“BELIEVE IN GOD”
In what circumstances did Jesus say, “Believe in God”? What is it to believe in something? When we or someone says. “I believe” there can obviously be varying intensities of meaning depending on the circumstances! If someone rushes in and says, “I believe the house is on fire” everyone who hears immediately acts to verify its truth and to then take whatever action they can without delay.
In our John readings we have the final message of Jesus before his arrest, a personal message to strengthen the disciples spiritually after Judas the betrayer has left. Ch. 14 starts, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.” They will need the deepest convictions of belief in their minds when, in a very short space of time he is arrested and they are overwhelmed with anxieties, only one of them was faithful to Jesus up until the end. When we come to ch. 19 where the frightful crucifixion scene is described our eyes light on v. 25-27, “… standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby … he said to the disciple, ‘Behold your mother!’ And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.”
In times of total stress acts of supporting one another will be essential. Are not such times now more plainly on the horizon of our world than ever! The way we cope will show – to ourselves whether we really “believe in God.” The hearts of the disciples were “troubled” – but after the resurrection they acted with heart-felt belief. What dramas do we read about in Acts! These excite and challenge us! Ch. 4 tells us how the disciples were arrested for “proclaiming Jesus and the resurrection of the dead … but many of those who heard the word believed …” [v.2 - 4] With what conviction the disciples believed now – and showed that conviction of belief by their actions.
Recall that after Jesus told the disciples to “believe in God” – he then said “Let not your hearts be troubled” Surely he is saying that to believers now. Notice how he says this again later in the chapter – it is so important. Verse 27 – memorise it. “Peace I leave with you: my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let them be afraid” Heartfelt prayer and meditation on God’s word provide the foundation for possessing his “peace.”