“I am thirsty!” John 19:28 (NIV)
Mark’s account tells us that Jesus had turned down the offer of a drink earlier as they led Him to the cross.
“And they brought Jesus to a place called Golgotha (which means ‘Place of the Skull’). They offered Him wine drugged with myrrh, but He refused it. Then the soldiers nailed Him to the cross.” Mark 15:22-24a (NLT)
The intent of this mixture was to help dull the senses in anticipation of the excruciating pain for one being crucified. But, Jesus wouldn’t have it. He refused to escape from any of the pain or accept temporary comfort but chose, instead, to remain in command of all His senses. After almost six hours on the cross, had He changed His mind? Certainly the enormous drain of energy, perspiration and loss of blood would create enough dehydration to be thirsty. Yet, when you read the account in John, I think you will agree that He wasn’t asking for a drink to satisfy His thirst alone. There was another reason.
This fifth statement from Jesus while on the cross is closely related to the final two. I believe the reason Jesus asked for something to drink had more to do with what He was about to say. With the cross as His pulpit, Jesus was about to preach His final sermon, and He needed a clear voice to do it. What He was about to say would be too profound, too triumphant to be muttered or choked out. In His humanity, He needed help to prepare for what He was about to say as well as to fulfill two prophecies in the Old Testament found in Psalm 22:15 and 69:21.
Here’s another dimension of grace we find from the cross. Grace means humbly admitting my need. One author put it like this,
“Jesus’ plea for a drink is a reminder that no one is so in control, so spiritual, so self-sufficient, that he can make it through a bad day without people to help him. … If the Son of God requested help during Calvary’s struggle, I am wise to remember that I will have times I need to ask for help, for human assistance, as an avenue of divine grace.”
This isn’t an escape from accepting my own responsibilities but recognition that, in times of overload, I have a community of faith to call on for help to clarify my own confession of faith.
Are you carrying a burden too heavy to bear? Do you feel crushed under its weight and immobilized? Be humble enough to admit your need. As you do, you’ll find greater clarity that will strengthen your faith and embolden you to stand strong. This is one of the great benefits to being actively involved in a community of faith.
“Two are better than one, … If one falls down, his friend can help him up.” Eccl. 4:9 (NIV)
“My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Matthew 27:46 (NIV)
Perhaps the most dramatic words Jesus spoke from the cross are these,
“My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
You can almost feel the mental and emotional anguish in those words. Why? Why have You left Me now? Anyone who has ever experienced abandonment can relate. This was the central moment on the cross. It is the fourth of seven final statements. Isaiah 53 tells us that the Lord had laid upon Jesus the iniquity of us all. He took upon Himself the sins of humanity that caused the first breach in fellowship with His Father who was too holy to behold iniquity. And it’s filled with questions. While we could never imagine the depth of Jesus’ pain, we’ve all had times when we felt forsaken, even God-forsaken and wondered, “Why, God?” In those moments, remember you have a Savior who has been there. Jesus understood the despair you feel and taught us a lesson about grace that will keep us from falling. Grace means taking my tough questions to God. God is big enough to handle them. It’s okay to cry out to God and ask why. In fact, it’s the healthiest thing you can do in your darkest hours. In those moments, your greatest need is for God Himself, even more than answers. You need His presence, His assurance, His love. Although He may seem absent, He is not far away. He promised He would never leave us or forsake us. Yet, there are times He may withdraw His conscious presence, and we feel abandoned. Where is He? Job certainly felt that way in his trials. As he searched for God, Job complained,
“But if I go to the east, He is not there; if I go to the west, I do not find Him. When He is at work in the north, I do not see Him; when He turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of Him. But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” Job 23:8-10 (NIV)
Wow! While grace teaches us to take our tough questions to God, faith leans on His promises. God knows, and God cares.
“Jesus said to him, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.’” Luke 23:43 (NKJV)
Despite His own unimaginable suffering, Jesus offered assurance and comfort to others while He was dying on the cross. The first was to an undeserving criminal who was dying beside Him, and the other was to His own mother. While the soldiers gambled for Jesus’ clothing and the people mocked Him, a brief debate arose between two criminals being crucified beside Him. At first, Jesus was only a spectator in their exchange. Luke gives us the account in verses 39 to 42.
