Andy Stanley - Living As If

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Some of the most remarkable people that I've ever met and actually some of the most remarkable people that you have ever met, that we've all met are people that we can describe this way, they're the belief in spite of people, have you ever met a belief in spite of person? That they're going through difficult circumstances financially or with their health or with their family, or they're going through a divorce or they're just going through difficult stuff. And yet their confidence in God is just like unshakable, they still have joy, they still have peace it defies logic. They have that peace that surpasses as Paul said, all human comprehension. That means it doesn't even make sense sometimes you wonder if they're in denial but they're not, they just trust God and their story is inspiring and sometimes it's disturbing.

In fact for some of you the reason that you're Christians or the reason that you're even curious in becoming a Christian or the reason that you showed up at church today, is because you know one of these kinds of people and you think to yourself, and you wouldn't say this out loud but I'll just say it for you, you think to yourself, you know what I don't have that and I would like to have that, and even if there's nothing to it I would like to have that because it's a lot better than the life I'm living because I don't have any peace, I don't have much confidence. The future scares me to death, death scares me to death and these people just, I mean in spite of these incredible difficult circumstances they're just fine and I wanna know that I would be fine if I were facing circumstances like they're facing. Because when you meet people going through difficult times we all internalize it, we all say I wonder how I would respond if I was going through that. And when you meet one of these folks it's like wow!

There's a gentleman you may have heard his name, his name's Dr. Francis Collins, Dr. Collins met one of those people when he was in med school doing rounds at a hospital in North Carolina. You may have heard his name because he served as the director of the Human Genome Project. Now I know you all know this but I'm gonna catch you up real quick on what genome is okay just for, I know you know, but anyway. The genome is an organisms complete set of DNA. Any organism, every organism has a genome and the genome is the complete set of an organism's DNA including all of their genes.

And so Dr. Collins was given the assignment to put together a team to map the entire human genome 3.1 billion letters, inside of every single one of your cells check that out, and and so this was a remarkable accomplishment because it helps us in terms of predicting what diseases would do, predicting how diseases impact families, family systems I mean it's remarkable, obviously a very, very bright guy. But when he was 27 years old he's working at a hospital in North Carolina, doing rounds as a student you know where they walk in ask you the same question day after day after day after day and then they write stuff down and scribble and they leave.

Okay, so this is his internship kind of thing he's doing rounds and because, partly because he was in North Carolina he kept bumping into Christians. People who were dying, had terminal diseases that could be somewhat treated but that couldn't be cured and he keeps talking to these people and so many of them are talking about their faith, and they're going to heaven, and they're gonna be reunited with loved ones. And he grew up in a home where both of his parents are pretty much agnostic and this was so unnerving to him. In fact, in his book he wrote a book called The Language of God which I highly recommend I read it about four years ago, three years ago. The Language of God. He says this in the book, he said, this is his response to to all these people. "If faith was a psychological crutch it must be a very powerful one. If it was nothing more than a veneer of cultural tradition".

Let me translate this for you, in other words is this is just something people in the south do, if this is just what uneducated people do, if this is what mountain folk do to just get through life. If this was just something that had to do with cultural tradition then, and this is what bothered him, this is a good question. Then, why he said, "Why were these people not shaking their fist at God? And demanding their friends and families stop all this talk this nonsense about a loving and benevolent supernatural power"? I mean they're dying and God's not answering their prayer and yet they still have faith, this was just so unnerving to him. Then one afternoon he walks into a room where there was a woman dying of I think it was congenital heart disease.

And there was just no hope no cure, and she had talked to him before and mentioned her faith in heaven and all that kind of stuff but on this particular day, as they're chatting back and forth and he's asking her the questions she says to him, she says, "Doctor I've told you what I believe doctor what do you believe"? And this question ended up changing his life, he says in the book he said, I just turned red I kind of stammered uh -uh-uh well, I'm not really sure. And then, and this is his word not mine he said faced, and this this may be your word you just haven't embraced it yet. He said faced with my willful blindness, willful blindness, that is I haven't seen but I'm not really looking.

