Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
There’s a saying, “You’ve got to see it to believe it.” We say this when things that are truly spectacular. I get that way when I travel to Wyoming and see the majesty of a herd of buffalo roaming against the backdrop of snow-capped mountains and crystal-clear waters. When I don’t have the words to explain something, I’m left to say, “You’ve just got to see it to believe.” Then I’ll find the YouTube video for them to see for themselves.
In Mark 10, Jesus continues His teaching on “wealth” as a barrier to entry into the Kingdom of God. He paints an incredible image saying, (Mark 10:25) “It’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God.” The disciples were “astonished.” How can anyone get into the Kingdom of God?! Once again, Jesus makes His point through imagery. He says, (Mark 10:27) “With man it’s impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.”
So … how is it possible for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God? The same way it’s possible for any person … poor, tall, short, big, or small. By trusting completely in Jesus’ saving work on the Cross. By believing – God’s promise that Jesus’ death paid the price for our sins, Jesus’ resurrection proved He is God and has removed the power of sin and death to keep us from entering His Kingdom. But, how can it be so … that someone would actually suffer and die as Jesus did to save another … and how can a dead person come to life again? As Thomas said in the Upper Room, “I’ve got to see it to believe it.” Fortunately for us, God has sent the Holy Spirit so we don’t need to “see to believe.”
In the Creeds’ Third Article, we profess our belief in the Holy Spirit. He comes to us to help us believe what we can’t see, touch, or feel. God’s promises of forgiveness and eternal life can seem too good to be true. But, Martin Luther explains, the Holy Spirit is the one who enables us to believe because (Luther’s Small Catechism, 3rd Article Explanation) “I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him.“ The Holy Spirit enables us to not only believe in God’s promises, but also gives us the power to remain in the faith and to act out our faith by what we say and do.
As we confess our belief in the Holy Spirit, we also confess it’s only through His power, sent by God the Father, that we can believe and have faith in His Word and promises. We have rest in the Kingdom of God, because we believe. We believe because the Holy Spirit enables us to do so. There’s a verse from the band U2 that goes, (Walk On) “You're packing a suitcase for a place none of us has been, a place that has to be believed to be seen.” The Holy Spirit enables us to say of God’s Kingdom, “You’ve got to believe it to see it.”
In Christ’s Love,
Pastor Jim, Your Brother in Christ