“One of the criminals hanging beside Him scoffed, ‘So You’re the Messiah, are You? Prove it by saving Yourself—and us, too, while You’re at it!’ But the other criminal protested, ‘Don’t you fear God even when you have been sentenced to die? We deserve to die for our crimes, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong.’ Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when You come into Your Kingdom.’”
Once again, grace unfolds as Jesus looked at this dying criminal and said what he so desperately needed to hear.
“I assure you, today you will be with Me in paradise.” (Vs. 43 NLT)
Both men seemed to be aware of the claims made about Jesus. The sign above His head was written in three languages: “THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.” (Vs. 38) While one was cynical and angry, mocking Jesus’ power and seeking his own self-preservation, the other rebuked him accepting the consequences of his own criminal behavior. He also seemed to be aware that Jesus had done nothing wrong to deserve punishment. In a clear confession of his own sinfulness, he made a humble request,
“Jesus, remember me when You come into Your Kingdom.” (Vs. 42)
I’m impressed with how Jesus answered this dying man. Notice that Jesus didn’t just say, “Today, you will be with Me.” He said, “I assure you …” Jesus knew what this poor soul needed most – assurance! He could die in peace knowing that the promise of God gave him the assurance he needed. There was hope beyond the grave. He could face eternity with the confidence of knowing that his sins were forgiven. His Savior died for every crime he ever committed and offered him a clear pardon!
Grace is giving hope to the hopeless even when we are experiencing the same struggle as they are. Heaven isn’t a place for perfect people. It’s a place for forgiven people. Sadly, only one of the two thieves would be humble enough to admit his need. What about you? If you and I got what we deserved, it would simply be karma. But, Jesus killed karma at the cross, and He instead offers us the same grace that He offered that dying thief. You can experience the same assurance as he did by simply admitting your need and asking Jesus to save you. Do it today.
“When Jesus saw His mother there, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, ‘Dear woman, here is your son,’ and to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.” John 19:26-27 (NIV)
There were two other women along with Mary, the mother of Jesus, at the cross and only one remaining disciple, John. All the others had fled for fear of the Romans and the Jewish leaders. No words could possibly describe the unimaginable pain Mary would have suffered watching her son tortured and dying a horrific death on a cross. As with the dying thief beside Him, Jesus took time to care for the needs of His mother. Knowing what she was suffering, despite His own agony, He secured her future care by entrusting her to His beloved disciple, John. In His day, the care of parents depended on the firstborn. There was not a social welfare system to secure the well-being of an aged parent. By this time, Joseph is no longer mentioned and most likely dead. Neither Mary nor Joseph was wealthy, and most likely Mary had little means for support apart from her remaining family. We also know from scripture that neither Jesus’ brothers nor sisters accepted His claim as Messiah until after His resurrection. With Jesus dead, what would happen to Mary? It would only have been natural, given all that Jesus was suffering, to have focused on His own pain. Once again, we see grace unfold. Grace means shifting my focus to the pain of others. In grace, Jesus refused to allow His present pain to dull His sensitivity to the needs of those who depended on Him. When we truly experience Calvary’s love, we grow in grace to a place of concern for others that is greater than our own welfare.
Grace shifts my focus to the pain of others and puts their needs above my own, despite whatever I’m going through. That’s Calvary’s love. It’s a supernatural response that requires a supernatural God indwelling me. If you’re going through a rough time, don’t take it out on others. Take it to the Lord. In His grace, shift your focus from your own pain to the pain that those closest to you may be feeling, and do what you can to meet their needs.
“‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.’” Luke 23:34 (NIV)
The last sayings of Jesus on the cross are among the most profound statements of grace ever uttered. They reveal the very heart and character of God, His boundless love for mankind and His unrelenting grace! Nowhere is His deity and humanity more exposed than in those final six hours when He suffered and died for you and me. Jesus’ very first statement, recorded in Luke’s gospel, sets the tone and reveals the attitude of Christ toward His merciless offenders. In Luke 23:34,
“Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.’”
The natural man would have said, “Father, get them! Hurt them like they are hurting me! Let them have it!” Bitterness is a natural reaction to hurt. Forgiveness is a supernatural reaction. When Jesus prayed for His offenders and asked His Father to forgive them, He taught us all something about grace.
