evidence | John 12.37
Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him. John 12:37 | ESV
And why did Jesus go into hiding? Because they kept hiding their eyes from the facts right before their faces! Sign after sign after sign after sign after sign after sign after sign done right before their eyes and they keep telling him “talk to the hand” because they refuse to buy into any of it; because they refuse to buy into him. MAV (Mike’s Amplified Version)
After coming to the faith, there was an inseparable companion, always found under my arm right next to my Bible – and I wish I could say it was the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit was present (the Holy Spirit is always present, I just wasn’t aware of his presence at that point), but what I owned and relied upon was Josh McDowell’s Evidence Demands a Verdict.
I was such an apologetics nerd.
Apologetics is “the discipline of defending a position by the use of information.”
And did I ever use information! I memorized McDowell’s evidence point by point. In my college speech class I made a masterful case for the historical reliability of the New Testament documents. Okay, “masterful” is putting it on just a bit thick. But I thought it was an ironclad case. The information simply makes this a slam dunk conclusion to anyone with half a brain. Who needs faith, it’s just common sense! (I don’t recall ever saying this, I just thought it. A lot.) After making my case, I sat down, and the Jewish student sitting right in front of me turned around and said with her own level of intensity, “I disagree with every word you just said.” The professor quickly reminded us that this was “Speech 101” and not “Debate 101.” But the moment stuck with me.
Information does not equal faith.
If it did, faith would become a mathematical equation – in which case we really don’t need faith. We have fact. We have sight. Faith does interact with facts observed, but it’s more than facts. It bridges the gap from what is seen to what is not seen. And there’s plenty of both when it comes to God and Christ.
“Surely you are a God who hides himself” said the ancient prophet.
“It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; the glory of kings to search it out,” adds the ancient sage.
It’s like an eternal game of hide and seek.
God reveals and conceals.
Jesus performs seven signs, but does so, for the most part, away from what we would today consider major media outlets. He didn’t work under prime time spotlights. You had to be paying attention. And when you caught sight of him in action, what you saw and what you did about it depended on your own heart condition.
Faith is more than facts.
Faith is heart.
It is will.
It is a gift.
And it can be ever so elusive.
Which should give us all a very healthy dose of humility and patience with one another as we journey with it and towards it – as well as a deeper resolve not to miss the signs he is parading right before us that would inspire it.
What has your own journey of faith looked like? What role has information and facts played? What other factors have come into play?
Lord, help me to see the signs of your presence and work in the most unexpected of times and places. Lead me into a deeper life experience of faith and trust that absorbs and weighs facts but ultimately transcends them. Keep me from arrogance or ignorance masquerading as faith. Show me anew what it means to walk by faith and not by sight. Through Christ.