Daily Readings and Thought for October 23rd. “… THAT YOU ALSO MAY BELIEVE”
What do you believe? What do people believe today? Most people seem to have given up trying to believe anything except what they can see and touch. For many, life is like the man in the parable that Jesus told, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”‘[Luke 12 v.19] But that night he died, as the next verse tells us. And the lesson Jesus draws? Verse 21 tells us, “So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”
Today, for nearly everyone, life is increasingly uncertain, there is nothing they feel they can believe – in the long term sense, so they concentrate more and more on finding ways to “relax, eat, drink, be merry.”
What started our thinking along these lines is what we read today in the 19th chapter of John’s gospel. John, who stood by the cross with Jesus’ mother (v.26) witnessed all that happened and, as Jesus had said earlier, as we read in ch. 14 v.29, “I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe.”
As John spells out in detail the awesome events of the crucifixion, he says “these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled” [v.36,37]. In Psalms 22 v.16-17 and 34 v.20 we read the Scriptures that were then being fulfilled. Verse 18 of Psalm 22 also forecast how they would “divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots” – fulfilled by the solders beside the cross as v.24 tells us. Today there is clear evidence with the discovery of the Dead Sea scrolls that this was written long before these events took place.
Now note what John declares in v. 35 “He who saw it has borne witness—his testimony is true, and he knows that he is telling the truth—that you also may believe.” And so they did believe – as the testimonies of the disciples were written and spread abroad in the first and second centuries! And again as the Bible was translated and spread round the world in recent centuries.
But today the question Jesus asked and which we read in Luke 18 v.8, echoes in our minds, “when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” Real belief and faith only comes through reading and absorbing God’s word every day – let us make sure we each do this – and strengthen each other whenever we get together, “making the best use of the (our) time, because the days are evil.” [Eph. 5 v.16]