Friday, April 11, 2008

What Would You Have Done?

Okay, I have a question for you.

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
I wonder what would you have done?


Fran said...

I'm with ya on this one Bethanne!
I know that I would have been that lost one, I'm sure. I bet I would have doubted every bit of it....

As backwards as it may sound...I think we have it a little easier today. Plus...we got us some Holy Spirit!!! HALLELUJAH!

Thanks for the thought. Love it.

Mary Lou said...

Good post Bethanne, before I got down to the part where you talked about us having the Holy Spirit, I was going to come on board and remind you, but you sweet girl have said it all. We get to have "Him" with us all the time and they only had Him when He was in their midst at any one given time. I am so thankful to be born when I was, where I was and to the family that He gave me. He has so sheltered me and provided for all of my sixty years that all I can do is bow my head and raise my arms and say Thank you Jesus for saving my soul, thank you Jesus for making me whole. We live in the better time.

Stephanie (Ocean Mommy) said...

I am standing right next to you in this situation!!

We have it better! We have the entire Word, PLUS the Holy Spirit...

loved this..

have a great weekend!

Linda said...

Your last paragraph sums up how I've always felt about this. I'm glad for his providential grace to put in the time and place I was supposed to be born.

Mari said...

I read another post earlier this week about the disciples fear and running away when Jesus was taken to Pilate. I said then, I'm afraid I would have done the same and again with your post. I do think we have it easier and as you and the others said - we have the Holy Spirit!

Mommy Dot Com said...

I was talking with my children about this subject this morning. This is what I was sharing with them: I talked about the verse, "No prophet is honored in his own home town". People who know you expect little so they don't have the faith seeing God requires. When people don't know you they have more faith to receive. That's how it is in ministry even now. When I teach strangers (I do prison ministry)there always seems to be more of a stirring and expectation in the air. I've heard other Bible teachers/speakers say the same thing - that speaking to strangers is easier and seems to result in a more powerful move of the Holy Spirit.
I think it would be harder for me to believe if I lived in Nazareth. If I lived anywhere else I think it would have been easier to believe then rather than now b/c Jesus says it requires more faith (when He spoke to Thomas)to believe what you can't see. He also told the disciples that unless they see signs and miracles that they wouldn't believe. They had the benefit of seeing the power of God flow in utter abundance and it strengthened their faith.
I feel like I just wrote a book but fun question!
By the way I am glad our paths crossed.

Alana said...

Okay, I never got your email. Do you get your comments via email or do you read them on your blog. If you get them via email you can just respond to the comment and it will come to me. Or you can go to my profile and email me that way, or try the address again..

He Knows My Name said...

Hi, Bethanne!

i with everybody. we truly are all blessed that we were fore ordained for this time as much as we hate the sinful world we live in. i would be toast!

John 20:29
Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who hae not seen and yet have believed".


Greg P. said...

I agree that it is easier to believe now. Back then I probably would have looked upon Jesus as a false prophet because of the things He was saying. He claims to be God, but, he looks to humble and poor. We were all looking for a conquering king to defeat our enemies. I probably would have been in the crowd watching Him get crucified and thinking He deserved it.

{patty} said...

Wow, that was great Beth!! I have to admit that I never thought about it. But after reading your post I must agree. I am such a pathetic Christian now, I would never have been a believer now matter how much I think I would of been. That was my brutal honesty about myself, I am so thankful to live now and have had the opportunity to hear the gospel.

Stephanie (Ocean Mommy) said...

We just may be long-lost hoodie twins.:)

The next time I'm up near Pigeon Forge,let's try to get together and go shopping!????

Earen said...

Funny that you wrote about this because just this past week I was thinking about that...wondering if I would have been a believer back then. I'm not sure to be quite's good food for thought. No matter what the case, I'm sure grateful He's in my heart now!!

Mommyluann said...

Hey, and just so you know, about 15 of the "visits" to your blog a day are me!!!! I think about one of the others blog I saw on your blog and I have to go to your blog to find it! so I'm running up the counter my friend!!!

Mariel said...

I totally agree with you! I love this post...great question to post! I have thought about this, too, and really doubt I would have believed and followed Jesus had I been there then. Praise the Lord for the Holy Spirit and His completed Word!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Bethanne...I had a question, I don't know how I got to your page, but Im glad I did..I seen where you went to Tricities Baptist...Me & My husband have been thinking of visiting this church...In hopes of finding a church close to our house with people our on age...Do you really like going to church there, and are there alot of people in their 30's with No children?

Rochelle said...

That's a good question... and I agree with you. I'm pretty sure I'm better off living now than I would have back then. :)