Many think that those who follow Christ are hopelessly ignorant and gullible. They’ll believe anything.
I was reminded of how gullible I am by this video. It purports to show an F-35B Lightning II Marine Corps fighter takeoff, falter, and make a remarkable recovery to flight from a ship at sea.
F-35 Unintended loop right off the carrier deck during vertical take-off, December 15, 2009
Is it real? It sure looks real on the surface. But the answer is no; it’s a doctored frame sequence from a video game. Once you see how the F–35B actually takes off and lands, you’ll note many obvious discrepancies.
Are those who follow Christ gulled into believing? Are they rubes unworthy of being taken seriously? Are they insufferable? When you see what’s involved in true belief, you’ll note the impossibility of it.
We’ll take the Lord Jesus Christ’s testimony as evidence. Speaking in His own defense before the Council of Elders at Jerusalem, they ask if He is the Messiah and He responds to them:
“If you are the Christ, tell us.” But he said to them, “If I tell you, you will not believe” Luke 22:67 English Standard Version (ESV)
Their refusal to believe was ordained. John explains this clearly in his gospel account. After Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem and His performance of many attesting signs, when the people still did not believe in Him, John tells us:
So that the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:
“Lord, who has believed what he heard from us,
and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”
Therefore they could not believe. For again Isaiah said,
“He has blinded their eyes
and hardened their heart,
lest they see with their eyes,
and understand with their heart, and turn,
and I would heal them.”
John 12:38-40 (ESV)
The Lord Jesus picked up on this theme when He told the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus to His disciples, the Pharisees, scribes, tax collectors, and sinners [a derogatory term the religious elite used for commoners as if they were not the same].
And [the rich man] said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’” Luke 16:30-31 (ESV)
From elsewhere in scripture we know that Moses and the Prophets spoke of Him. I always imagine he delivered this punch line to the parable with dramatic irony.
While speaking with His disciples about the difficulty of entering the Kingdom of God, His disciples questioned Him:
And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.” Mark 10:26-27 (ESV)
So, by His own admission, entering into belief is impossible for humankind on their own. The Apostle Paul reiterates and expands on this truth:
For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. Romans 9:15-16 (ESV)
So belief is a gift of a merciful God to individuals, not something we can adopt like a political party affiliation or can attain like elected office.
But we may be assured that:
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. John 3:36 (ESV)
And we know that this gift is certain:
For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” Romans 10:11 (ESV)
Please, believe in Him.