Do You Now Believe?
John 16: 31 Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe?
In the 16th chapter of the Book of John, Jesus taught us an object lesson in faith. Faith teaches that in spite of what we see or hear, in spite of the actions of others who surround us, it operates on a rock-solid belief in the Word of God.
Jesus came to earth with a clear mandate. He was born to die for the sins of the whole world. His purpose was to re-establish a broken relationship between humanity and God. Furthermore, Jesus was to prepare twelve men who would build upon the foundation that He laid to assure that the gospel would be spread throughout the world. There were times when the disciples didn’t get things right because He said something like, “O ye of little faith.”
Matthew 8:26 And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.
But, in spite of all, He knew that the day would come when they would “get” what He was teaching and that they would be prepared to do what He called them to do. Jesus was no mere prophet, He was God Incarnate, the Word of God in the flesh.
A compelling example of the conflict between the level of understanding about Jesus that the disciples should have had and what they actually understood came in the last portion of the 16th chapter of the Book of John. Jesus knew that the time of His death was near and He began to give His final words of preparation to His disciples. He repeated the same things concerning His death, resurrection, and ascension that He had told them on several occasions, but even at this late hour they were confused. Their minds were so fixated on how they wanted things to be that they could not hear the truth of His words concerning how they were going to be.
In John 16:16, Jesus said: A little while and ye will not see me: and again, a little while and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father. These were the words of the disciples:
17 Then said some of his disciples among themselves, What is this that he saith unto us, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me: and, Because I go to the Father?
18 They said therefore, What is this that he saith, A little while? we cannot tell what he saith.
Despite their confusion, Jesus said, in the 25th verse,
25 These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall shew you plainly of the Father.
Jesus was literally at the point when He should have had disciples who were ready for the “hand-off” of His earthly ministry to them. He was at a place when He should have been able to consider the first phase of His mission, their preparation, complete and move on to the next phase, yet the disciples were still saying, “We don’t understand.” But, did Jesus get discouraged? No. His response was positive, in spite of what He heard from them, even at that late hour. He said in the 26th verse:
26 At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you:
27 For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.
28 I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.
Jesus had faith in the work that He had done, and the things that He had taught the disciples. He also knew that the Spirit of God would be needed to complete the preparation of the disciples for the work that they were to do. Although it did not appear that they were prepared, listen to what happened in verses 29 and 30. They were finally able to express their belief in Him as the Son of God.
29 His disciples said unto him, Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb.
30 Now are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou camest forth from God.
Because Jesus was able to answer the very question of their hearts, even though they had not asked Him the question, they proudly announced that they believed in Him. Of course, Jesus knew that they would soon walk away from Him when the pressure became heavy. In their own way they would each deny what they now claimed to believe. Jesus knew that the Spirit of God had work to do in their hearts, but the time had come to move on to the critical work of dying for the sins of the whole world. Jesus knew these things, of course, because He was no mere prophet, He was the very Word of God and the Word of God will stand forever.
The timing of each step of Jesus’s mission was in God’s hands, and the time for the final step was approaching. The disciples needed to understand that Jesus had come from God and that He was about to return to His Heavenly Father. They needed to know beyond a reasonable doubt that God loved them, and, based on their belief in Jesus as the Son of God, that God would do whatever they needed Him to do when they asked.
With the disciples’ expressed belief in who Jesus was (verse 29), Jesus responded (in John 16:31) Do ye now believe? Jesus was able to move on to the final phase of the plan of God. In verse 32 He said, Behold, the hour cometh and is now come. Jesus then proceeded to pray for the disciples with the Prayer of John 17. In John 17:1, Jesus was able to say, “Father, the hour is come.”
The rest of the story of Jesus’s salvation of humanity is a glorious history, and it all pivoted when the disciples expressed their belief in Him. Immediately following their expression of belief, Jesus proceeded with the final phase of His mission, which was His death, burial, and resurrection.
This is a powerful lesson for us today. We too must know and never doubt that everything that God has said will come to pass. We must believe in the infallible Word of God. So many of our blessings are delayed because we don’t believe that they will happen, even though we pray that they will.
What are you seeking God for? Is it a closer walk with God, a greater anointing, or an understanding of your purpose in life? Ask yourself these questions: Do I believe that He who has begun a good work in me will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ (Phil. 1:6)? Do I believe that if God has called me to a specific purpose, it will come to pass? I say unto you in the words of Numbers 23:19
19 God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?
We must not be like those of little faith, we must believe God. Heb.11:1 says, Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Let us pray: Dear Heavenly Father, I thank you for opening my understanding about who Jesus, my Lord, and Savior is. I thank you that He came to earth to live as a man of God, fully man and fully God, and to die for my sins. He is God the Son, and He now reigns as my King of Kings and Lord of Lords. I believe in the shed blood of Jesus Christ for the propitiation of my sins. I believe that everything that You spoke to me about my life will come to pass. All hope, faith, and prayers hinge upon Jesus’ sacrifice and Your Grace and Mercy. Thank you, Father. I believe. Amen.