Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Day 9 - A Recipe for Faith

Read: John 1:43-51; Hebrews 11 & 12:1-3

We know that without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). What we may not understand is that apart from doubt there can be no faith. Faith is made from the confidence in things we can only hope for and assurance about things we cannot see (Hebrews 11:1). When you combine what you do not have with what you cannot see, you get doubt. But add in a small measure of confidence, a dash of hope, and a pinch of assurance, and you'll get yourself a nice portion of faith.

In religious circles, people are often criticized for their doubts. Many people see uncertainty as an obstacle to faith. What if, however; doubt is the beginning of faith? What would happen if we were able to add just a portion of hope, assurance, and confidence to our doubts? What if instead of seeing doubt as the opposite of faith, we viewed it as the beginning of faith?

Nathanael's theological questions and doubts fade after He meets Jesus. Simply by demonstrating His intimate knowledge of Nathanael, Jesus overshadows all of his questions with the reality of His person. Nathanael seems sufficiently impressed, but Jesus says, "Aw, that was nothin'!" (Gary's Translation). Jesus then invokes a familiar story. He tells his audience they will see "'heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man." This reference comes from a story in Genesis in which Jacob saw a vision of angels ascending and descending a set of stairs into heaven. Jesus has replaced the ladder with Himself, declaring, "I am the Way to God."

Bring your doubts to Jesus. He will add the assurance, hope and confidence your recipe lacks, and you will be left with a heaping portion of faith.

Rabbi, Son of God, and King of Israel, 

I confess my doubt to you. Make me like Nathanael, willing to pursue you in spite of my many doubts. Add to my doubt the assurance that comes from your knowledge of me, the hope that comes when I see that you are the way to heaven, and the confidence in knowing you will one day reveal yourself as King of kings and Lord of lords. Until that day, increase my faith as I seek to follow you. 

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