Grace means releasing my bitterness. Are you still holding onto hurt? Has resentment created a root of bitterness in your heart toward someone who offended you? The problem with holding onto hurt is that it empowers the one who hurt you. They maintain control over you. Forgiveness releases you from their control. They can no longer victimize you. Not only did Jesus teach us to forgive, but He taught us how by giving us a point of reference. The starting place to forgive others is found in Jesus’ prayer, which is often overlooked.
“‘… they do not know what they are doing.’”
That is not how we feel when we are hurt! On the contrary, it seems that the ones who have wronged us knew exactly what they were doing, and they did it intentionally! Here’s where we begin to understand the mystery of sin:
“Even when sin is calculated, planned thoroughly, conceived carefully, and executed efficiently, no one really understands the depth or dimension of sin’s destructiveness or the degree of its horrible damage to people. In a very real sense, every sin is a sin of ignorance.” 1 Corinthians 2:8 says,
“… for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.”
If you’ve struggled with forgiving others, or even forgiving yourself, here’s a starting point for you. Every sin I commit, or that is committed against me, is one of ignorance no matter how intentional it was. If I want to be free from bitterness, I must forgive in the same way I was forgiven. When I do, I experience an incredible release from the shackles of resentment.
“Very early on Sunday morning the women went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. They found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. So they went in, but they didn’t find the body of the Lord Jesus. As they stood there puzzled, two men suddenly appeared to them, clothed in dazzling robes. The women were terrified and bowed with their faces to the ground. Then the men asked, ‘Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Remember what he told you back in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that He would rise again on the third day.’” Luke 24:1-7 (NLT)
While skeptics and critics continue to try to put Jesus back in the grave, the empty tomb is an enduring symbol of the resurrection. Even when the women went to the tomb to anoint Jesus’ body early that Sunday morning, Dr. Luke tells us:
“They found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. So they went in, but they didn’t find the body of the Lord Jesus.” Luke 24:2-3 (NLT)
Could they have gone to the wrong tomb? Almost as if he anticipated that question, Dr. Luke points out in the previous chapter that the women watched carefully as Joseph took the body down from the cross, wrapped it in a long sheet of linen cloth, and laid it in a new tomb that had been carved out of a rock. In Luke 23:55, he writes:
“As His body was taken away, the women from Galilee followed and saw the tomb where His body was placed.”
Furthermore, as they stood in the tomb wondering what could have happened they encountered the angels who asked them,
“Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead!” Luke 24:5-6 (NLT)
The strongest evidence for the empty tomb were the eyewitness accounts of the resurrection. In addition to the women who visited the tomb, Jesus was seen by over 500 eyewitnesses at one time. In 1 Corinthians 15, the apostle Paul wrote:
“He was seen by Peter and then by the Twelve. After that, He was seen by more than 500 of His followers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. Then He was seen by James and later by all the apostles. Last of all, as though I had been born at the wrong time, I also saw Him.” 1 Corinthians 15:5-8 (NLT)
In his book, The Case for Christ, former atheist and legal editor Lee Strobel writes,
“Without question, the amount of testimony and corroboration of Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances is staggering. To put it into perspective, if you were to call each one of the witnesses to a court of law to be cross-examined for just fifteen minutes each, and you went around the clock without a break, it would take you from breakfast on Monday until dinner on Friday to hear them all. After listening to 129 straight hours of eyewitness testimony, who could possibly walk away unconvinced?”
Are you still looking among the dead for one who is alive? Open your mind and your heart to the evidence, and seek Him who has risen from the dead. Receive His life today! The gospel writer John, who was the only disciple at the crucifixion and one of the first to see the empty tomb, wrote:
“Yet to all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.” John 1:12 (NIV)
You can experience the risen Christ in your life today. How?
Believe + Receive = Become!
The message of Easter is simple. The tomb is empty so that your life may be filled!
