2 Kings 2:16
16 Then they said to him, “Look now, there are fifty strong men with your servants. Please let them go and search for your master, lest perhaps the Spirit of the LORD has taken him up and cast him upon some mountain or into some valley.” And he said, “You shall not send anyone.”
17 But when they urged him till he was ashamed, he said, “Send them!” Therefore they sent fifty men, and they searched for three days but did not find him.
18 And when they came back to him, for he had stayed in Jericho, he said to them, “Did I not say to you, ‘Do not go’?”
Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?”
Objective experience would seem to testify against the idea of eternal life. After all, you and I have not seen anyone after they have died, have we? We believe because OTHERS have seen – others such as Simon Peter, John and James, Paul, and, of course, Elisha. We are in good company when we doubt. After all, even one of Jesus’ chosen Twelve – Thomas – doubted His resurrection until he had seen Him face-to-face. The real measure of our faith is that we have NOT seen and yet believe.
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.
26 “And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
We did not see Elijah cross the river Jordan with Elisha and then see only Elisha return, and so it is easy for us to look at the sons of the prophets and say, “Why don’t they just have faith? Why don’t they just believe?” We did not see our brother Lazarus die and then laid in a tomb, and so it is easy for us to say, “Why doesn’t Martha believe the Master? Doesn’t she know Him?” But do WE really believe in the eternal life promised through Christ? Do we believe in it as a concrete REALITY? Or is it just some nebulous, vague, half-hearted fantasy of ours to keep us from total despair?
We hear of a miraculous resurrection, a miracle of healing that goes far beyond all comprehension, and instead of just believing, we often search for another explanation. We explain miracles away.
“He was just in a coma.”
“She was misdiagnosed.”
“Those primitive people in that foreign country are just making up a story.”
“It must have been the tides or some other thing.”
We want the miracle to line up with our supposedly objective reality. And although we claim to believe in “the resurrection and the life,” it is still a belief that is somewhat contingent upon evidence. THAT is why we have so many “nominal” Christians in this country: they are still trying to line up the miracles of the Bible with so-called “scientific reality.” And if the Bible CANNOT be lined up with reality, then it must not be true, only fables and myths. And if it is only mythology, then we need not fear God’s judgment – and we cannot look forward to eternal life with Christ.
The scoffers may say, “Yes, the Spirit of the Lord took Elijah away, but not to heaven. The Spirit probably just took the prophet to a nearby mountain or valley.” And like Elisha we become wearied by their unbelief, and so we say, “Okay, fine, believe whatever you want to believe.” And when they return empty-handed, it will be our turn to say, “I told you so.”
But a bigger day of “I told you so” is coming. On that day, all the dead in Christ will rise, and the Lord shall descend in glory to claim His faithful, and the unbelievers who live at that time will not be able to mock Him anymore. They will either glorify God or else they will deny Him to His face. If we truly believe in Christ, we cannot afford to be like the sons of the prophets of Jericho, only half believing. Our niggling doubts are keeping us grounded in the world rather than looking toward God. Our half-belief is like no belief at all, and our faith suffers because we cannot face reality and faith together.
The call today is to quit looking for explanations and simply BELIEVE. The call from our Savior was not, “Repent, look for evidence, and then believe in part of the gospel.” No the call was “Repent, and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:15)
Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Do not be among those who only believe what they see, who doubt the promises and the JUDGMENTS of the Lord God. Believe, even though you do not see. Believe, even though you have not heard. Believe, even though all “reality” screams against your belief. Believe, because anything else would inevitably lead to despair. Do not be among those who look in the world for evidence that exists in our hearts. The greatest step on our journey of faith is Faith itself, “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1) Faith is the first and the last and every step in between on our journey. Walking with God is all about faith. So let us not seek Him with our eyes but with our faith. And having sought Him in faith, we shall certainly find Him and be blessed.
Blessed Father, we really do believe. We believe not only in Your existence but in the reality of Your promises. We believe in Your Son, that His death brought us salvation, that His life brings us life. We believe that Your Spirit abides in us today. We believe that a day is coming when our belief shall be rewarded. We believe, Lord God. We believe. Amen.