"Would You Believe...?"

You are here

"Would You Believe...?"

Login or Create an Account

With a UCG.org account you will be able to save items to read and study later!

Sign In | Sign Up

×

He is a drunk! He is illegitimate! He is a glutton! He talks to sinners! All these were accusations laid against Jesus Christ (Luke 7:34 Luke 7:34The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and you say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a drunkard, a friend of publicans and sinners!
American King James Version×
; John 8:19 John 8:19Then said they to him, Where is your Father? Jesus answered, You neither know me, nor my Father: if you had known me, you should have known my Father also.
American King James Version×
, 41). He was accused of deceiving people (John 7:12 John 7:12And there was much murmuring among the people concerning him: for some said, He is a good man: others said, No; but he deceives the people.
American King James Version×
) and was barred from entering some cities (Matthew 8:34 Matthew 8:34And, behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw him, they sought him that he would depart out of their coasts.
American King James Version×
).

An intriguing question comes to mind. How many believed the rumors and lies that were spread about Jesus? How many people who were on the verge of trying to find Him, turned back because of these rumors?

Enemies know that people will believe rumors without checking them out. Propaganda is a tool that does work. I have no doubt that all of us could give an example in which we accepted someone’s word about someone else and perhaps avoided that person or found ourselves building some sort of resistance to him or her.

Just think of the people Jesus could have helped, but who continued in their illnesses or sorrow because they turned away. Some, perhaps influenced by the rumors, did not see the need to come to Jesus for help. But others went so far as to cut holes in a roof in order to lower a paralytic for healing (Mark 2:4 Mark 2:4And when they could not come near to him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay.
American King James Version×
)!

Stories went around about Jesus that were untrue, indicating that it was not wise to associate with Him. His work and ministry still touched countless thousands in spite of the lies.

Matthew 4:23 Matthew 4:23And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.
American King James Version×
tells us that Jesus went all about Galilee preaching and healing diseases and sicknesses. He brought hope and taught of a wonderful future for mankind. Though Jesus went to many towns and villages, not all accepted Him. In some towns the people refused to believe and, in those places, Jesus could do very little.

Jesus was disappointed in the cities that easily forgot the deeds He had done. In Matthew 11:20-24 Matthew 11:20-24 [20] Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not: [21] Woe to you, Chorazin! woe to you, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. [22] But I say to you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. [23] And you, Capernaum, which are exalted to heaven, shall be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in you, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. [24] But I say to you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for you.
American King James Version×
, Jesus warned them because so few went on to repent after they saw the miracles and heard His message. It is quite surprising that this most remarkable Man could do miracles that were unheard of—such as healing the blind and the lame and raising the dead—and yet not have more people cling to Him with all their might. It does seem that there were suspicions that lingered and caused people to turn away.

A parallel for today

In the spiritual realm, we can see a parallel. We too have to go to Jesus. We are told to go forth to Him (Hebrews 13:13-14 Hebrews 13:13-14 [13] Let us go forth therefore to him without the camp, bearing his reproach. [14] For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.
American King James Version×
). We are to seek and we will find, knock and the door will be opened (Luke 11:9 Luke 11:9And I say to you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you.
American King James Version×
). Luke 13:22-35 Luke 13:22-35 [22] And he went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem. [23] Then said one to him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said to them, [24] Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say to you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. [25] When once the master of the house is risen up, and has shut to the door, and you begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us; and he shall answer and say to you, I know you not from where you are: [26] Then shall you begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in your presence, and you have taught in our streets. [27] But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not from where you are; depart from me, all you workers of iniquity. [28] There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out. [29] And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God. [30] And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last. [31] The same day there came certain of the Pharisees, saying to him, Get you out, and depart hence: for Herod will kill you. [32] And he said to them, Go you, and tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to day and to morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected. [33] Nevertheless I must walk to day, and to morrow, and the day following: for it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem. [34] O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which kill the prophets, and stone them that are sent to you; how often would I have gathered your children together, as a hen does gather her brood under her wings, and you would not! [35] Behold, your house is left to you desolate: and truly I say to you, You shall not see me, until the time come when you shall say, Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord.
American King James Version×
tells the story of those who have heard and have been helped, but who did not strive to enter in at the narrow gate.

