“Because Jesus knew some people were mean,” says Torie, 7.
If you’ve ever watched any old western movies, you know that some people enjoy being mean. They wouldn’t have it any other way.
Early in his ministry, Jesus performed miracles in Jerusalem. The Bible says, “Many believed in his name when they saw the signs which he did. But Jesus did not commit himself to them, because he knew all men, and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for he knew what was in man” (John 2:23b-25).
Some people try to parse the word “believe” in this text to mean the people didn’t really believe at all. It was some kind of head belief and not a true heart belief. The Gospel of John knows nothing of this kind of nonsense. People either believe in Jesus or don’t believe in him.
This kind of parsing usually comes from the naïve notion that the moment one believes in Jesus as savior, all of life is instantly transformed. Jesus should be able to trust those who believe in him, right?
“Even if people believe in Jesus, their mind, will and emotions still might not be changed until they renew their minds with the Bible,” says Katherine, 9.
It’s true that life’s biggest problem instantly disappears at the moment of conversion. All Christians will be raised from the dead to share in Christ’s victory over death. But the remainder of life is waiting for renewing-of-mind transformation.
The Bible is God’s handbook for renewing minds. It presents a worldview where God replaces us as the center of the universe. That takes some rethinking of how we view ourselves, people and the world in which we live.
The Apostle Paul wrote this: “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2).
A seminary student once approached the academic dean with a philosophical conundrum. He said that the library at the secular university he attended had a tight security system to prevent students from stealing books. Yet, most professors taught that people were basically good. The seminary library had no security system, yet the seminary doctrinal statement taught that people were created in God’s image but fallen in the sense that they inherited Adam’s original sin.
The security system at the secular university tells the real story of how school administrators viewed their students. Policy makers didn’t trust them. They knew that books would disappear without a security system. I suppose seminary administrators hoped that ministerial students had been transformed enough in their walk with Christ to resist the temptation to steal library books.
“Jesus was afraid that if people knew about the miracles he did, some people would get angry and kill him before God’s timing,” says Emma, 10.
Jesus knew the difference between new believers and seasoned disciples. He wasn’t about to trust new believers with things that could interrupt God’s timetable for him.
Think about this: Before Jesus left this world, he commissioned his disciples to take the gospel to the uttermost parts of the world. He promised to send the Holy Spirit to empower them for this worldwide task.
Memorize this truth: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Ask this question: Can God trust you to spread the good news?