We love Jesus because he first loved us.
I can only imagine the excitement they must have felt at this moment. Imagine being in their shoes. You have heard about Jesus for maybe two years or more. You know he has taught many things, debated the religious leaders, been baptized by John the Baptist, and healed the sick.
Maybe you got wind of rumors regarding the potential scandal of his birth; “Isn’t this that the son of Mary and Joseph?” You’ve heard the stories from friends and family. Those who had been around him testified to you about how wonderful he is, but all along you had your doubts. You wondered if their claims were real. You wondered if maybe they dreamed it all up.
But then, but then, you encountered him for yourself. You heard his voice bellow out against the stone tombs and the body of a once deceased man walked out from within. You were shocked, perplexed. Maybe you rubbed your eyes, wondering if you were actually seeing what you were truly seeing. You couldn’t believe it; it was too good to be true; too terrifying to be real, but then you looked at Jesus and believed. You knew it was true. You knew he was who he said he was.
Not fully, of course, that would take a lifetime--no, an eternity to sort out--but you were beginning a new life.
This reality I asked you to imagine takes us back to truths we find in John’s Gospel. In John 6:25 Jesus said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” And again in John 10:3, “The sheep hear his [that is, Jesus’] voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.”
The moment we came to Jesus, the moment we believed he was who he said he was occured not because of some effort, work, or strength of our own, but because the Father loved us and called us from death to life. For we were nothing but sheep in need of a shepherd. Those who believed in Jesus believed because the Father chose them, and in response, they loved Jesus.
With all of the temptations to rely on our own strength, let us remember the hour we first believed and the grace of God extended to us.
Will Stockdale is a Ministry Associate and co-host of The Will & Rob Show.