The Danger of Unbelief
Matthew 13:58 Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.
“Believe it or not” is a phrase used by the Ripley organization in their presentation of the weird, strange, and unimaginable. Driven by showcasing what was once themed in a side show circus, the organization has been wowing audiences for years with things that often defy explanation.
Jesus came back to his hometown. He had been in surrounding areas ministering through the teaching of parables and performing miracles. One would expect a warm reception in their hometown. Such was not the case in Nazareth. Instead, he discovered that even though he had taught with authority in their synagogues, the people just couldn’t believe that he, one of their own, a son of a simple carpenter, could be the true Messiah.
Ripley’s makes it a point for its audiences to see the strange and unimaginable for themselves, then make the call “Believe it or not”. The rather tongue-in-cheek phrase is meant to push you to the obvious. You see it, seeing is believing, therefore believe. This may not fit your reality, but believe it, this strange thing you are seeing is very much a reality.
In a similar vein Jesus was there, in the flesh, his teaching authority, backed up by the miracles he was performing elsewhere (verifiable by eye witnesses), should have been enough even for his own people, from the village of his youth, to believe that He was who he said he was. But, they chose not to believe. Unbelief is skepticism taken to its logical conclusion. Skepticism left alone long enough will lead to unbelief. And that, my friend, is not a safe, but, rather, a very dangerous place to be.
Not believing the doctor when they say you need serious treatment for an ailment immediately, will speed up your demise. Not believing the accountant that you owe the government a great deal of money will not get you a reprieve by the IRS. Not believing you have just flunked out of college will not ensure the people who manage the scholarship money promised to you will keep sending you the money.
For Jesus’ people, those in his own hometown, not believing in Him t meant that he would not perform many miracles there. It also meant he would not linger there. Unbelief, locks out the good work of the Lord in the hearts, and lives of people.
Maybe you are reading this and you don’t believe at all. You are convinced there is no God, that Jesus was a myth, and there is nothing true at all. Yet, you still look both ways when you cross the street, for you know it’s either that car your you. You still check the weather before locking in your outside plans, for you believe that weather happens and can ruin your plans. You don’t steal from your coworkers because you believe that stealing is wrong. In reality you believe many things because they conform to reality. You are not as much of an unbeliever after all.
Yet, when it comes to matters of the heart and soul you choose not to believe in Jesus Christ. But, there are nagging questions you have not found an answer for. Big questions like “What is the ultimate reality?” “Why am I even here?” “What do I do with guilt that I know I feel, even if people push we to accept that it’s all relative.”
I have yet to meet a person that does not struggle with existential questions such as these. These are the ultimate issues. Issues of the heart. Issues of reality. Issues the person of Jesus Christ dealt with. His miracles were verifiable. His teaching was without flaw. His life was without compromise. His death was complete. His resurrection a reality.
Believe it or not. That is the question. Jesus says the same thing to all of us. Either he is the savior of the world, or he is a charlatan. He cannot be both. Unbelief will keep you for entering to a relationship with him that will guarantee your future. A future where our faith becomes sight. Heaven. Belief is the necessary step only you can take. Believe it or not, this is crucial. Don’t be like Jesus’ home town. Rather, believe in Christ and you will find salvation.