“And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours..” Mark 11:22-24 (ESV)
This is Passion Week leading to Easter Sunday. We are considering events that happened in the life of our Lord just before He was arrested, tried illegally, and sentenced by Pilate to die on a cross. It was for us that He allowed all the events to happen. Many events of those few days and much of what Jesus taught that week are recorded in Scripture. Let’s look at one found in the Gospel of Mark. It was Monday morning that Jesus looked for fruit on a fig tree as he left Bethany to go into the City of Jerusalem. There was no fruit so Jesus said there would never again be any fruit on that tree. The next day, Tuesday, as they were passing that way again Peter noticed that the fig tree was all withered from the ground up and amazed he mentioned it. Jesus’ reply teaches the disciples about the power of real faith without doubt. Jesus was anxious to have followers who truly believed in God and who expect God to answer their prayers. Let’s keep his promise and with faith believing pray according to His will expecting God to give us what we ask for.
“For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.” – John 6:40 (NASB)
God is sovereign in everything. No power, no authority, no entity, angel, demon or person supersedes God’s sovereignty. What God decrees, is. What God says holds true. When God inspired the writers of the Bible, the words written were God’s chosen words. God chose what to record and what to proclaim both the good (righteous), the bad (unrighteous), and the ugly (unredeemable evil) events recorded were so because God wanted them on the record. Today’s verse emphasizes human responsibility in our salvation process. As we saw yesterday’s blog, that though God is sovereign, He works through faith, so that we as persons must believe in Jesus as the Messiah and Son of God. We must believe that He alone is the way. Only He offers the only way of salvation (John 14:6). However, even faith is a gift of God (Ephesians 2:8-9). Although many try, rationally harmonizing the sovereignty of God and the responsibility of man with our intellect is impossible humanly. Thankfully it is perfectly resolved in the infinite mind of God. Let’s not disbelieve God’s sovereign word because we
“For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” – 1 John 5:4-5 (ESV)
We again find a promise in the first letter by the apostle John written to the believers in the surrounding churches. As the pastor/teacher to the congregation in Ephesus, his concern was for all those who believed in Christ and who were beset by false teachers and pressures of the world. Christians who truly believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior need to know that they are overcomers of evil. They need to know why and how they are overcomers. This promise tells us. Those born of God, everyone who is a child of God overcome the world. Jesus has made that possible and a fact in our lives. It is said very clearly right here, “this is our victory and we have overcome the world because of our faith.” Then, as John has done throughout this letter he emphasized by saying it again more forcefully. Take this as for each of us. Who overcomes the world? Those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God. Unless a person believes that Jesus is who He said He was, they are out. But those who do believe Jesus, have already overcome the world in Him.
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” – John 11:25-26 (ESV)
This passage records Jesus’ lesson on life, death, and resurrection. Lazarus, a friend died and was in the tomb for four days. Jesus hearing Lazarus was near death delayed going to Bethany. By the time He and is disciples arrive it is too late – at least according to Martha first and Mary later. Their home was now a house of mourning. Jesus missed his opportunity to save Lazarus from this death. Both Mary and Martha tell Jesus that their brother would not have died if Jesus had been there. Jesus promises that Lazarus will rise again. Martha agrees believing Jesus is talking about eventual resurrection of all believers. Jesus states that He is Himself The Resurrection and The Life. “Do you believe this?” He asks Martha. Yes, she confirms her faith that Jesus is the Christ. These awesome promises are for us⸺Now!. They cause immense joy to erupt within our hearts and banish all fear of death. We who believe in Christ, physical death is only temporary, we are alive spiritually in Christ. This is the promise of eternal life that is ours after our bodies die. And, we are promised new bodies like unto Christ’s resurrection body.