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Summary: Sometimes the message of the Gospel is as difficult for others to believe as a magical world beyond the wardrobe.

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In the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, the wardrobe represents the barrier to belief. Beyond the back of that cabinet lay a magical world in which humans could be heroes and the fantastic was true. Lucy goes into the wardrobe and finds the back of it a gateway to a wonderful place called Narnia.

But when she returns, she is confronted with a family that at first thinks she is playing, then lying and finally crazy. Edmund learns the truth and still doesn’t verify her claims.

Lucy is frustrated and depressed. How could she find something so wonderful only to be rebuffed by everyone she loves and tells about it? She withdraws and becomes unwilling to talk to the others because of their unbelief.

Like Lucy, Isaiah foretells the coming of the Messiah and warns that accounts of Him will not be believed.

1 Who has believed our message

and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?

2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot,

and like a root out of dry ground.

He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,

nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.

3 He was despised and rejected by men,

a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.

Like one from whom men hide their faces

he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Isaiah 53:1-3 (NIV)

We confront this issue when we try to share the good news of Jesus. Even at Christmas time, a supposed time of faith and hope, people neglect the truth of the season. Stores who could not survive without Christmas revenue refuse to talk about Christmas because of the religious overtones of the word. Instead they choose a less offensive “holiday” or “season” approach to their marketing.

The question of belief is an exploration of barriers that stand between us and Jesus. Some barriers are involuntary - they are there whether we like it or not, others are voluntary - we place them or maintain them purposely.

The difference between these two kinds of barriers is the difference between a lake and a wall. There are two parts of Michigan, the upper and lower peninsulas. People from the upper peninsula can walk to Wisconsin. People from the lower peninsula cannot, because the states are separated by Lake Michigan. The only way to get to Wisconsin for these people is to take a boat, or leave the state. For people from the upper peninsula, their borders are on land and invisible, just like other state borders.

Contrast this to old East and West Berlin. Before the Berlin wall came down, it was a great ordeal to go back and forth. There was just a wall with a gate, but refugees were shot trying to get past that barrier illegally.

The difference between Lake Michigan and the Berlin Wall is that one is natural; the other was placed by someone’s act of the will. People cross or refuse to cross Lake Michigan all the time because

• they either do or don’t have means

• because they either do or don’t want to

• because they either can or they cannot

It isn’t impossible, but people will cross or not based on their personal desires, limitations and abilities.

Unlike the Berlin wall which the government of Germany would not cross because they refused to.

- It was not far

- There was access

- It did not look impossible

Logically, it was easy to cross, it was just walking through a gate, but politics and animosity kept the barrier intact.

This is the way it is with Jesus. When we ask the question, "Why won’t people believe us?" We are addressing the types of barriers they have to belief. Some are natural like the lake - they may be crossed once a means is provided. Some are manufactured - they will not be crossed whether access is provided or not.

Natural barriers

We are people of nature and senses. We perceive things through the gates of eyes, ears, noses, hands, and tongues. Only experience is enough for most people to move beyond these five senses and believe things that are not subject to that kind of perception.

Jesus being the Son of God

- That He lived a sinless life

- That He died to forgive our sins

- That He rose from the dead to give us eternal life

- That He offers a living relationship with God

cannot be physically sensed, but discerned by faith.

This is a natural barrier. Culture, family, and experience will determine how easy it is for someone to cross it and believe.

> To some it sounds too good to be true

Look at how the Apostles responded to Jesus who stood right in front of them, risen from the dead.

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