Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”
What Do You Know?
I know the sky is blue. I can see that with my own eyes.
Snow is cold, this I know. Because I can feel it with my hands.
I know that blueberries taste delicious, because I can taste that with my tongue.
The definition of “know” is “to perceive or understand as fact or truth; to apprehend clearly and with certainty” (according to dictionary.com).
It is important to know things. This is why we go to school. It is also why we continue to learn after we leave school, by reading books, watching shows, even reading blog posts!
There are a lot of things I know. But knowing is differant from believing.
What Do You Believe?
The definition of “believe” is “to have confidence in the truth, the existence, or the reliability of something, although without absolute proof that one is right in doing so” (again, according to dictionary.com).
I believe that there is a bottom of the ocean, even though I’ve never seen it with my own eyes.
I believe that twelve men walked on the surface of the moon, even though I only have their word to take for it. Well, that, and the video recorded evidence. But I have no direct evidence of them walking on the moon. I wasn’t there.
To know something is different than to believe something, even though they seem to be similar.
Belief in the Unseen
This is why knowledge of Jesus Christ is different that belief in Jesus Christ.
There is no salvation in knowing Jesus Christ. Lots and lots of people know of Christ who will not be saved, including Satan the demons (see James 2:18-20).
No one since the death of John the Apostle has actually seen Jesus face-to-face on this earth. Yet, billions upon billions believe in Jesus.
Jesus himself calls all of us who do so “blessed” (see John 20:29).
Knowledge is Important, but Not as Much as Faith
Belief and faith go hand in hand. We believe in what we do not have first-hand sight of. Faith is “is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).
I don’t mean to say knowledge is worthless. It certainly does have worth and plays a part of the Christian faith. As Peter would say, “we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”
Peter and the boys were given faith by the Holy Spirit. But they had an added gift of being eye-witnesses of the things that Jesus had done up to that point – the latest being the feeding of the 5000.
Their witness becomes the record that we have been given in the inspired and inerrant Word of God, that the Holy Spirit also uses to create faith in us.
We can know about Jesus, what he did and what he said.
But we can also believe in Jesus, because the Holy Spirit gives us the gift of faith. Belief which is strengthened by what we can know (reading the Word of God).
Heavenly Father, how blessed are we! Not only have you given us your Word, which offers and imparts to us all the fruits of the redemption of your dear Son Jesus Christ, but you have also opened our eyes, so that we may know your grace and in firm confidence receive it. Though the world, the Law, our heart, and our conscience condemn us, what do we care? Your Word declares us free of all guild. O keep us in such faith unto our end and grant that all may appreciate the great treasure which we possess. Help us to triumph over all attacks of the devil, the world, and our flesh and finally to depart this life in peace and to be received into your eternal kingdom. Hear us for the sake of our risen and victorious Champion, Jesus Christ. Amen. (C.F.W. Walther’s Prayer for Faith in the Word, adapted from the Lutheran Study Bible, © 2009 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO)
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