The Danger of Unbelief
Last week we talked about the idea of faith, how to believe or trust is evident; it is proved by your actions. Where James, the brother of Jesus, teaches us that faith without action is dead. Jesus always applauded people’s faith or trust in him. People’s faith in Jesus was based on what they already knew about him. They had the confidence that Jesus was the one who could fix their problem. Jesus commended those who showed faith, but reprimanded those who showed lack of faith. O you of little faith, why did you doubt. It’s interesting that doubting according to Jesus is showing little faith. To show unbelief or lack of faith is dangerous for a follower of Jesus. John tells us in chapter 12:37-50 there were people who didn’t believe in Jesus even after seeing his miracles. Lack of faith in Jesus is dangerous.
Early in his ministry Jesus went back to the town where he grew up, Nazareth (64 miles from Jerusalem). Jesus came to his hometown after he started his public ministry. He was accompanied by his disciples. On the Sabbath, he taught in the synagogue. Matthew. And Mark tell us how he was received by those among whom he grew up.
Jesus taught in their synagogue and people were astonished (amazed at his teaching).
It’s interesting that the people who knew Jesus from childhood are the ones who showed the least faith in him. Where did this man get this wisdom and the power to do miracles? They had heard about some of the miracles he did in Galilee; however, the knowledge they had about Jesus didn’t help them see beyond. They knew Jesus’ family. Isn’t this the carpenter? (they knew what Jesus used to do before he began preaching).
His mother, brothers and sisters.
Where did this man get all these things? They took offense at Jesus. They were offended (the word literally means, they stumbled over or tripped over Jesus).
It was offensive that Jesus came to their town as a Jewish rabbi.
These people had trouble believing that Jesus was anything other than a carpenter. Their knowledge of Jesus was confined to their town; they knew somethings about Jesus, but they didn’t know Jesus.
Jesus said: “Only in his hometown and in his own house is a prophet without honor.”
Instead of honor, Jesus found rejection; they were offended by Jesus coming to town as someone they had not known.
Jesus didn’t do many miracles in Nazareth because of their lack of faith.
Unbelief or lack of faith keeps you from God’s work in your life. It kept the Nazarene from seeing God at work in their town; but Jesus was just a carpenter to them.
Jesus had told Mary in John 11:40 “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” Unbelief gets you nothing from God.
Jesus had told a man who struggled believing. Everything is possible for he who believes. Mark 9:23
Therefore, nothing is possible when you lack faith.
The generation of Israelites that came out of Egypt failed to enter the land of the promise due to their unbelief (lack of faith). Hebrews 3:19
Unbelief is tripping over God. They took offense at Jesus. Jesus is known as the cornerstone, a stone that makes people stumble, 1 Pet.2:6-8
For in Scripture it says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.7Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe. “The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,”cand,“A stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.”
Jesus is the stone precious for those who believe (a foundation stone), but he is a stumbling stone, a rock that makes those who don’t believe trip over and fall. Unbelief gets you tripping over Jesus. Offended by who he is and what he does.
There are lots of followers of Jesus tripping over him because they only want to believe certain things about Jesus, certain teachings about. For instance, God’s love, mercy, forgiveness, grace but they don’t want to hear about God’s judgment, his attitude about sin, God’s justice. He is all that.
Unbelief keeps you from seeing God’s power in your life; it keeps you from his blessings.
Lack of faith gets you easily offended by Jesus. Which means you are tripping over him and not letting him be the foundation of your life.
What is the cure for lack of faith or unbelief? Get to know Jesus! Don’t just know some things about Jesus; get to know him personally. The more you keep knowing Jesus, the more you will trust him. Knowing Jesus is the cure for lack of faith. The people of Nazareth were kept from seeing amazing things from Jesus because of their lack of faith.
Think about what your lack of faith is keeping you from today in your own life.