Dr. Doug Posey
In our small group last night, we were discussing how we take for granted the things we believe as Christians—concepts that likely sound utterly foreign to an unbeliever and might have once been equally as unbelievable to some of us. Someone compared it to the idea of landing a man on the moon. In retrospect, we may think, “Been there done that, no big deal.” But, I’m old enough to remember President Kennedy back in the sixties setting the bold goal, "before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth.” That was both inspiring and unbelievably ambitious. But, it became a reality.
Our train of thought was nothing new. I did some checking and the great preacher of the 19th Century, Charles Spurgeon used an illustration on a similar track, pertinent to his time,
The electric telegraph, though it be but an invention of man, would have been as hard to believe in a thousand years ago as the resurrection of the dead is now. Who in the days of packhorses would have believed in flashing a message from England to America? Everything is full of wonder till we are used to it, and resurrection owes the incredible portion of its marvel to our never having come across it in our observation—that is all. After the resurrection we shall regard it as a divine display of power as familiar to us as creation and providence now are.
Charles H. Spurgeon in the Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit
To those for whom faith in Christ and all it involves is not a reality, we may get frustrated from our side of belief, not understanding why. Try to imagine being a believer in the first Century. Is it a bit easier to see why faith in Jesus might have been more of a challenge? Envision not having centuries of Christianity leading up to your conversion. You wouldn’t have the benefit of the Church Fathers, systematic theologies, ecclesiastical history and everything that helps to form a foundation upon which you stand today.
Picture being a Jew, for example, with the security of a bonafide religion. Think about abandoning that for an upstart sect led by One who had a three-year earthly rabbinic ministry. Then He was executed by crucifixion. He supposedly rose from the dead. Not only that, He ascended into heaven. Doesn’t it make more sense to leave it at Abraham, Moses, the Torah, David and the prophets?
It’s no wonder even Jesus’ closest disciples dispersed and hid after Good Friday. Now that Jesus was dead they must have regretted being with Him. He had pushed back on their childhood faith, introducing such strange beliefs. But, once they were convinced of Who Jesus—the resurrected Christ—was, there was no turning back; once the Holy Spirit filled them, everything changed.
By chapter eight of Hebrews, the writer reaches the pinnacle of his argument for convincing Jewish believers of the superiority of faith in Christ. For the First Century Jewish believer, the pull back to what they had known before had been so strong that many were finding security in their religion. But, it really offered no security. He spent the first seven chapters proving Christ’s preeminence over everything they had believed. Going back would be far worse than going back to pre-moon landing days for us. More like going back to the time of packhorses. Of course, in their case it would have eternal consequences.
If you’ve arrived on this side of belief, don’t take it for granted. Don’t despise those who find your faith strange. You may have been in the same boat. Remember the importance of lovingly letting people know about the preeminence of Christ over anything they may currently believe. Even Jesus’ closest disciples doubted.
“For you are bringing some strange things to our ears; so we want to know what these things mean.”