Leading us to Faith

20Christ was chosen even before the world was created, but because of you, he did not come until these last days. 21And when he did come, it was to lead you to have faith in God, who raised him from death and honored him in a glorious way. That’s why you have put your faith and hope in God. — 1 Peter 1:20-21 (CEV) [note link goes to RSV]

There are so many different reasons given why Jesus had to come to earth, live as we do, and then die. The interesting thing is that anyone who claims a single reason is the reason is probably wrong, but most people who claim a reason are right. One might summarize it by saying that Jesus came to fulfill God’s plan.

There is a key reason given in our passage today, and I quoted from the Contemporary English Version because it states this so clearly. Jesus came to lead us to have faith in God.

Now that’s much more than simply believing that God exists, or even believing lots of stuff about God. There’s the story told of the acrobat who was demonstrating tight-rope walking over Niagara Falls. I’m probably going to invent a new version of this as I tell it, so bear with me! He walks across, does some tricks, then walks across with a wheelbarrow. Finally he pushes the wheelbarrow across the falls with a large sack of potatoes in it. Finally he turns to a man in the crowd and asks, “Do you think I could push this wheelbarrow across the rope with a man inside?”

The man says, “Yes.”

“Well,” responds the acrobat. Get in the wheelbarrow!”

Faith moves from believing that God exists, and even that God is the creator, redeemer, and lawgiver, to the point where one puts one’s trust in God. That takes a great deal of trust, and God knows that.

Jesus came so that he could invite you to get into God’s wheelbarrow and do some outrageous things for him. He sent Jesus to show you that it could be done. Jesus did what he saw his Father doing, what his Father told him to do. Jesus lived by the power of the Holy Spirit, following the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Now he calls on you and me to put our trust in him.

Are you ready to get into the wheelbarrow? Or do you just trust the master acrobat to carry someone else?

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