FIRST-PERSON: Believing is seeing

DURHAM, N.C. (BP) -- Imagine that you'd been blind your whole life and, suddenly, through some medical miracle you regained your sight. How would you prove to someone that you are now in the light?

It's not that you can logically prove the existence of light. It's not that you can explain how the medicine worked. It's simply because you can now see everything else because of that light.

John's Gospel presents Jesus that way. It opens by saying that Jesus is the light that came into the world. God's Word "became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory" -- the kind of glory that could only belong to God (John 1:14).

In Jesus, John says, we see a being of such unparalleled moral beauty that we know He has to be God.

We see one whose passion to do the will of His Father was more essential to Him than food.

We see one who never sought His own glory but always sought His Father's glory, even to the point of death.

We see a man who possessed the power to walk on top of waves, cast out demons and raise the dead. And yet, we see a man who emptied Himself of that power, saving those who rejected Him in the ultimate act of compassion.

The beauty displayed in Jesus' life was so glorious, so unique, so otherworldly that we know it has to be God.

When Jesus wanted to prove to people that He was who He said He was, He said something really unusual: "The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood" (John 7:18 ESV).

To prove who He was, He pointed to the glory of His life. His life was proof of His claim.

You see, Jesus doesn't just make sense, He brings sense to the world. He is sense. He is the light, and in His light our darkened eyes can see again. As C.S. Lewis once put it, believing in Jesus is like believing that the sun has risen. We believe not only because we see it, but because by it we see everything else.

The most famous example of this transformation is the story John tells about a man, uneducated and blind all his life, whom Jesus heals. After Jesus restores his sight, the man goes around telling everyone that Jesus healed him, and all the religious rulers get ahold of this guy and start raising these intellectual problems with his healing: "Hey, Jesus couldn't have healed you because we know He can't be the Son of God, and here's this or that philosophical problem with worshiping Jesus."

Finally the blind guy, exasperated, says, "Look, I don't know the answers to all your questions. I don't even understand half the words you're using. What I know is that once I was blind and now I see."

That's how coming to Jesus often works. I could lay out for you all the evidence for the resurrection. (In fact, I find it very compelling.) But what I can also tell you is that in Jesus I finally learned what peace is -- not a temporary break in the busy-ness of my life, but a cure to the endless thirst of my soul.

In Him I finally learned a humility that didn't crave exalting itself all the time but one that delighted in giving glory to God.

In Jesus I learned what self-emptying generosity is like. I learned the power to forgive. I tasted, for the first time, the sweet relief of finding my identity in God rather than building it up for myself.

In Him I tasted the glory of God, and I know that He is the truth as surely as I know the sun is shining outside.

In Christ I've gained the kind of knowledge that surpasses logical inference and evidence -- the kind of knowledge where you just know something instinctively.

You may still have questions, even though you know in your heart that Jesus is the Son of God and that He rose from the dead. But the knowledge that comes with making Him your Savior and experiencing His love will take your questions and turn them into trust.

J.D. Greear is pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, N.C., and author of several books including "Gaining by Losing: Why the Future Belongs to Churches That Send."
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