Pastor Phillip O’Reilly
The questions God asks are to penetrate our hearts. In the final week of this series, we took a look at 5 of God’s hardest to answer questions.
Could you not watch for one hour? Before Jesus took on the weight of the world’s sins, He prayed. He took His disciples with Him and told them to “keep watch and pray” [Matthew 26:38]. And, like humans do, they messed up. They fell asleep. Jesus returns, and used their slumber to teach them about being alert to the battle happening around us. Just like those disciples, we cannot close our eyes. We must stay vigilant and awake. Only then can we channel the Holy Spirit and do what it takes to win back hearts from the enemy.
Do you want to get well? In John 5, we hear this story about water that could heal people of any disease they had. Sick people would wait for an angel to stir the water. Then, they would all try to be the first one to step in the water so they could be healed. Jesus, seeing a very sick man waiting, asks him this simple question. Do you want to get well? The man responded “Sir, there’s no way I can get healed, for I have no one who will lower me into the water when the angel comes.” [vs 7] And just like that, Jesus said “Stand up, pick up your mat, and you will walk!” [vs 8] The thing is – even if we lack the ability or the strength, God doesn’t. We just have to recognize that He is sufficient for us.
Why are you so afraid? We all have heard the story of the disciples on the boat in the what Scripture calls a violent storm. The wind is tossing their boat to and fro, the gigantic waves are crashing down on top of them, it’s dark…the whole thing is a mess. They disciples are running all around, panicking, waking up Jesus. And with one word from Him, the sea calms. Like the disciples that night, we must learn to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. Even when (especially when) fear, doubt, and unbelief are surrounding us. The truth is that we are surrounded by Jesus, so we have nothing to fear.
Do you still not see or understand? Jesus is asking about our belief here. He wants to know why we still have doubt, why we still struggle to believe Him at His word. Haven’t we seen His goodness? Haven’t we seen His grace? Haven’t we seen His provision? We have to stick firmly to what we know about God, and not get distracted by all we don’t know. We know that God is good and merciful and gracious – and we must let that be our focus.
What does scripture say? The answer to all these questions is in the Word. The answers to who God is, to what our purpose is – those answers are only found in Scripture. The Word holds great promise, as well as great instructions. Faith isn’t just about what you believe, it’s about what we do with it. And the directions for that are only in the Bible. If ever we doubt, if ever we are consumed by fear, if ever we are unsure, we have to turn to the Word. Because everything we need is there.
God loves us so much that He asks questions that make us uncomfortable. He presses and presses so that new wine can flow from our lives, so that our fruits do not become rotten, so that we do not labor in vain. God’s questions are a road map, helping us remember our way to the life He has designed for us. The only way is through Jesus, through trusting, and through accepting the freedom that has already been freely given.