Weekend, September 9, 2023
Doubt? Or Unbelief?
Then a demon-possessed man, who was blind and couldn’t speak, was brought to Jesus. He healed the man so that he could both speak and see. (Matthew 12:22 NLT)
Instead of praising God for an incredible miracle, the Pharisees attributed it to the devil. Jesus had just healed a demon-possessed man who had been blind and unable to speak. While others were amazed, these religious leaders said, “No wonder he can cast out demons. He gets his power from Satan, the prince of demons” (Matthew 12:24 NLT).
How is it that people who studied the Scriptures, who had dedicated themselves to spiritual things and were considered godly individuals, could actually take something that was done by the hand of God and attribute it to the devil?
This process had been building for some time. Their unbelief wasn’t based in honest doubt. Rather, it was their very familiarity with spiritual things and rejection of those things that brought them to this state. They should have known better.
There’s a difference between ignorance and a deliberate choice. There’s a difference between doubt and unbelief. Doubt is a matter of the mind, but unbelief is a matter of the will. Doubt takes place when we may not understand what God is doing or why He’s doing it. But unbelief is a choice that we make.
The same truth that can liberate one person can harden another. It’s entirely up to the person who is listening to that truth and their response to it.
The Pharisees weren’t simply doubting the work of God; their hearts were filled with unbelief. They didn’t reject Jesus and His messiahship for lack of evidence. He had fulfilled many Old Testament prophecies.
They didn’t reject Jesus because His lifestyle was inconsistent with His preaching. He was perfect and flawless. Even Pilate, as he was preparing to condemn Jesus, said, “I find nothing wrong with this man!” (Luke 23:4 NLT).
Their rejection of Jesus—ultimately, their blasphemy of the Holy Spirit—was but a reflection of every person who intentionally rejects Jesus Christ. They rejected Jesus because He interfered with the way they had chosen to live. He was a threat to their lifestyle, a threat to their religious system.
Jesus said, “And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil” (John 3:19 NLT). This explains why people do not believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord. If you’re evil, then you will hate the light.
Despite all their rhetoric and claims of interest in spiritual things, these religious leaders were not really searching for the truth. Nor were they searching for the Messiah. Otherwise, they would have embraced Jesus.
That is why people reject Him today. They don’t reject Jesus Christ because they have examined the evidence. Most have never honestly and carefully examined the claims of Christ.
The real reason people reject Jesus Christ is because they want things left as they are. They don’t want to change.
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