Perspective 1- Pastor Ron

“Even after Jesus had performed so many signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him.”  (John 12:37)

Perhaps you have had the same thought that I have had – If we could see some undeniable miracles from Jesus it would be easier to convince the world about Him.  Certainly my neighbors would come to faith if wine started flowing out of the garden hose or I walked across the pool.  A dramatic miracle or two would be just the right thing to turn cold hearts into ones warmed by the love of God!

Apparently not, “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1)  If faith were based upon a miracle here or there – it wouldn’t be faith.  Faith is being called into a relationship with Jesus where you love and trust Him above all else.

If the above is true, then what do we do with the passage that says after raising Lazarus from the dead, many put their faith in Him?  Perhaps this goes back to the parable of the sower from the last chapter.  Some seed falls upon rocky soil.  They quickly receive it, but since they have no root, they last only a short time.  When trouble comes, they fall away.  It is not long after the raising of Lazarus that Jesus is arrested and tried by Pilot.  How many in the crowd shouting crucify Him were there when He raised Lazarus?  Some perhaps, but maybe not all.

In the end, it is God who calls people to faith.  People have the incredible power to refuse that call.  We, as followers of Jesus, must continue to give the Spirit the opportunity to work on the hearts of our friends and neighbors—always remembering it is God who will call them to faith, being through your words or through a modern-day miracle.  God uses whatever method He deems appropriate for each person.

Perspective 2- Barb Miles

Jesus told His disciples about his future multiple times but at what point did they really understand what He was saying?  When Jesus was asking His disciples “Who do people say I am?”, Jesus told them the Son of Man would be killed and rise again.  But Peter took Jesus aside and rebuked Him.

Nearing the time of Jesus capture, they were heading into Jerusalem.  Jesus told the disciples again the Son of Man would be delivered over to the chief priests, and He would be condemned to death but rise three days later.

After Jesus had been in Jerusalem teaching, He and the disciples heard a voice from heaven, and Jesus told them the time had come for judgment on the world.  Still, the disciples did not understand or believe what was soon to happen.

How many times in a conversation have we heard someone speak, nodded our heads as if we understood and then went on?  Is this how the disciples felt?  They heard what He had said, but at what time did they really understand?

Perspective 3- Laura Rath

In this week’s chapter, we read the story of the man who ran to Jesus, fell on his knees, and asked Him what he needed to do to inherit eternal life. The man knew the Commandments, and told Jesus he’s obeyed them since he was a boy.

“Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.”

The man was obedient in keeping the law and sincerely wanted to know what else he should do. But at the mention of giving away his wealth, the man was disappointed and left. He didn’t ask questions. He didn’t think about it. It seems that he already knew he either couldn’t do it, or wouldn’t.

It made me wonder…what separates me from God, and would I give it up if He asked me to?

How about you? Is there something you would struggle with giving up if God asked you to?

Perspective 4- Dan Petrak