Jesus told his disciples he would suffer, die, and rise again, but they didn’t grasp that these things would happen. Last week I proposed this was mainly because of their beliefs and bias. The disciples had expectations of what the Messiah would do, and because of those expectations, they couldn’t take seriously Jesus’ claims that he would suffer and die.
Understanding how their beliefs and biases prevented them from understanding what Jesus had made plain to them brings two challenges before us. I pointed out last week how our own beliefs and biases give rise to expectations of the Lord Jesus Christ which are often selfish and corrupt. The other challenge we face is the world in which we live.
Jesus has expectations of us – He expects us to live for him and he expects us to make disciples. That means we live a life of faith in his name, devoting time to his Word and to prayer, sharing our faith with others, talking about Jesus Christ and the Bible to others, and inviting unbelieving people to church and Bible study. We help people, (all kinds of people not just Christians), we pray for them and do good deeds for them.
If you have done these things, then you have likely noticed people who don’t believe in Jesus Christ have beliefs and biases that prevent them from believing the Bible, etc.
One driving force behind their biases is Naturalism. Secularists have convinced many that it’s not rational to believe in supernatural things such as gods, miracles, and divine revelation. I’ve run into some Christians who are so “spiritual” that it is hard to take them seriously, I have found most Christians rather rational people. So what’s the problem?
Many Christians over the years have yielded to secularism on several issues like Evolution and other theories. Some Christians know more about Naturalism than they do the Bible. If an Evolutionist asks you a question and you cannot articulate why you believe what you believe, then they feel justified in writing you off as irrational.
The Word of God is indeed a complex revelation, but it is not overly difficult to learn and understand it. Studying the Bible is profitable to you in every imaginable way (2 Timothy 3.16-17), and answers to perplexing questions are readily available. Neither is it excessively challenging to learn about various scientific topics and again, there are many Christian scientists that present outstanding evidences that support what we believe.
The more you understand about all these things, the more apt you are to spot error, and better yet, the readier you will be to use reason as well as love to disciple others.
Peter counsels us: Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. (1 Peter 3.15-16 NIV)
There is another “ism” driving beliefs and biases that prevent people from accepting Jesus Christ. I’ll get to that next week. ;-}