The disciples are having a problem.
They’ve walked with Jesus for something like three years now. They’ve seen Jesus perform countless miracles, teach profound truths, issue prophecies about the coming and distant future, and demonstrate unprecedented selfless love.
Yet it is only toward the end of Jesus’ life on earth that the disciples finally believe He is the Son of God.
Sure, they believe Jesus is alive, and they’ve given up everything (career, reputation, emotional stability) to follow Him, hoping for the kingdom Jesus is constantly referencing to finally come about, and inevitably they’ll reap the endless wealth.
They know He’s powerful. They understand that He’s some sort of prophet. They know He’s capable of trumping the smart-mouthed and sharp-tongued Pharisees at just about every aspect of their game.
But they couldn’t believe He could be God incarnate.
This seems ridiculous to you and I. But we have the entirety of the Bible, the most read, printed, analyzed, scrutinized, and popular book in the world. It’s easy for us to say, “Idiots — don’t they get it by now?”
We’re now over 2000 years removed from the birth of Jesus Christ. History proves that the man existed, that He dwelt in the region of Galilee, and that He inspired a group of believers to profess a belief that has been propagated exponentially for centuries.
Yet if you walk up to someone and ask if they believe Jesus died and rose from the dead, even professing Christians will be skeptical of the matter.
Perhaps you’ve affiliated with the Christian faith for a long time — perhaps your entire life — yet you’ve never come to the conclusion that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, that He indeed did rise from the dead.
While this is the definitive aspect of being a true follower of Jesus Christ — the belief of Jesus’ bodily resurrection and power over death for all mankind to embrace — it is not too late to begin.
Notice that Jesus is initially incredulous when the disciples finally confess they believe He is God, but His response is one of incredible grace.
Indeed the hour is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave Me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.
Jesus at first communicates that the disciples, in spite of their belief, will abandon Him altogether. He then encourages them with a simple pair of truths:
– This world will be troublesome.
– Jesus has already overcome it.
If you expect to be a follower of Jesus Christ, you must believe that Jesus died and rose from the dead. There is no way around it.
It might have taken you a little while to come to this realization, but there is grace for this. Even the disciples took their sweet time coming around. He is encouraging you to recognize that He has the world in His hands, but implores you to put your life in His hands as well.
But, with the the critical decision before you, do you now believe it?