Monday, November 12, 2007

Are you a Christian?

There is a passage in the Gospel of John that I have not heard preached in too many sermons. It comes not far ahead of the most quoted verse in John, the one every Sunday School child learns, ch 3 vs 16. You know that one about God loving the world and sending His Son?

That passage to which I refer is chapter 2, vs 23-25 (NKJV):

Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did. But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men, and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man.

Have you ever pondered these verses? I find it interesting that Jesus commits Himself to men. I find it even more amazing that He considers us worth the trouble. It makes me wonder why I follow Christ. Am I a follower because of what He has done? Does Jesus “believe” in me? After all, the word commit in verse 24 is from the same Greek word translated believe in 23.


mommy said...

Came here from Worldmag and proud to be your "first." I'll check back often; please brew some tea.

Gary said...

I, too, have been intrigued by your posts on Worldmag and so have "followed" you here; and am enjoying your "Pondering."
You wrote that you "find it interesting that Jesus commits Himself to men."
I have no desire to argue; I usually ask questions wholly conversationally and never to attack. So, please take my questions in the spirit of an enjoyment of education, which I embrace, for I am a "lifelong learner."
I have thought Jesus committed himself to His father; that He wholly trusted (as He obeyed) His Father, just as Isaac consciously and deliberately submitted to sacrifice himself at His father's hand. Could it be, then, that Jesus did NOT ever commit Himself to men (as it seems to say to me in the verse)? I know this is a very minor point. I am respectfully asking, merely out of interest and a wish to clarify ("as iron sharpens iron") my understanding of even minor passages of Scripture.

Also, you wrote: "It makes me wonder why I follow Christ. Am I a follower because of what He has done?" Probably MY favorite verse in the entire Bible is Job's declaration: "Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him." (Job 13:15, NKJV)I feel (hope!) I am growing ever closer to keeping that kind of trust in my heart for My Father, my Savior, my Friend.
Respectfully, winsometochrist

Peter L said...

Gary- Welcome!

My use of the word “commit” when referring to Jesus’ relation to man is only based on the passage referenced in John. I think in this passage, Jesus was not committing Himself to those who only followed Him because of the miracles. This idea is further played out in John 6, when many turned away from Him because of what He said there (that we must eat His flesh, etc.) They were taking Him literally, instead of figuratively. Whether Jesus literally commits Himself to / believes in men is not very clear from John 2 (thus my final question).

My question of whether I follow Jesus because of what He has done refers to the miracles, not the work on cross. Perhaps I will reword that for clarification.

Thank you for sharpening this piece of iron. (And I like the verse in Job you mention.)

Gary said...

Dear Peter,
Thank you for the clarifications; they are very helpful! Now I think I understand; your introspection was a kind of "check" to see whether you are like the people in the crowds who merely followed Jesus for distraction, entertainment or because his ministry was a sensation. I suppose it would not hurt to check myself, also, for certainty about what motivates my following Jesus.

Q. I believe the Holy Spirit "bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God" (Romans 8:16). Have you ever experienced something rather extraordinary, yourself, that you would say is a living example of what Paul here asserts?

Peter L said...

Gary- I cannot say that I personally have “experienced” anything other than being flooded with peace.

Gary said...

Excellent! I wish everyone I love could have the same peace, and security, confidence in the promises our Father has given us. God's grace and continued blessings to you this evening.