Many times during his three-year ministry on Earth, people must have given Jesus a puzzled look. Although they probably never said it to His face, many of His disciples must have thought He was just plain crazy at times.
Did they really know who He was and what He could do? Jesus' "ambition" for the supernatural simply didn't make sense to even His friends or those who followed Him closely. To the natural mind, many of the things Jesus said or did were utterly absurd.
Here are some things Jesus' followers might have said to Him, or at least thought to themselves (one of them actually was spoken):
- "That man has been crippled for life. Don't waste your time on him."
- "You want me to do what? Walk on water?"
- "Who touched you? You're crowded by people, and you asked who touched you?"
- "You're going to feed how many people with five loaves and two fish?"
- "You're going to do what with Lazarus?"
- "You're going to die and then do what?"
Thomas, one of Jesus' disciples, had a tough time believing the last one, even though he had witnessed the many miracles that Jesus performed. It wasn't enough that the blind were made to see, that the lame were made to walk and that fish and bread were supernaturally multiplied. Thomas still didn't believe what Jesus said He would do.
"Unless I see the nail prints in His Hands, and put my finger in the nail prints, and put my hand in His side, I will not believe" (John 20:25, MEV). It was almost as if Thomas was intentionally defiant.
Are we like Thomas? Why is it that when we hear of miracles, many of which we report on charismanews.com—instant healings, people being raised from the dead, supernatural protection—we don't immediately think, Amen and hallelujah! Praise God! Instead, one of our first thoughts is, Nah, did that really happen?
The thing is, once Thomas got the picture, he never doubted again. In fact, he became Jesus' most well-traveled apostle and became known in Asia as St. Thomas, not Doubting Thomas. Thanks to my pastor, Ed Garvin, for that little gem.
In his book Peace With God: The Secret to Happiness, Billy Graham wrote: "As human beings deprived of the unlimited vision that God originally intended his creatures to have, we cannot comprehend the glory and the magnitude of the Spirit that lies so far outside ourselves. ... It is like trying to explain the sweep and majesty and awe-inspiring grandeur of the ocean to a person who has never seen a body of water larger than a mud puddle! How can such a person envision the boundless sea?"
Graham says that God's mind is not limited as ours are limited. And because of that, we "attempt to limit God as we are limited." We try to deny God the power to do things we can't do.
Graham goes on to say, "When a man knows in His heart that God is an infinite, eternal and unchangeable Spirit, it helps to overcome the temptation to limit Him. It helps to overcome all doubt about His ability to accomplish things that we can't do ourselves!"
If you read last week's Step Out of the Boat, you know that, for much of my life, I too had problems with skepticism when it came to trusting God to do certain things. I learned the hard way that I must trust in Him for everything and that His power is infinite, if only I believe that. Aren't all things possible with God, as His Word says?
Jesus said in Mark 11:24, "Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you will receive them, and you will have them" (MEV). In John 14:13-14 He says, "And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it."
Take those Scriptures to heart and an instant healing of a crippling disease or a report of someone being raised from the dead isn't so far-fetched, is it?
As a Christ follower, is there any reason to doubt God's Word?
What it all comes down to is this: Much like Jesus' disciples, do we really believe that Jesus is who He says He is and that He can and will do what He says He will do? Or do we simply believe that Jesus is simply out of His mind?
And as I always like to say, "there is that."
Step Out of the Boat is a ministry created by Charisma Media Online Manging Editor Shawn A. Akers and dedicated to helping Christ followers strengthen their faith to get beyond their comfort zone and come to more intimate relationship with Jesus. With its articles, podcasts and other forms of media, Step Out of the Boat encourages Christ followers to daily reach to a higher level in their calling.
Shawn A. Akers is the online managing editor at Charisma Media. He is a published poet and published a story about Dale Earnhardt in NASCAR Chicken Soup for the Soul. You can read his blog here. To sign up for his newsletter, "Step Out of the Boat," and other Charisma newsletters, click here. You can also listen to his podcasts, the Javelin Sports Show, on the Charisma Podcast Network.
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