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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Friday, April 26, 2019              

Today’s Scripture Reading | Acts 10:34–43

Then Peter began to speak to them: “I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ—he is Lord of all. That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. We are witnesses to all that he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear, not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” (NRSV)

The word believe can be unexpectedly complicated. At first glance, it seems simple. This passage states that if you believe in Jesus, you receive forgiveness for your sins through his name. I believe in Jesus. In other words, I accept as truth that he is the Son of God and that he died for my sins so I should be all set—right?

But then I started thinking: What does it really mean to say that I believe in Jesus? If believing in something means to accept it as true, what exactly is it that I’m accepting as true when I say I believe in Jesus? Is it enough for me to say that I accept as truth that he is the Son of God and died for my sins? Or is it more than that? Does that also mean I’m saying that I accept his teachings as truth? And if so, what does that mean? Does it simply mean that I agree with those teachings? Or does it mean that I also try to live my life in a way that’s aligned to them? The rabbit hole can get pretty deep.

At this point, I have more questions than answers. And I’m OK with that. My faith journey has been, and will continue to be, one that is filled with questions about what I believe and what those beliefs mean for the way I choose to live my life.

What do you believe?

Lord, be with me as I question what it is that I believe. Give me courage to ask hard questions and patience as I search for answers. And in the midst of it all, remind me that what’s most important is that you love me and died so that my sins might be forgiven. Amen.

Written by Nicole Spirgen, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

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