Our church is going through a series titled When Questions are Answers. I listened to my dad’s message on it, which I thought was really great. Catch it here.
One verse stuck out to me, and it was the exchange between Jesus and Peter. It’s in Matthew 16:15-17:
“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied,”Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.
Here we see the principle that people who know Jesus are only able to know this because it was revealed to them by God in heaven. This is what revelation means. It’s God suddenly turning the lights on for us. There are many applications of this.
1. People who have had a revelation of Jesus begin to change the way they live.
Recently, I had the privilege of witnessing as Kuya Kim Atienza got baptized in water as a public declaration of his faith in Jesus. Over the past few months we’ve been in conversations and I’ve just been amazed at how undeniable the work of God is in his life.
It wasn’t about the meetings, booklets, or classes. Those were just tools God used. What is clear though is that a person who encounters Jesus really receives a new life.
2. People who aren’t changing the way they live probably haven’t had that revelation yet, so we must be faithful in helping them get there.
So many people, Christians and non-Christians get this point wrong.
Christians get it wrong by hating and being antagonistic to people who live differently from them. Why can’t you just change? Why don’t you just stop what you’re doing? These Christians could just be misguided. But sometimes, they’re so full of hate that you have to wonder if they know Jesus at all.
Non-Christians make the same mistake. (Probably because they encountered the “Christians” in the previous paragraph.) They think that Christians will force unwilling people to live like them.
Christianity isn’t about behavior change. It’s about meeting a Person. When they meet Jesus and fall in love with Him, they will change willingly, voluntarily, and gracefully.
There is no point in forcing someone to live a certain way if they don’t want to. (Unless you’re a parent or a prison guard, then you have a responsibility to society to keep your charges in order.)
But ultimately, someone who doesn’t know Jesus won’t want to live for Him because they CAN’T. They haven’t had it revealed to them. They don’t have the Holy Spirit. Instead of hating on people like that, we should be patient in the same way God has been so patient with us.
3. Let’s keep sharing our message because we never know who will encounter Him next.
I met Kuya Kim years ago through my wife. She and Donita Rose worked with him on Umagang Kay Ganda. In his words, their lifestyle appealed to him because they never tried to shove their faith down his throat.
They weren’t offensive but they didn’t stop either. They kept the relational lines open. When he was in the ICU last October, he texted my wife and asked that we tell him about Jesus. Why the shift? He’d been in the ICU before and this wasn’t his response then. God used that situation in Kim’s life to reveal Himself.
So to the believers reading this: Let’s not be self-righteous, pompous, harsh, or judgmental. If only all Christians stopped that, most objections to the faith would vanish. And we could really, openly, honestly talk with one another. Let’s trust God to reveal Himself, as we continue to share with our words and our lifestyle.
And if you aren’t a believer: Sorry for the Christians who act like jerks, like I have in the past. Understand that everyone is on a journey like yours, that even Christians who have put their faith in Christ are not automatically without mistakes but are now in a relationship that will transform them as they walk with Christ.
If you’re curious what this is all about, it’s not about forcing you to change who you are. We’ve tried that and it doesn’t work. This is about meeting Someone. Let’s keep the conversation open, and, who knows, you might meet Him too.