Are you bold?

John 16:29-32 “His disciples said, ‘Ah, now you are speaking plainly and not using figurative speech! Now we know that you know all things and do not need anyone to question you; this is why we believe that you came from God.’ Jesus answered them, ‘Do you now believe? Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone.’”

Is the strength of your faith dependent on whose company you find yourself in?  Are you one way around one group of people but quite another around a different group?  When you are around people that love the Lord, are you quick to speak about Christ, but when you’re in your place of work or your neighborhood where any talk of Christ brings strange looks, mocking, or even worse, do you tend to hold back or not speak of Christ at all.  If that’s the case, you’re in good company, for Jesus’ apostles, whom he spent three years teaching face to face, were just like that.  In the verses above they seemed to be full of faith. Jesus had just answered some questions that they had but which they never asked Him. He knew their minds and His answers proved that to them. 

What man can read another man’s mind?  Here was someone who wasn’t like other men. His wisdom, knowledge, and power were greater by far than anything they had ever experienced.  In that setting, with Christ right before them, they boldly proclaimed “we believe that you came from God.”  To this Jesus asked “Do you now believe?” In other words, “finally, after three years of seeing the miracles I performed, hearing the things I spoke, and seeing my sinless life, you only now finally believe?”  Yet, in that very question Jesus knew that their faith was still very weak. Peter was there, and He would soon deny Christ three times. And the others, in just a few hours, would flee as Jesus was arrested and borne away to be crucified.  They would then act like they didn’t know Him. They would not want to be identified with Him for fear of those who didn’t believe in Him. 

What about us?  Are we quick to speak about Christ around those who love Him and call themselves Christians, but when we’re among unbelievers, when the opportunity comes, do we clam right up in fear?  As with the apostles, Jesus knows us better than we know ourselves. Yet He still loves us in spite of our weak faith. He constantly is at work in our lives to put us in situations and around people that will reveal to us just how weak our faith really is and show us where it needs to grow.  This is a big battle for many believers.  It is difficult to talk to unbelievers about Christ.  We fear their reaction, perhaps a reaction that could lead to the loss of a friend.  Yet Jesus has told us plainly that we are to “preach the gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15),” in spite of our fears, and in spite of our feelings of inadequacy about doing so.  You see, if we don’t, who will?  It is no understatement that the very lives of those we love depend on someone with the true gospel sharing it with them. 

Surely, one of our greatest needs is for boldness.  The mighty apostle Paul prayed for this and asked others to pray for him about it as well (Ephesians 6:19).  If he needed this strength, most certainly we do too.  Are you praying for this? Do you want it?  Are you praying for other believers you know along these lines?  Certainly, these are the kinds of prayers that God is waiting to hear and willing to answer – if we’re not too afraid to ask. 

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