Summary: The issue our text addresses is that it insists that Faith in Jesus Christ Excludes Every Other Option. For the fact of the matter is that, for the most part, we only turn to Jesus when we have ran out of options: He’s usually our last option.
One of the greatest affronts to the majesty of the Master occurs when we ask His help in prayer, and then rely on Something or Someone else in addition. We have this tenacious tendency of using this Jesus/And strategy; Jesus/And… my money, my medicine, my doctor, my parents, my spouse, my friends, my reasoning and intelligence.
It’s like me going across the street asking for my neighbor’s help, and while we are crossing the street, I ask someone else to help me in addition. Now why would I do such a thing? That strategy indicates that I don’t believe my neighbor is capable of giving me the help I need; or I am just down-right insensitive and uncaring of the other person’s feelings; or I remember our relationship is shaky because of a past wrong done, and therefore, I don’t trust that person to do the right thing; or I fear he will broadcast that he had to help me and expose what was wrong in my home. But in either or all cases, it comes down to the matter of Trust. I don’t fully trust that person’s ability or sincerity in helping me.
So likewise, to come to Jesus for Help means that we must abandon all other helps and props, and Rely On Him Only.
And that is the issue our text addresses. It insists that Faith in Him Excludes Every Other Option. For the fact of the matter is that, for the most part, we only turn to Jesus when we have ran out of options: He’s usually our last option. And that, in itself, exposes the greater issue of our Lack of Trust and Faith in His Ability to handle our needs. And that is an Indictment on our relationship to Him. It says very clearly that He is not our Lord and Savior; that we do not seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness; that we do not acknowledge Him in all things. For the most part, Jesus is a fire escape for most of us; an exist when there is danger. And generally, we are the very ones who complain when the Lord doesn’t come to our rescue the moment we snap our finger! Can you not see the inconsistency here? What kind of creatures are we to expect the Lord to be faithful to us but we exempt ourselves from wholehearted trust and commitment to Him?
And that’s why we need to have this discussion today. Because if we haven’t abandoned all other helps and props to rely on Him Only, then there is an issue of Fear which we need to deal with. That’s why we are confronted With this Negative and Positive Command of Jesus of “Be Not Afraid, Only Believe” in Verse 36.
That seems to suggest to me that often-times Jesus has to deal with Our Negatives before He can do the Positive! Too often, we come to Jesus with our Negatives; we confront Him with Negative Attitudes, Negative Thoughts, Negative Spirits, with Negative Emotions. And so, the first thing He does is Prohibits the Negative - He commands us to cease an action already in progress, “Stop Being Afraid.” Its as if He says to us, ‘You do not have My permission to keep on being afraid. I will not allow you to be afraid in My presence. Stop it! I forbid it. Stop it right now!’ Jesus will not allow us to keep on being Negative in His Presence. He will command us to ‘Sit Our Buts Down!’ And so, I think it Is Important for us to recognize that Jesus will not allow us to Keep On Being Negative In His Presence! He always deals with our Negative Thoughts, Moods, Emotions, Attitudes and Spirits first.