Sunday, February 14, 2016

Believing Into Jesus

February 14 (John 3:16)

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.  (ESV)

Sometimes I like to think about what I want on my tombstone.  This is not morbid musing, but as a teacher of ancient history I know the importance of inscriptions.  I also like to think about nuances of grammar because I love languages and the subtleties they can convey.  So as our church has entered a series on what it means to believe in Jesus, I have had plenty to think about.

In that most famous verse, John 3:16, we read that whoever believes in Jesus will not perish.  Here is an instance in which English just cannot capture the full flavor of the Greek.  When I say I believe in gravity, I mean that have I accepted what others have taught me about it and go along with the idea that it works.  The phrase “whoever believes in him” is a translation of  (ho pisteuōn eis auton), which literally means “the one believing into him.”  It suggests a growing, deepening relationship in which His life and ours meld together to the point that we are indistinguishable from Jesus, which is so much different from simply believing IN something. 

And this is what I want on my tombstone.  I can think of no better way to be remembered than as one who spent his life believing into Jesus.  What about you?  Do you want to be known as someone who believes in Jesus the way you believe in arithmetic or the power of democracy?  Or would you rather be known as someone who believes into Him so that people see Jesus when they see you?

Jesus, I have enough head knowledge about You.  I want to grow deeper into You.  I want to know You with every fiber of my being, in my very flesh and in my soul.  May I be known as one believing into You.  Amen.

Copyright © 2016 by Steven R. Perkins

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