There comes that point when a man has to find out for himself whether or not what the Bible says about Jesus Christ is true and real! Look and see and hear.
If you ever doubt, have good look at the Cross.
That Regimental Sergeant Major of a man in the Roman Legion looked and said, “Truly, this is the Son of God”. This leader came to recognise another greater leader.
On the Day of Pentecost, three thousand looked and saw and heard, and were convicted of their sin when Peter spoke, and they came to repent and believe and be baptised and receive the Holy Spirit.
Peter demonstrated such powerful leadership on that occasion. Here are lessons we can learn.
They became disciples. They became disciplined believers in Jesus, but also coming under the teaching of the apostles. This is all so vitally important and perhaps more important than many care to admit and confess!
In the second half of Chapter 8 in John’s Gospel, Jesus Christ says twice in these verses; I am who I am. I am who I claim to be, and I speak what the Father has taught me, and I always do what pleases him.
Jesus Christ was a Father pleaser, and this is one positive way to evangelise; by living a life pleasing to the God the Father.
Many came to believe, at that point.
A little seed of faith came to life. We would probably rush in and say they were converted, but as soon as Jesus saw that little seed of faith he said, “Now you must let it grow”. Jesus is not so rash. Jesus is not easily taken in. Jesus realises that even though a man makes a decision to believe, and even though he makes it openly and in public, there is more, and Jesus goes on to say that if you continue in my word, then you will prove to be my disciples.
Will you last? Will you go and grow? Will you continue and survive and thrive and be fruitful?
As you continue in my word, you will find that what you have received is confirmed to be true.
As you receive it and act upon it, you will suddenly discover it all to be so true.
What a timely passage, as our world is being shaken in so many ways – morally, materially, physically, financially and ecologically! What a significant verse, this is.
This is the very problem we are presently facing just as they were facing it then.
People find certain things in this book hard to believe and accept and obey. Jesus is saying to them and to the people to whom we speak and witness and testify, “Go on. Go the whole way and prove that it is true”.
Many were believing in Jesus, but how deep was that belief? Jesus took these people one stage further to prove that they faith was real, as he said, “Obey my Truth”. Do something about it and you will have reassuring confirmation.
As you do what Jesus tells you to do, two things will happen. You will have real freedom. Do it. Continue doing it. Obey and you will not be slaves any more.
These were among the words that really spoke to Tony Anthony who spoke at a very special prison meeting in March, and the full details are in his excellent book, “Taming the Tiger”.
Jesus had just touched a very sensitive spot – slaves! These Pharisees were profoundly offended by what Jesus said. We have never been anybody’s slaves. We are descendents of Abraham.
They had been slaves in Egypt, and slaves in Babylon, and now they had been overrun by Rome.
These are the people who claimed to believe and they are reacting in this negative way.
It is as if Jesus is exposing the unreality of a little belief! He was such a nice speaker, but they wanted to kill him. They wanted rid of him.
Have you ever asked someone who told you something questionable, “Now is that true?” And sometimes they explode! “Are you accusing me of being a liar?”
Jesus warns us about being shallow in our belief. Never be shallow in your belief about Jesus Christ the risen and living Son of God. Go as deep as you can and allow him to speak with you and minister to your every need.
This quality of leadership is so needed in these days.