I don't know but I haven't really asked the question. There may be something more but I've never explored it. He said, "Faced with my willful blindness and my arrogance I began a journey". And he decided to see what could be seen and to try to discover what could be discovered. And in the end he discovered that there was something to the claims of Christ. In fact the claims of Jesus is found in the Gospels were so compelling, he became a Christian. And he continued to follow his faith and follow Jesus throughout his entire life, up and to the point where, I mean throughout his life even now. Even through this whole journey of basically mapping the human genome. In other words there was more evidence that he thought there was, but he never knew there was evidence until he looked.

Now here's the cool thing, Jesus predicted this, and John helped, Jesus predicted it and John helped. Jesus said I'm gonna give you enough evidence to believe and John said you know what, I want people to know what I know, to hear what I've heard, to see what I've seen so that they can believe like I believe. Because at the end of the day we said this last week, that Christianity at the end of the day, Christianity is not about just believing, it's not just believe, just believe, just believe and believe. Just have faith and faith. And it's not about taking it by faith whatever it is. John and Peter and James and Bartholomew and all the rest they did not follow Jesus because of faith. And he would caution you and he would caution me and he would caution all of us against just following Jesus because of faith, we don't follow because of faith. They followed because of what they actually saw and they followed because of what they actually heard. And he encourages the readers of his account of the life of Jesus in the same way. He said I want you to believe and I want you to place your faith in Jesus because of what I've seen and what I have heard.

Here's how he says it in his gospel, he says that which was from the beginning and the beginning isn't Genesis, the beginning is this adventure of Jesus showing up on planet Earth and making these outrageous claims and then substantiating them by doing these outrageous things. He says that which was from the beginning because he was there in the beginning, John was. Which we have heard. In other words I'm not gonna tell you something somebody told me, I heard this. Which we have seen. These are things that we, Peter and the gang, we saw these with our own eyes. Which we have looked at, and which our hands have touched. This was his way of saying after the resurrection, okay we weren't seeing things, this wasn't a mirage, this wasn't a ghost, this wasn't a wishful thinking that turned into something we thought we saw.

This is what we're letting you know about, this is what we proclaim concerning the word of life, the life appeared. And I think this was John's way of saying, "Look I'm a simple man, my father was a fisherman, I was a fisherman and then Jesus came along and then turned everything upside down. So don't ask me any difficult questions all I know is this as a Jewish boy I had always believed in God I'd always worship Yahweh. And I'm just telling you that invisible mysterious don't ask me a lot of questions God came to earth in the form of a person and I met him. He was my rabbi, my friend, he's my Savior, he's Jesus. That life appeared and we have seen it and testified to it and we proclaimed to you what we have seen and heard". He said, "I'm just telling you what I saw, telling you what I heard". He outlives all of his friends he's the last man standing probably he's the last of Jesus apostles. And he's encouraged apparently by a group of people to document his account, his life, his story the life of Jesus.

I think he was too old to see very well I doubt very seriously he wrote this, he probably didn't know Greek. It comes to us in the Greek language which means he probably, in fact all likelihood he dictated his story. Somebody basically interviewed the story out of him and it comes to us as the Gospel of John. But here's the most important thing perhaps. John is not content to just tell us what happened, John has an agenda. John wants something to happen to you, and John wants something to happen to us that happened to him based on his interaction with the Son of God. He spells it out for us at the end, he gives us his purpose statement.

In other words he says, here's why I wrote this or dictated this, it wasn't just so you would know what happened, I have an agenda and here's my agenda. Jesus performed many other signs, he did a whole lot of others, and a lot of things in the presence of his disciples which are not recorded in this book. And this doesn't refer to the Bible this refers to this document, this first century document we call the Gospel of John.