“As the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and told the leading priests what had happened. A meeting with the elders was called, and they decided to give the soldiers a large bribe. They told the soldiers, ‘You must say, ‘Jesus’ disciples came during the night while we were sleeping, and they stole his body.’ If the governor hears about it, we’ll stand up for you so you won’t get in trouble.’ So the guards accepted the bribe and said what they were told to say. Their story spread widely among the Jews, and they still tell it today.” Matthew 28:11-15 (NLT)
Having encountered the risen Christ, the women left the empty tomb with a message of excitement and anticipation that Jesus would meet with His disciples in Galilee! At the same time, the religious leaders were getting the news from the guards that the stone had been rolled away and Jesus was gone! Fearing the fallout after a public execution and knowing that Jesus had predicted He would rise again, the religious leaders concocted an unbelievable response:
“A meeting of the elders was called, and they decided to give the soldiers a large bribe. They told the soldiers, ‘You must say, ‘Jesus’ disciples came during the night while we were sleeping, and they stole his body.’” Matthew 28:12-13 (NLT)
Could it have happened that way? The story sounded plausible, and many believe it even today. But, there are several problems with the stolen body theory.
First, the religious leaders anticipated a possible theft and, even, forewarned the governor with a strong appeal to have the tomb guarded. In the previous chapter, Matthew tells us:
“The next day, on the Sabbath, the leading priests and Pharisees went to see Pilate. They told him, ‘Sir, we remember what that deceiver once said while He was still alive: ‘After three days I will rise from the dead.’ So we request that you seal the tomb until the third day. This will prevent His disciples from coming and stealing His body and then telling everyone He was raised from the dead! If that happens, we’ll be worse off than we were at first.’ Pilate replied, ‘Take guards and secure it the best you can.” So they sealed the tomb and posted guards to protect it.’” Matthew 27:62-66 (NLT)
Second, how would the soldiers know who stole the body if they were asleep when it allegedly happened?
Finally, how would a stolen corpse transform the discouraged disposition of the disciples and cause them to give their lives for a resurrected Christ if He was, in fact, dead?
“When you read the New Testament, there’s no doubt that the disciples sincerely believed the truth of the resurrection. The idea that the empty tomb is the result of some hoax, conspiracy, or theft is simply dismissed today.” – William Lane Craig, PhD, DTh
It was the day of preparation, and the Jewish leaders didn’t want the bodies hanging there the next day, which was the Sabbath (and a very special Sabbath, because it was the Passover). So they asked Pilate to hasten their deaths by ordering that their legs be broken. Then their bodies could be taken down. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the two men crucified with Jesus. But when they came to Jesus, they saw that He was already dead, so they didn’t break His legs. One of the soldiers, however, pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water flowed out. (This report is from an eyewitness giving an accurate account. He speaks the truth so that you also can believe.) John 19:31-35 (NLT)
In his book, The Case for Christ, Lee Strobel raises a legitimate question in an interview with a former research scientist who taught at the University of California, Alexander Metherell, MD, PhD, as to whether Jesus really died on the cross:
“But how certain was death by this crude, slow, and rather inexact form of execution called crucifixion? In fact, most people aren’t sure how the cross kills its victims. And without a trained medical examiner to officially attest that Jesus had died, might he have escaped the experience brutalized and bleeding but nevertheless alive?”
The same concern was expressed by the Jewish leaders at the time of Jesus’ crucifixion. They wanted to be certain of His death and have His body removed with the others before the Sabbath that would begin at sundown that evening. They asked the Roman Governor, Pilate, to hasten their deaths by ordering that their legs be broken. This explains Dr. Metherell’s response to Strobel:
“Once a person is hanging in the vertical position, crucifixion is essentially an agonizingly slow death by asphyxiation. The reason is that the stresses on the muscles and diaphragm put the chest into the inhaled position; basically, in order to exhale, the individual must push up on his feet so the tension on the muscles would be eased for a moment. … After managing to exhale, the person would then be able to relax down and take another breath in.” The person would be incapable of such action once his legs were broken.
When the soldiers came to hasten the deaths of those on the cross by breaking their legs, they noticed that Jesus was already dead. To confirm this assumption, one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water flowed out. Dr. Matherell continues his explanation from a scientific and medical perspective.
“Before Jesus died, the hypovolemic shock (of losing vast amounts of blood from His scourging prior to the cross) would have caused a sustained rapid heart rate that would have contributed to heart failure, resulting in the collection of fluid in the membrane around the heart, called a pericardial effusion, as well as around the lungs, which is called a pleural effusion … when the Roman soldier came around and, being fairly certain that Jesus was dead, confirmed it by thrusting a spear into His right side … so when the spear was pulled out, some fluid – the pericardial effusion and the pleural effusion – came out. This would have the appearance of a clear fluid, like water, followed by a large volume of blood, as the eyewitness John described in his gospel.”
