Thursday, April 11, 2013

Guest Post by Julie Coleman - Persuaded

Persuaded
by Julie Coleman

The supply of wine had been depleted. Not one drop left. And the party was still going strong.

Mary shuddered at the embarrassment the oversight would bring on the hosts. She instinctively turned to her son to relate the news. He would know what to do. But Jesus seemed impervious to the problem. “Woman, what does this have to do with me?” he queried. “My hour has not yet come.”

Unfazed, Mary turned to the servants. “Do whatever he says,” she simply told them. And Jesus turned the water into wine.

This story has its puzzling moments. But one big question towers over the rest: why would Jesus refuse to help, even going so far as to state his reason for not helping, then turn around and do the miracle anyway?

There were other times Jesus refused to perform miracles. We are told in Mark 6 that in his hometown of Nazareth, Jesus “could do no miracle there except that he lay his hands on a few sick people and healed them.” Why? “He wondered at their unbelief.” Several times, religious leaders and then Pilate asked him to perform. Jesus flatly refused, for they were merely “seeking a sign from heaven to test him” (Mark 8:12). They had not asked in faith. The miracles were not meant to create faith; they served merely to confirm it.

Faith is a necessary component to any request we make of God. Jesus would not perform a miracle without it.

When two blind men asked for healing, Jesus asked them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” When they affirmed their trust, Jesus gave them their sight (Matthew 9:29). He asked a father to confirm his belief before ousting a demon that controlled his son. Why? “All things are possible to him who believes” (Mark 9:23). In these and many other cases, belief in Jesus’ mercy and power was required before Jesus would help them.

When faith is expressed, God responds.

Mary’s instructions to the servants at the wedding of Cana were brim-full of faith. Whatever he says, do it. She trusted Jesus would do the right thing. Jesus responded by turning water into the finest of wines.

The Greek verb pisteuo, translated as believe, trust, or to have faith often carries the qualifying connotation of being persuaded or convinced. The Greek lexicon defines it as “to cause to come to a particular point of view or course of action.” Trust results from what one has found to be true. Mary knew Jesus as only a mother can know her child. He lived in unfailing obedience to his heavenly Father. What she had observed of him in the past persuaded her to trust him now.

When God brought the Israelites out of Egypt, he demonstrated his power and faithfulness to them over and over, first with the plagues, then the crossing of the Red Sea, provision of water and manna, and the dramatic giving of the Law. In short, he was teaching them to trust him. But the months they spent in the desert experiencing his faithfulness apparently weren’t enough for the message to sink into this “stiff-necked” people. They balked at entering the Promised Land, refusing to trust God for his provision.

God ironically gave them what they wanted. They would never go in. But their children would. So God spent the next 40 years proving to the new generation just how trust-worthy he was, teaching them the truth of his goodness and power. And when it came time to go into the land, they were ready to follow him anywhere. Truth is foundational to trust.

Trust doesn’t come naturally to us. So God brings along hardship, times when we struggle to perceive his presence or guidance, times when everything seems hopeless or overwhelming. We hate those times and dread their appearance into our lives. But he will use them to give us a deeper understanding of just how faithful he is. We will emerge from the darkness with a better capacity to trust him. And the conduit of trust opens the way for his blessing and mercy.

“I thank God for the mountains,
and I thank Him for the valleys,
I thank Him for the storms He brought me through.
For if I’d never had a problem,
I wouldn’t know God could solve them,
I’d never know what faith in God could do.”   –Andrae Crouch


Julie Coleman is an author and speaker who focuses on Biblical study and women's ministries. Julie’s new book, Unexpected Love: God’s Heart Revealed in Jesus’ Conversations with Women, was recently released by Thomas Nelson Publishers. You can learn more about Julie at www.unexpectedgod.com.

0 comments:

Post a Comment