John would in another place say I'm telling you that Jesus did so many things, and said so many things there's no way to cram all that into one document but these things the ones I've included, but these are written that you, these aren't written just so that you would know, these are written so that you would believe. I've done my best he says to lay this out so that your experience with what I write would mirror my experience with this living Lord. I've written these things that you would believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the one that the Jewish people or many of the Jewish people had waited on for so long. That he's the son of God, for those of you who would say that, those of you who believe in the gods or believe there's one God that he's the son of God.

And that by believing you might have life in his name. And throughout the gospel he refers to this as eternal life and he's clear eternal life is not something that starts when you die eternal life is living this life, knowing there's something beyond this life. Because John knows, and many of you know and many of us know, when you live this life with the assumption there's something beyond this life you live this life a very different way. So, John lays out the sequence of events that brought him into fellowship and into followship with Jesus, and he's hoping that these conversations and these events, these signs, would do the very same thing for you. So, he organizes his whole gospel around these seven signs or these seven events that were signs that pointed to the identity of Jesus. And his hope is that what happened to him, what happened to his readers as well.

So today we're looking at the second sign and if you have an English Bible there may be a header in your Bible that basically describes this event we're gonna look at today this way. The healing of the nobleman's son the healing of the nobleman son. Okay, is there any questions so far? Is everybody kind of caught it with me? Okay, so here we go. So we're picking out from where we left off last week so here's what happened, Jesus goes to the wedding it's amazing, his mom says fix it, he's like I didn't come to save weddings I came to save the world. She chuckles walks off, he saves the wedding. You were here last week or if you missed that go back and watch. Then after this Jesus and he's way up north in Galilee, because the nation of Israel is like this way. He's way up here in Galilee, he heads down to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover.

And you should know this if you read the Gospels. Whenever Jesus goes to Jerusalem, he's in danger. Every time he goes to Jerusalem there's trouble that's why sometimes he stays a little while, heads back north a little bit safer for him in Galilee. So those who follow him every time they go to Jerusalem they kind of hold their breath like, is this how's this gonna go? Are we gonna make it out alive? Because Jesus would just say the strangest things and just stir up trouble, and sure enough he gets to Jerusalem for Passover, he goes to the temple and he is so offended by what he sees.

And this is that famous incident where he goes in and he drives out the moneychangers because they're charging too much interest. He takes all the people who are selling pigeons and cattle and lambs and sheep, that are defective and people are bringing these things that just don't meet the standard that the Old Testament said that Israelites are to meet when they come to worship God. He drives them all out, causes a big scene all the people with him are like, "Oh and we knew, we should have stayed in Galilee"! And then the leaders of the temple asked Jesus a very important question, they don't say what in the world do you think you're doing? They ask a better question. They say, "Who do you think you are"? And then he answers.

And John tells us while we were there in Jerusalem, I'll never forget it. While we were there many people saw the signs he was performing and what did they do? They believed in his name, because this is the formula. Seeing is believing. While he's there has that famous conversation with Nicodemus where he says Nicodemus you must be born again, Nicodemus is like what are you talking about? Jesus is like what am I talking about? You're a leader, you're supposed to know these things. And his head's spinning, and then they head back to Galilee. But they go through Samaria, and he meets a woman at the well, we know she has a name we'll find out in heaven I guess. But what we know is her name is the woman at the well, and Jesus has a conversation with the woman it's so unusual.

He's by himself with a woman talking to a woman, she's like you're a Jew, talking to me a Samaritan woman. And Jesus says, you come to this well every day trying to get water, but I wanna give you something that will never run out. And he uses this analogy, and then she believes and she goes to Sychar, her little village there and Jesus goes in. And there's a little foreshadowing that happens that people in Sychar, this town the Samaritan town where the Samaritan woman is from, they believe in Jesus based on the testimony of the woman. Because that's what the future looks like. Then he makes his way back to Galilee and that's where our story picks up.

