believing, and believing leads to more of His life in us. We become vessels for others experiencing his life, and on and on it goes.

The word for “I believe” is Credo. The creeds of the church are statements of what the gathered community came to affirm as its core beliefs. They deal mostly with matters that were confusing or controversial – they’re not comprehensive.
So what are your beliefs about Christ?
Can you take some time today to write your own Credo?
Has it changed from earlier times? Do you think it is still evolving? If you don’t know what you believe about Christ, that would be a good thing to bring up in prayer.

“Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe,” Jesus says to Thomas after he affirms Jesus as his Lord and God. You and I have not had the advantage that Thomas and the others did, of seeing Jesus with our eyes and hearing his voice and touching his wounds. I guess that means we are blessed indeed, for we have had to develop our “faith vision.”

Did you ever think that not seeing would be an asset? When it comes to believing, it is.

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