Journal Jn 20 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “Then Simon Peter came, following him (John), and went into the tomb.
He saw the linen cloths lying there, and the face cloth which had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself.
Then the other disciple (who had reached the tomb first) also went in and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead…” John 20:6-9
Observation: An extraordinary statement: “…and he saw and believed…” What was it that the Disciple experience in the three years before that?
Analysis: I have always wondered about the word “believe” as it applies to people and Christianity.
For many, I have observed over the years, the word “Believe” means “Mental Assent”—I agree, but it has no more meaning than that. It is the same application as “the sky is blue” or “water is wet” – I “believe” becomes the same as “I recognize…” or acknowledge or even concede.
Somehow, when the Bible word is translated, “Believe”, it is not the same as when I think of believe.
Here’s John: hanging out with Jesus for 3 years; inner circle of the Disciples; saw miracles, performed miracles; preached the kingdom alongside Jesus; saw everything up through the Cross—and now, at the tomb, saw everything Jesus left including the empty tomb—and now John “believed?” What kicked in to “believe” that the other 36 months didn’t provide?
I can be in the same boat.
It is like I was in one level of “belief” and then something happened so that another octave, higher level of ‘BELIEF” occurred. Is there a significance to what the Scriptures say about John?
There have been times in my life where Faith seemingly dripped in a physical way off me. There have been other times where there was no visual evidence of Faith other than what came out of my mouth—and it felt hypocritical and empty.
The difference between “believing” as recognition of something that exists, or “believing” as in fully engaged in Faith of a consuming fact is commitment to “faithful plodding.” Keep chasing after the Kingdom, try not to relax, have a vision: “Without vision, the people perish…” (Prov 29:18 paraphrased)
It is imperative that I persevere to the End—not just stubbornness in making my mouth say the right words (“I believe”) but making my life evidence of the right words. “…but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of the Scriptures, to exhortation, to teaching….practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all my see your progress…” (1 Tim 4:12b-15)
I don’t know what happened to John to go from “believe” to “BELIEVE”—maybe I need to do a Greek word study – but I have this conclusion: I don’t want to walk in some kind of holy obstinacy, just affirming by stubborn rote “I am saved”, I want to walk worthy of the calling I have been called to, the Gospel all my days.
Prayer: Father, make it so, in me and all that read this, and I touch every day.
Thank you for the confirming word given to my wife this morning.