Here's what John says happened next. Once more he visited Cana in Galilee and everybody who had read the document so far is like, oh yeah that sounds familiar, John says it should sound familiar. "Where he had turned the water into wine. And there was a certain royal official whose son lay sick". Now the first sign was a joyful occasion, the second sign is a heartbreaking occasion. And this is so interesting to me and maybe this isn't a big deal to you, Jesus wades in to both. He gets involved in a celebration and he gets involved in someone's sickness. Now there are two really important details I need to point out before we get too far into this story. First of all Capernaum, this royal official lived in Capernaum and his son lay sick in Capernaum and Capernaum is about an eight hour walk from Cana where Jesus currently is. Or if you had a horse or a chariot maybe two to three hours.

The second important detail is that he's a royal official which meant he was probably a Jewish aristocrat. He's wealthy, he did not walk seven or eight hours this was probably a three-hour chariot ride or a three hour, on horseback depending on how many people were traveling with him. And because he was an aristocrat that meant he was probably a Sadducee and there were two important groups in Jerusalem, Judea at this time. The Pharisees that we hear a lot about and the Sadducees, the Pharisees were very religious. The Pharisees kept the law meticulously, the Pharisees believed that God was involved in the details of life. The Pharisees for the most part believed there would be a resurrection of the dead.

The Sadducees were more intellectual, they were more deterministic. They weren't sure there was an afterlife, we are here for the pleasure of God and everything is determined. Your health is determined, how many kids you have. If you have kids if you get married, how much money you have. Where you fall in society, where you rank among your friends all of it's determined it's already set. You don't really ask God for anything because what's gonna happen is just going to happen. Fate dictates everything. But today, all of that gets brushed aside because on this particular occasion, he is a desperate father. Isn't it interesting that all of our intellect, and all of our pride, and all of our certainty oftentimes gets pushed to the periphery when someone we love is suffering.

And on this day he is a father whose scared to death that his son is about to die. When this man heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him. Two and a half hours, three hours by horseback, by chariot certainly he didn't walk. He went to him and he begged Jesus to come back to his hometown and heal his son because his son was close to death. He didn't send servants.

Now I have a theory, I'm just making this part up so don't take this too seriously. I think here's what happened. When he heard, they'd heard about Jesus, they'd never met Jesus. There's all these stories about Jesus and when his wife heard that Jesus was coming back north to the area of Galilee, she said to her husband you go get him and you bring him here. And her husband probably said but our son is dying when I get back our son may be dead. And she says, you go down there and you get that fellow and you bring him here. And so this husband, this man had to make the decision, "Do I leave my dying son, knowing I may not see him again? Should I just send a servant? And besides these are just rumors! These are just stories people are telling about this supposed miracle worker who's from around here somewhere. Other people say he's from Bethlehem, we're not really sure where this guy is from".

And the verb tense here says that he was pleading with Jesus over and over and over. Forget dignity, forget his position in society, forget his theology, forget the worldview. "My son is dying and if you can help me what will it take to get you to my son's bedside"? Some of you been there right? Some of you the first prayers you ever prayed were prayers of desperation. And maybe your prayer went something like this, and I'm not being facetious you just said no, you said to whom it may concern. I don't know if anybody's out there. But if anybody's out there, I need help and I need help now. What Jesus says next seems so insensitive but it's only because of the English translation. Jesus says something where he's actually not just addressing the nobleman, he's addressing everyone who's listening because he has an entourage of people.

And by this time in Jesus ministry wherever he goes there's a crowd, there's always a crowd with Jesus. And so Jesus says basically what he knew to be true, and he again he's addressing the crowd not just the nobleman. He says, "Unless you people see signs and wonders you will not believe". Unless you actually see something you won't believe and this sounds like an indictment but it's not, he's basically saying what's true. I mean why should they take Jesus seriously he's making some outrageous claims and it only gets worse as time goes by. So why should they take him seriously? And Jesus is stating, there's no way you're gonna believe me there's no way you're going to accept me unless I do something that convinces you because seeing is believing. I'm not expecting anyone to simply have faith, and faith or faith and a preacher that knows how to razzle-dazzle people with their words and their stories.

