“Lord, I Believe”
for January 13, 2017

by Pastor Allen Werk,
St. Paul Lutheran Church and School,
       Batavia, New York         

           I know there are a lot of people who look down on Christianity.  They think Christians are judgmental, narrow minded, morally backwards, and in general don’t act significantly different from the rest of the world.  Some Christians say one thing but the way they live just doesn’t match up.  Some Christians may talk about God’s love but they certainly don’t know how to show it.  I can understand people’s disillusionment.  It pains me too to see what people try to pass off as Christianity today.  There are a lot of people who want to call themselves Christians but they don’t want to follow Jesus.  These people don’t know Jesus very well.  Some Christians think that it is possible that Jesus sinned when He walked this earth.  Some question His miracles.  But a Jesus who sins and exaggerates or lies does not meet the basic requirements for being called God.  These people know some things about Jesus, but they don’t know Jesus.  They may have some facts in their heads but their hearts haven’t really been infected with the heart of Jesus. 

        In John chapter 6 we see that Jesus had crowds following Him.  People wanted to be close to Him and here what He was teaching as watch the amazing miracles that He was doing.  In fact they were part of the crowd of 5,000 people whom Jesus fed using a few small fish and a couple of loaves of bread.  When Jesus started to tell them that they would have to eat His body and drink His blood, that He was the bread of life and they would have to eat this bread to have eternal life, the crowds were confused and angered.  This teaching didn’t make any sense.  And the more Jesus talked about it the more frustrated and angry the crowds became until finally they walked away from Jesus.  They left Him.  They had had enough.  And then Jesus turned to His closest friends and asked them:

67  “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve. 68  Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69  We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.” John 6:67-69 (NIV)

       Peter’s response shows that even if they wanted to they couldn’t imagine following anyone else.  They had been infected by the heart of Jesus.  They knew there was no one else like Him.  No one else could transform their lives like Jesus could.  That kind of absolute commitment and life transformation only happens when you have been intimately connected to Jesus.  That is what Jesus describes for us in John chapter 15. 

5  “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5 (NIV)

       When we are grafted into Jesus, His life transforming power flows into our lives.  We grow the ability to live our lives with a whole new set of qualities that will bring joy to our lives as well as the lives of other people with whom we come in contact.  It is time to get infected with the heart of Jesus.  It is time to recognize how very much Jesus loves you, how ready He is to forgive you, and how precious and yet how undeserved is His gift of new life that He gives us.  You may be trying your hardest to avoid all kinds of other infections this winter.  But I guarantee that getting infected with the heart of Jesus is something you will never regret.