If the friends of the paralytic had not made a great effort to bring him to Christ, the man would in all likelihood not have been healed. We must also make that effort. We must not allow ourselves to be led astray by rumors about Christ or about the Body of Christ, which is His Church. The Bible is the guideline God gives to finding His children.

A skeptical world

Jesus died for mankind almost 2,000 years ago. It is not easy to believe something that happened so long ago. It has never really been easy to believe—even the disciples who saw the resurrected Christ had a hard time believing (Matthew 28:16-17 Matthew 28:16-17 [16] Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. [17] And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted.
American King James Version×
). We live in a skeptical world. We are bombarded with religions of all kinds, all purporting to have the answer to all our problems and cares. Some religions are so hypocritical and weak, they only succeed in turning people off religion altogether. Some fall woefully short of giving the guidelines that lead to the hope offered in the Bible. The true followers of Jesus Christ have been labeled with various accusations as Christ Himself was. They have been called fanatics, legalists, cults, antichrists and worse. Many who are seeking God turn away before they actually investigate enough to know if the accusations are true. Negative rumors can be one of the ways “the wicked one” snatches away the seeds God is sowing (Matthew 13:19 Matthew 13:19When any one hears the word of the kingdom, and understands it not, then comes the wicked one, and catches away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.
American King James Version×
).

Large groups today sometimes try to protect their “flocks” by throwing stones at anyone who seems to be stirring up an interest. It is sad, but true, that many people who throw rocks are very insecure, feel threatened and unsure of their own positions. Rather than having confidence in their teachings and actions and letting the facts speak for themselves, they feel compelled to discredit those who represent other groups. If a person had supreme confidence in what he was doing, nothing would deter or upset him. Jesus Christ reflected that confidence. He was forsaken and deserted by all His followers—for a while (Matthew 26:56 Matthew 26:56But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled.
American King James Version×
). Rather than being resentful and spiteful, Jesus could have pity on the very ones who were the cause of all His pain and suffering. That is true confidence and strength.

Jesus tells us that people speak well of false prophets and misleading guides (Luke 6:26 Luke 6:26Woe to you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.
American King James Version×
). Peter knew that people who strive to follow Jesus Christ and to do good will have tales told about them. They would be spoken of as evil people (1 Peter 3:13-17 1 Peter 3:13-17 [13] And who is he that will harm you, if you be followers of that which is good? [14] But and if you suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are you: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; [15] But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: [16] Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. [17] For it is better, if the will of God be so, that you suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.
American King James Version×
). In the book of Luke we also read of people who will hate the followers of Jesus (Luke 6:22-23 Luke 6:22-23 [22] Blessed are you, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. [23] Rejoice you in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers to the prophets.
American King James Version×
). Jesus said they hated Him and would also hate His followers (John 15:18-23 John 15:18-23 [18] If the world hate you, you know that it hated me before it hated you. [19] If you were of the world, the world would love his own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. [20] Remember the word that I said to you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. [21] But all these things will they do to you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me. [22] If I had not come and spoken to them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin. [23] He that hates me hates my Father also.
American King James Version×
).

The real loser

The loser in all of these examples is the person who turns away because of a rumor he or she has heard. In Jesus’ day, many who could have been healed did not come because of a rumor. They did not have a chance to take the next step of repentance and baptism, which leads to eternal life (Acts 2:38-39 Acts 2:38-39 [38] Then Peter said to them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. [39] For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the LORD our God shall call.
American King James Version×
). There is a promise to all whom God will call today, just as there was a possibility of help directly from Jesus for those who pushed the accusations aside and did seek Him out. We must go to Him of our own free will. God will not force anyone. John 6:44 John 6:44No man can come to me, except the Father which has sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
American King James Version×
reveals that God must first call a person. Many are called, but only a few are chosen (Matthew 20:16 Matthew 20:16So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.
American King James Version×
). It seems only a few are responding to the call. People are just too busy right now!

The decision is yours and mine. We can be duped and stay in the dark where it seems comfortable, but really is not, or we can be determined to find the truth and find God. If we seek Him, the call will come. God wants every person on earth to be saved. Jesus would have helped others if they had come to Him. The ones who received no help were those who did not come. It is the same today. If we do not become active in this wonderful search and adventure, we will be left in the dust until another day. The choice is yours and mine. God says come!

You might also be interested in...