And so Jesus decides it seems to give them something to talk about. If we're gonna do a wonder, let's make it so wonderful that people talk about it. This is amazing, for 2,000 years. Of course the nobleman, he's like whatever. Okay he leans in, he says sir. "Sir come down before my child dies". Sir, Lord I know in society I am Way above you in this moment I'm beneath you. I know that most people are appalled even my close friends and the people that travel with me they're embarrassed, by how small I've become that I'm begging that I'm placing myself under your authority, would you please, please, please do me a favor. He's so desperate. But the interesting thing when you read this on your own he's so confident. He's so confident. "If I can just get this rabbi to my son's bedside my son will be fine".

Why is he so confident? Why did he make this trip? Why did he risk walking away as his son was dying and leaving his wife and family to take care of his dying son? And it's simple. Rumors, rumors of the Son of Man. Stories of a savior, holiness with human hands. And in his mind he has two options. Jesus comes with me or he doesn't. Jesus comes with me and perhaps my son is healed if all these rumors are true, or Jesus refuses to come and my son will die. But Jesus smiles, because there's a third option. And Jesus asked him to do, what Jesus has been asking people to do ever since. Jesus asked this nobleman to trust him based on the testimony of other people. He asked him to entrust his son to him based on the stories told about him. And Jesus turns to the nobleman and he says, "Go".

Go, in fact the Greek text if you teased it out, it carries this idea go on about your business, "Just go on and don't hurry, and there's no need to worry, just go, I'm not coming but you have nothing to worry about". Go, he said your son will live. Come on dad's can you imagine this? Wait, wait, wait, you want me to go home without you? If I go home without you there may be two deaths in our family. You want me to just wait, wait, wait. I had two categories you come with me my son lives, you don't come with me my son dies, you're saying you're not coming with me and my son lives. He glances at his bodyguards I think and thinks, maybe I take him by force right? I mean my son's life is at risk. And you just want me to do a little shopping, buy some flowers for the missus. Maybe wait until the heat of the day passes and then just kind of meander on back home without you?

And this is where we all live right here, this is where we live. This is why this is so brilliant these aren't random acts of kindness this is Jesus painting a picture and laying a path. Again, that men and women will be walking in for 2000 years it's the path that many of you have walked, are walking or perhaps will walk in the future. This story is a lifetime reduced to a day. This is your lifetime and my lifetime reduced to a day. We are asked to take Jesus at his word based on the word of other people. We're asked to entrust our lives to Jesus and our health to Jesus, and our futures to Jesus and our finances to Jesus. And our children, our healthy children and our sick children to Jesus based on the words of people who knew him and who had seen him. That we are to go about our days with our unanswered prayers, confident there's something to this man that he is in fact who he claimed and demonstrated that he was. That he is in fact who he claimed to be.

And as I said earlier, we've all seen people do that haven't we? Who just carry unanswered prayer. Burdens that won't go away, sicknesses that won't be healed, financial situations that won't turn around, husbands who won't come home, kids who won't come home, parents who act like children. We've seen people carry this and there's just joy and there's just peace and there's confidence and it's intimidating. And it's an inspiring, and that's why Francis Collins came to faith and it may be why you came to faith as well. And you know what this means for some of the rest of you maybe most of you, for those of you who are following Jesus and there's that nagging unanswered prayer there's that thing that God won't do. And yet you continue to serve and you continue to give and you continue to listen and you continue to be faithful. And every single night you feel like your prayers are repeated over and over and over and every once in a while you're tempted to wonder where is God but you remain faithful.

