Christianity is focused on a Person. At its core it is not a philosophy about how to live life, nor a set of rules one must obey to go to heaven. The salvation Jesus offers comes only by a relationship with Him. He claimed that He alone offers eternal life and that belief in Him is the key to receiving that life (Jn 6:29). Many today are aware of the basic elements of Jesus story. They know He was born in a stable in Bethlehem, that He grew up in Nazareth and at the age of 30 gathered a group of disciples and began itinerant preaching. They know He did miracles like healing, walking on water and feeding 5,000 with a few loaves and fish. They know He was finally arrested, crucified and may even have risen from the dead. But opinions vary widely about what these facts mean. Some say He was a great teacher, others a prophet. Some style Him as a political revolutionary, others as a deluded religious zealot. In fact this debate isnt new, it had already begun during His ministry. At one point Jesus asked His disciples, Who do people say that the Son of Man is? (Mt 16:13, 14). Their answers revealed a raging debate. But it was His next question that still confronts us today, But who do you say that I am?
Its one thing to be familiar with the events of Christs life but its another to have the Holy Spirit reveal who Jesus is to your heart. And then after receiving such revelation there is still another step to be taken. We must choose to believe in Him to such a degree that we are willing to pay whatever price following Him may bring.
In John chapter 6 verse 40 Jesus makes a wonderful promise. He says, This is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him may have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day (Jn 5:25-29). Based on this statement there are two elements necessary if I am to have eternal life. First, I must behold Him, meaning not only that I understand the facts about His life but I understand the spiritual meaning of those facts. In other words, the Holy Spirit has shown me the salvation Jesus offers is real and that He is offering it to me. Then second, I must believe which is the response of my will to the truth my heart now sees. Recognizing Him to be Savior and Lord I choose to cling to His cross for the forgiveness of my sins and to follow as His disciple for the rest of my life. No one else can make this choice for me. I alone must decide if I will trust Him as Savior and I alone must decide if I am willing to pay the price which is required of disciples.
A. Here are some key words in this promise:
1) (v 36): observation without understanding
- To see what Jesus did without realizing what His actions reveal about who He is
2) Behold (v 40): seeing with understanding
- At some point I know.
- The Holy Spirit comes to me to reveal the truth about: (Jn 16:8-11)
a) My sin (that I need a Savior)
b) My Savior (that Jesus is the Savior)
c) Satan (that those who allow Satan to rule over them will share his judgment)
3) Believe (v 40): choosing to trust Christ as my Savior and follow Him as my Lord
- As Savior: believing to the point that I decide to cling to His death and resurrection for the rest of my life
- As Lord: no longer living for myself, but loving and trusting Him to the point that I want to become like Him, and want Him to guide my life so that I serve Him
B. Application: Its all about love
1) He made you in His image so you could be His friend (Ge 1:26, 27).
2) He sent His Son to get you back (Lk 19:10)
3) Now He sends His Holy Spirit to reveal Jesus to you so you can behold and believe in Him (Lk 10:21).
4) But thats as far as He can go. The choice is up to you (Jn 3:14-16).
1) Was there a season in your life when you knew the story about Jesus but didnt understand the spiritual meaning of those events?
2) When and how did the revelation about Jesus come to you?
3) When revelation did come, did you receive Him right away or did you delay? If you delayed, and the answer is not too personal, tell us what went through your mind that caused you to wait.
4) What did the Holy Spirit show you that convinced you to follow Christ?