The Jews make that request of Jesus.
The Jews make this statement at a very specific time and at a very specific place: the Feast of Dedication (while celebrating the remembrance of miraculous provision) at Solomon’s Colonnade (where God had traditionally accomplished great things).
Can you identify with “the Jews” in this passage?
Have you ever prayed to the Lord and asked Him to show you, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that He is the Messiah? That you are on the right path, doing what He’s asked you to do?
I have… I still do…
Just like the Jews in this passage.
The question they asked, as some versions literally render it, “how long dost thou take away our soul?”
“Tell us plainly… Have you come to take away our souls?”
My husband and I have often discussed conundrum. He rarely doubts God; he rarely questions if He is true, if He has a plan and we are following it, if Jesus is Who He says He is and really did come and do what He said He would. I, on the other hand, struggle more with doubt… a lot more often than I care to admit. I easily identify with the Jews’ question.
I start thinking about God, trying to figure Him out, trying to make Him and what I think I see Him doing make-sense-according-to-me.
My mind gets overwhelmed by the enormity and awesomeness and power of the God I desperately want to believe in.
Then I start coming up with my own ideas to try and make all the puzzle pieces fit:
- What if we’ve made all of this up?
- What if the Bible isn’t inspired and is nothing more than a creative, enticing fabrication created by those who wanted for themselves and others a real purpose in life?
- What if this life is all there is and then there is nothing?
- What if what I think God wants me to do is me disguising my own wishes and not really His will or plan?
Big problem… because many day, I can’t really, definitively, answer those questions. Then there are those many days I’m confident I can.
There really aren’t any answers other than to confess, once again, my unbelief – to cry out in desperation, “Lord, I believe! Help Thou my unbelief!”
Then, the very things that entice me to doubt
…rioters burning what still feels like “our church,” the very church where we worshiped, dripped sweat, fellowshipped, laughed, taught and sometimes struggled to stay awake while others taught…
God uses to help my unbelief as I hear about God’s grace and sustaining presence even in the midst of so much loss.
The very things that open the door and invite anxiety
…transitioning to a new place of ministry that is literal light years different and apart from where we’ve been, what we’ve done and what we know. Everything seems so new, so scary, so hard, so unknown…
God uses to wrap me with comfort as I see so many above and beyond provisions in little and unexpected things.
That’s what faith is all about: a believing synergism between God’s empowering grace to believe… and man’s choice to believe, regardless…
At some moment, I have to leap and trust that God will be there to catch me, even on the days I can’t see Him. And? To be okay with, on those doubting days, knowing that the moment I’ll know for sure will be that moment when I’m caught.
So what’s the answer to that question the Jews posed?
Jesus did not come to steal and destroy but to deliver life back to our souls.
Do you struggle with doubt? How do you overcome those doubts?
How would you answer the Jews question?