And do you know who's watching you? No. And do you know what God is doing in the lives of people around you because of your faithfulness? No. And do you know who is a day or a month or a year or five years away from placing their faith in Jesus because of you? No. This is our lives condensed to a day. So the nobleman, can you imagine? He's stunned, it's like either you're coming with me or you're not and Jesus is like no you're going home without me, but don't worry and don't hurry. And the nobleman just stares his entourage waits. He's diminished himself in the eyes of the public by begging he's not getting what he came for, he's not getting who he came for. And he exhales and he makes his decision, a decision that people have been making for 2,000 years. This is not an exaggeration, it's a decision that changes the trajectory of a life and perhaps could change the trajectory of your life. He decided to believe Jesus and to live as if what Jesus said was true even though there was no evidence yet.

The text continues he says this, the man believed the word Jesus spoke to him. And then here's the most important part. And then he behaved as if what Jesus said could be trusted, and he departed for home. Imagine this, he walked away from the only person who could save his son. He walked away from the only person that could heal his son because he decided to trust him. To use a phrase that maybe you heard if you grew up in church, or you've heard Christians use if you didn't grow up in church. He walked home by faith and not by sight. Can you imagine? Some of you can, you've been walking this way for years right? Again, it's a lifetime condensed to a day. While he was still on his way home wondering what he was gonna face when he got home, his servants from home met him with the news that the boy was still alive but they didn't come half away, they didn't come for an walk for hours and just give him an update, the son was better.

And when he inquired, when the nobleman inquired of his servants who had walked halfway or ridden halfway to find him when he inquired as to the time when his son got better they said to him yesterday at 1:00 in the afternoon the fever left him. And a chill runs down his spine and tears fill his eyes, right? And he looks back at Cana and the father realized the text tells us, the father realized it was the exact time at which Jesus said to him, "Go I'm not coming with you but don't hurry and don't worry your son will live".

And he kicks his horse, or he tells his chariot driver drive and he leaves his entourage in the dust and he heads for home as fast as he can because now he's in a hurry. And there's his wife, and she says something miraculous has happened but she notices he doesn't look surprised. And then she looks around and she asks where's the rabbi? And he tells his wife the story. And so as a result, he and his whole household believed. Of course they did, because seeing is believing even when you have to wait to see, right? Seeing is believing because he believed before he saw based on the testimony of other people and he found out those testimonies were true the rumors were true, rumors of the Son of Man. Stories of a savior, holiness with human hands. And this was the second sign Jesus performed after coming from Judea to Galilee.

Just go back to that phrase, walking by faith if you grew up like me in church you heard this all the time but here's what they didn't tell us. Walking by faith is not walking by hope. And walking by faith is not walking by wishful thinking here's what it means to walk by faith, we just saw it demonstrated. Walking by faith is living every single day of your life as if Jesus is who Jesus claimed to be. Walking by faith is living every single day of your life as if what Jesus said is true. It's walking and living every single day of your life as if God really is your heavenly Father because Jesus said when you pray, you address him as your father.

Whenever you're confused about God think perfect Heavenly Father. Whenever things don't seem to go the way you think they should go, just remember perfect Heavenly Father. When you can't make sense of the scripture just remember, perfect Heavenly Father. To walk by faith, to live by faith is to live as if your sin really is forgiven that God is not gonna hold it against you that you don't have to confess it over and over and over and over. That you don't have to pay God back because God isn't looking to be paid back because that's what Jesus taught and that's what Jesus Illustrated and that was the significance of his death that happens at the end of the Gospel of John. For some of you this is the hardest part is to live as if you really are loved unconditionally, not because of anything you did. And it's to live and this is the thing that changes everything, this is what changed the world.

What changed the world, the reason Christianity changed the world was not because everybody got their prayers answered. The reason Christianity shaped Western culture is not because everybody got what they wanted and what they asked for. What shaped Western culture was at the end of this very gospel, Jesus says to his guys okay guys, I'm leaving but here's the deal. Peter's like can I go? No, okay here's the deal listen. Peter you can't go, you're not even gonna wanna go just listen, guys I'm gonna leave, and I'm gonna come back and I'm gonna leave again, but here's what I want you to hear from me. By this all people will know that I'm who I claim to be and that you're my follower. By how you treat one another, and the worst things are for you the brighter your lights going to shine.

