Believing into the Christ
"These things have been written in order that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ the son of God, and in order that while believing you might have life in his name." (John 20:31)
“Believing” is at the heart of John’s gospel. It is the point of John's gospel. The tricky thing is understanding what John might mean by believing. For some believing has come to mean being able to agree with some intellectual or creedal position or statement; for example belief in the virgin birth, or the miracles. It has come to mean being able to agree with something like the Westminster Confession of Faith, or the Nicene Creed. When you agree with that you have faith. If you don’t then you do not have faith! Is that what John means? Do we have to have the right understanding or belief in order to reserve our room in eternity?
Belief for the writer of John, and for all the biblical writers in fact, was not about right thought. Last week we heard that the beloved disciple believed when he saw the empty tomb, but did not understand. This “believing” is about our relationship with Jesus. Belief is when we place our trust, hope and life in this relationship. It is when this relationship and the qualities of this relationship govern our lives, and shape our response to others. It is not a finished thing, but something we are forever growing into. It might be better to translate it as believing into Jesus. It is when we live knowing that nothing, not our actions or thoughts, not even death can bring an end to this relationship. May this be the belief we grow into this Easter.