If I had to pick one speech on belief in the Gospels it would be John 14-16. Jesus is nearing the end of his days on earth and He knows it. He has just washed the disciples feet, predicted Peter’s denial, and now it is time for his final rally cry to the boys. So what does he focus on… belief!
In the beginning of John 16 Jesus gives a short definition of sin, “Concerning sin, because they do not believe in me.” (v.9) According to Jesus, sin is not believing in Him. It’s not believing that Jesus is who He says he is, that He can be trusted, that He will do what He says He will do. Sin is not believing that Jesus came that we may have life and have it to the fullest. Sin is settling for anything less that all He has to offer.
At the end of John 16 Jesus ends his speech by affirming the belief of the disciples. For years, literally, Jesus has been trying to get these guys to get it. He tells them, shows them, scolds them, rebukes them, brings them along, stays with them in their fickleness, yet now we see Him turn toward Jerusalem and praise the disciples for their faith. This section of scripture is so significant with regards to belief:
27 No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God 28 I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.” 29 Then Jesus’ disciples said, “Now you are speaking clearly and without figures of speech. 30 Now we can see that you know all things and that you do not even need to have anyone ask you questions. This makes us believethat you came from God.”31 “You believe at last!” (Jesus)
I can’t imagine the excitement of Jesus as he listened to his friends’ say that they finally believe. That had to give Him comfort knowing that He would be leaving the earth very soon. This plan of getting the message of belief out to the masses through a few faithful followers just might work…