So I'm sorry but I'm not always gonna say yes and your good Heavenly Father won't always say yes but follow me and love as I have loved. You are now ambassadors of the unique brand of love. It's the as I have loved you brand. My friends, this is what changed the world, this is what changes marriages. This is what changes the city, this is what changes a culture. To walk by faith is to live with the confidence that God is who he claimed to be as revealed to us by the son. Because one day they're gonna get so frustrated with Jesus Philip's gonna say, "Okay, okay, okay, look, you're going way over my head, just show us the Father". And Jesus will say, "If you've seen me, you've seen the father. If you wanna know what God is like, pay attention to what I'm like".

And for those of you who've been Christians a long time do you know what it means to walk by faith? You've been doing it. Do you know what it means the implications of staggering? In fact, this is what is most inspiring for many of us. To walk by faith is to live with the confidence that your faith and your sacrifice and your commitment and your generosity are not in vain, because they are anchored to something real and someone real. It's living and walking by faith that causes someone like a Francis Collins to pay attention to pause and to wonder. It's your walking by faith, living as if God is who God claims to be and who Jesus said he is. It's your life and your lifestyle that causes people to pause and to wonder and it has been this way since the very, very beginning.

At the end of John's account, we'll get to this later but just a little heads up. At the end of John's account Jesus has been crucified he's risen from the dead and they're gathered with him and he's saying some kind of final things. And Jesus knows that the reason they have come back to faith is because they saw him die, they looked into an empty tomb and now they're having a conversation right? You would believe right? And Jesus also knows that these men are gonna document these experiences and that generation after generation after generation are gonna recognize what they recognized not because we saw it, but because of their testimony.

And Jesus makes the statement. This is so amazing. He makes a statement to them that's really for you and really for me, he says this, he says to the guys, he says because you have seen me, now that I'm alive from the dead. Because you've seen me you have believed because come on, seeing is believing, how could you not believe? You saw me dead and now I'm alive. You believe because of what you've seen. And then he says something to you, to you, to you and to your children and my children. He says but blessed, most blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed. Blessed are those who in the future will believe based on to his disciples, your testimonies, because of what you have seen and what you have heard ain't that amazing?

John would remind us, Okay I'm not special I'm just a bystander. But I thought it was important for me to document what I heard and document what I saw so that you could embrace Jesus the way I did not because you saw what I saw or heard what I heard but because I'm telling you what I saw and what I heard. But I'm not just telling you what I saw and what I heard so you know what I saw and what I heard. This isn't about just knowing what happened it's bigger than that. These things are written, the reason I chose these particular incidents, the reason I chose these particular conversations these things are written that you may believe. I don't want you to just know something I want you to do something. I want you to respond the way I responded when I saw what I saw and I heard what I heard.

These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God and that by believing you may have life in his name. And my hope is that through this journey together that perhaps you by hearing and seeing through the eyes and the ears of John, that you too would believe if you haven't already and that you too would have life and his name. And if you're tempted to think, because we're all tempted to think, "Yeah but see Andy if I experienced something like the nobleman that day of course I would believe". Here's what I would say to you, pick up the Gospel of John and just read it. Not as the Bible, but the account of an old man who saw and who heard and perhaps in reading for yourself something will happen that no one can explain.

And I'll close with this. For instance, Collins in his book, it's either his book or the interview I listened to several interviews that he's done. He made this statement somewhere. He said it's not enough to read the notes, literally he said it's not enough to read the notes on the page at some point you have to hear the music. And my hope and my prayer is that as you listen, and that perhaps as you read that you would hear the music and that you would believe and that you would have eternal life.
Are you Human?:*