Is it easier for us to believe in Jesus as Savior today or was it easier for people who lived while He was on earth?
I have been thinking a lot about it. I even asked the question in my Wednesday night class and it seemed to stump a few people. I'm not saying that it is difficult for me to believe that Jesus Christ came to earth, God made man, and died to save me of my sins. It isn't hard for me to believe that at all - today. But, I wonder if I would have been so quick to believe if I had grown up in Nazareth. Let me set the scene and maybe you will see what I am talking about.
Go back in time with me for a minute:
It was hot outside in Nazareth that day. We got up even earlier than usual that morning so we could get to the synagogue before it got too crowded. My husband likes to get there early to talk to the men before the service starts and I love to fellowship with the women -- we are all so busy with our everyday chores we rarely get to visit with one another.
I was sitting with the ladies in the balcony when I heard the priest call everyone to order. The priest said a prayer and then he introduced Jesus. I looked down and saw Jesus, son of Mary and Joseph. He adjusted his prayer shawl and began walking to the front. I hadn't seen him in a while. Some people say he has gone crazy, but I don't believe it, after all, I have known him since he was 2 years old. I've know Mary even longer - we grew up together. I even remember when Mary and Joseph left Nazareth. They said they were leaving because of the census, but we all knew why they really left.
Someone handed Jesus the scroll of Isaiah and he began to read:
"The Spirit of the Lord is on ME, because he has anointed ME to preach good news to the poor. He has sent ME to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."
We all sat there dumbfounded. What did he mean that the scripture was fulfilled in our hearing that day? Surely he, Jesus of Nazareth, illegitimate son of Mary and Joseph, is not implying that he is the Messiah we have waited for so long! How could he mock us and our God this way? After that, the men drove him out of town. It's a terrible shame, but he had to be stopped. Poor Mary, I know she must be so embarrassed by him.
Okay, that was my feeble attempt to explain my question. At first thought, it would seem that it would have been easier to believe that Jesus was the Messiah if you could see Him in person. But when you take into account that these people knew Him from childhood and knew His family, maybe it would not have been so easy to believe.
My point here is that we read our Bible and think that the people who lived during Jesus' day had it much easier than we do today. They could see Him and touch Him. After all, don't most of us have a little Thomas in us (we need to see to believe)? People from Jesus' day would probably say that we have it much better because of the Holy Spirit. Sure, the people in Jesus' day could hear Him speak, but they didn't have the Holy Spirit living inside them. Today, we have the benefit of the complete Bible AND the Holy Spirit.
I think it's a blessing that I live today and not back then in Nazareth. Why? Because I would have probably never been saved. I like to think that I would have been the lone person to stand beside Mary in that crowd that and defend Jesus, but in reality, I would have probably been behind the mob that drove Him out of town. -- "He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him." John 11:11