“There was absolutely no doubt that Jesus was dead.”
Even if the skeptics were right, and Jesus’ didn’t die but somehow managed to emerge from the tomb, He would have been in no condition to convince the discouraged and defeated disciples that He had triumphed over the grave! Their lives were transformed by a living and victorious Savior – not a half-dead, pathetic zombie.
“Pilate was surprised to hear that He was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him if Jesus had already died.” Mark 15:44 (NIV)
Critics of the resurrection of Jesus Christ have long sought to discredit the miracle of the resurrection by suggesting that Jesus never really died on the cross to begin with. The idea began with the Roman governor, Pilate, who condemned Jesus to death on the cross. The Gospel of Mark points out the governor’s doubts when Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Jewish ruling council, asked him for the body of Jesus. Joseph was a secret follower of Christ. Afraid to lose his place on the council or, perhaps, experience pushback for being a Christ follower, Joseph kept silent about his faith in Christ until he witnessed the crucifixion. While Jesus’ own disciples fled in fear of the Jews, Joseph threw caution to the wind and asked Pilate for the body of Jesus so he could bury him in his own tomb. Mark describes what happened in these verses:
“Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. Pilate was surprised to hear that He was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him if Jesus had already died. When he learned from the centurion that it was so, he gave the body to Joseph. So Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in the linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb.” Mark 15:43-46 (NIV)
Considering it would have cost the centurion’s life, he made sure Jesus was in fact dead before reporting back to the governor. Only when Pilate was confident of Jesus’ death did he release the body to Joseph. But, how can we be sure? This is the point critics have raised in an argument called the Swoon Theory or the resuscitation theory. These skeptics would argue that Jesus was not truly dead at this point and, instead, only appeared to be dead. Perhaps, it was the drug he was offered that knocked Him out, or the suffering on the cross that rendered Him unconscious. Then, while resting in the tomb for three days, Jesus’ body begins to heal and recuperate with enough strength to roll away the stone, overpower the Roman guards, take a fourteen-mile hike to Emmaus with a couple of Christ followers, and appear before the disciples as the death-defying, conquering King! Seriously! If you have that much faith to believe a story like that, you have more than enough faith to believe in the death and resurrection of Jesus.
For those who reject the Gospel accounts, history records five ancient sources outside of the Bible to corroborate the death of Jesus on the cross. These accounts are from Josephus, Tacitus, Lucion, Mara Bar-Serapion, and The Talmud. In addition, there are nine ancient sources confirming the disciples were convinced Jesus had risen and appeared to them.
The evidence of Jesus’ death on the cross is overwhelming. He died for you and me so that we may be reconciled to God. He paid a debt He did not owe for a debt we could not pay. The cross demonstrates the value of your life to God. He says, “You are worth dying for!”
“… the rising of Christ from the dead is the very heart of our message … and if Christ did not rise your faith is futile and your sins have never been forgiven.” 1 Corinthians 15:12, 14 (Ph)
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the very lynchpin of Christianity. Without a risen Savior, the wheels of faith would fall off and there would be no point, no eternity, and no forgiveness of sin available. The grave would have won! Life would lose its value beyond any earthly existence. The Apostle Paul understood that when he wrote the letter of First Corinthians to Christ followers in Corinth who were being led to believe that there was no resurrection.
According to author and Pastor Warren Weirsbe, “Corinth was a Greek city, and the Greeks did not believe in the resurrection of the dead. When Paul had preached at Athens and declared the fact of Christ’s resurrection, some of his listeners actually laughed at him in Acts 17:32. Most Greek philosophers considered the human body a prison, and they welcomed death as deliverance from bondage. This skeptical attitude had somehow invaded the church and Paul had to face it head-on.” The fact of the resurrection had doctrinal and practical implications for life that were too important to ignore so Paul presented three proofs to assure his readers that Jesus Christ indeed had been raised from the dead.
