Choose to Believe

What are you doing the week leading up to Easter? John 12 paints a picture of that week for us in Jesus’ day. In the past few days Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead and a huge procession surrounded Jesus as he came into the city of Jerusalem with the people crying out: Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the king of Israel! (John 12:12 NIV).

But wait, even on the same day as Jesus’ triumphant entry, a few verses later, John tells us Even after Jesus had performed so many signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him.  This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet: ‘Lord, who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?’” (John 12:37-38 NIV)

So what’s it going to take to believe in Jesus? John then quotes Isaiah saying: The Lord has blinded their eyes and harden their hearts — so that their eyes cannot see, and the heart cannot understand, and they cannot turn to me and have me heal them.

The people of Israel hadn’t  heard from the LORD in about 400 years. What did he send them? A prophet? No, He sent them His Son. They had fair warning about His Son coming. They had prophecies. They had a star. They even had prophecy about a star. Magi, the wisemen, arrived because they paid attention to Scripture. They knew God’s Word and paid attention to the signs.

When it comes to God’s people, the Jews and the Church, our hearts never become so hard that they can’t be softened. Note what happened in Isaiah Chapter 1:

I hate your new moon celebrations and your annual festivals. They are a burden to me. I cannot stand them!  When you lift up your hands in prayer, I will not look.  Though you offer many prayers, I will not listen, for your hands are covered with the blood of innocent victims (v. 14-15).

And in the next verse God says:

Wash yourselves and be clean! Get your sins out of my sight. Give up your evil ways.  Learn to do good. Seek justice” (v. 16-17).

No matter where you are on your journey, If you think you’re outside of  the Father’s reach, beyond His care, or too far gone that He won’t forgive you. Remember, “What pleases the Lord more: burnt offerings and sacrifices or obedience to his voice? It is better to obey than to sacrifice. It is better to listen to God than to offer the fat of sheep” (1 Samuel 15:55 NCV).

Choose to believe Him today.