Proof #1: Personal transformation. Having been reconciled to God through the death of Jesus, they were saved by His resurrection life! Jesus gave His life for them so that He may offer His life to them! Only a risen Savior could change them from the inside out and make them new! A dead Savior cannot save anyone! The greatest evidence for the resurrection and its power today is life change! In the first two verses Paul reminds them of the faith that transformed their lives:
“Brothers and sisters, I’m making known to you the Good News which I already told you, which you received, and on which your faith is based. In addition, you are saved by this Good News ….” 1 Corinthians 15:1-2 (GW)
Proof #2: Fulfilled Prophecy. In the next two verses, Paul offers his second proof:
“I passed on to you the most important points of doctrine that I had received: Christ died to take away our sins as the Scriptures predicted. He was placed in a tomb. He was brought back to life on the third day as the Scriptures predicted.” 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 (GW)
In his book Evidence That Demands A Verdict, apologist Josh McDowell cited over 300 references to the coming Messiah, written in the Old Testament over a 1,000 year period, that were all fulfilled in Jesus Christ! The mathematical probability of someone fulfilling even 48 Old Testament prophecies is one chance in a trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion!
Proof #3: Eyewitness Testimony. In verses 5-8, Paul offers a final proof:
“He (Jesus) appeared to Cephas (Peter). Next He appeared to the twelve apostles. Then He appeared to more than 500 believers at one time. (Most of these people are still living, but some have died.) Next He appeared to James. Then He appeared to all the apostles. Last of all, He also appeared to me.” 1 Corinthians 15:5-8 (GW)
The eyewitness testimony of those who saw the risen Christ is undeniable evidence to His bodily resurrection. The power of His resurrection so impacted Paul that it radically changed his life – a change that would bring him persecution, great suffering and ultimately death.
Men may die for what they believe is true, even if it isn’t, but rarely would men give their lives for what they know is a lie. The case for the resurrection is beyond question. But, what matters the most is if you have settled the case in your own heart. Where do the facts lead you? As Jesus said to Mary and Martha at the grave of their brother Lazarus, He is asking you…
“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this? ” John 11:25-26 (NIV)
“You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13 (NIV)
When I was a kid, I used to love to play hide-and-go-seek. When you found the person you were looking for, you won! It was fun playing the game with my children when they were very young. Sometimes, they would just cover their eyes and say, “Daddy, come find me!” They thought, if they couldn’t see me, then I must not be able to see them. Childish, I know, but don’t we play the same game with God?
How often have we made the mistake of thinking that, if we couldn’t see Him, He must not be able to see us? In the book of Jeremiah, God offers us a challenge to seek Him with the assurance that, if we seek Him with all our heart, we will find Him! That’s a search worth making! Have you made an honest intellectual search for the truth to see where the facts may lead you about God, or have you settled for assumptions and hearsay because it’s simply more convenient to believe? To discover the truth, you must ask questions and seek honest facts.
Before faith can become real, it must be personal. God desires a personal relationship with everyone. He created you to love you. In addition, asking questions and seeking honest facts leads to wisdom and humility. Our search acknowledges the fact that we don’t know, but are seeking to know, the truth about God. The Bible describes the person who thinks they know it all as a fool. You don’t know what you don’t know, and what you don’t know could be deadly. Knowledge is power and enlightens us to the truth. In the Old Testament, God rebuked a stubborn and obstinate people for refusing to learn. In Hosea 4:6 He says,
“My people will be destroyed, because they have no knowledge. You have refused to learn….”
Willful ignorance can have deadly consequences, physically and spiritually. On the other hand, think of all the amazing breakthroughs in discovery we have benefited from because someone kept seeking! Furthermore, asking questions and seeking honest facts reflects a healthy view of the God we are seeking. God is not afraid of our questions, nor is He threatened by them. If you’re afraid to ask God tough questions, you have an unhealthy view of God. Just read the book of Job. Job wasn’t afraid to ask the really hard questions. In asking, He discovered that knowing God in the end was even greater than knowing the answers. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said,
“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.” Matthew 7:7-8 (NLT)
What are you searching for? Keep seeking. God promises to reward the honest seeker with the greatest reward – Himself! The irony of it all is that God is seeking us! Since the fall in Genesis, man is the one who has been hiding. The Bible says that Jesus came to seek and to save those who were lost. He came so that we could find God and be found by Him!