Trust part 2
Bible Study #13
Hot Topics #4
In the last study #12, I finished by posing a question: But how did these Bible people learn that they could trust in God completely? What was it that gave them that trust? See Part 2 of this study on trust.
So, in this study I will attempt to answer that question. Let’s begin with the following verse:
Hebrews 11:6 tells us: But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
Two thoughts here about the above verse:
1 God is real! He is the reason you are alive, the reason you can read these words and understand them.
2 God not only has an ‘interest’ in you, but because He loves YOU, He wants your life to prosper, which means to advance forward in any good direction! Isaiah 55:11 (God speaking to Isaiah) So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. Jeremiah 29:11 For I am conscious of my thoughts about you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you hope at the end.
Starting with those two thoughts, let’s look deeper into ‘Trust in God’
As was mentioned in Part one, when our trust in people is broken, it is a very difficult climb to get back into a situation where we trust people again. Very often, this climb back needs a catalyst, something to not only get it started, but also to be an ongoing fire within, that will maintain our trust when later other negative issues arise.
Looking at the experience of Jesus’ closest followers, that’s exactly what they went through. Let’s follow an account from the New Testament book of Luke. That will give us an answer to the initial question of how did they learn to trust God completely?
What Did Jesus’ followers expect and what were they putting their trust in?
Jesus had taught his closest followers for almost three years, during that time through many signs, words and wonders, he had demonstrated to them that He was their awaited ‘Messiah’.
From their traditional Jewish upbringing, they had many expectations or hopes of how things would go for Israel and for themselves with what Jesus would do as the Messiah.
One example of their expectation was in their arguing amongst themselves about who would be leaders under Jesus, in the Kingdom they thought was coming very soon.
In Matthew 18 we read in the first verse: At that hour the disciples came to Jesus, saying, Who is the greater in the kingdom of Heaven? Or, as Luke recorded it: Luke 22:24 And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest.
They wanted to know what leadership or prominent position they would occupy. They were expecting glorious things to be happening soon.
In Matthew 17 however, Jesus had talked to them about his coming suffering, but the disciples didn’t really want acknowledge or hear about that, it made them sad. Jesus said of himself, Matthew 17:23 And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again. And they were exceeding sorry.
What Jesus said didn’t fit their expectations. So, perhaps they were looking to and trusting their own expectations of Jesus, more than what Jesus himself was saying.
So, their trust was in an image they had of Jesus as their ‘Messiah’.
Then we move on in the Gospel accounts and see Jesus coming into Jerusalem in a triumphant entry (Note: There is an optional video 4:20 minutes long in the link that gives the whole story of Jesus’ triumphal entry ) Luke 19:36-40.
The disciples were elated, things were going great. They could see themselves, ruling in this soon coming kingdom.
Then things started to turn sour. In the following days Jesus did none of the things that the disciples expected to move ahead with his conquering the Romans and setting up the independent Jewish kingdom.
That proved to be too much for one disciple, Judas Iscariot. He doubted whether Jesus was the real Messiah and decided to force Jesus to act so that he and everyone else would know for sure if Jesus was or wasn’t the Messiah.
He betrayed Jesus, who was arrested by temple guards and finally taken by the Jewish religious leaders and presented to the Roman Procurator, Pilate as a traitor who should be crucified. Which the Romans were then obliged to do.
Nothing went as the disciples had hoped, with Jesus’ crucifixion their hopes were shattered and their trust was broken.
After Jesus’ crucifixion the disciples were fearful that they would be next to be executed, as the disciples believed the Jewish rulers wanted to stamp out anything to do with Jesus. But, rumors, stories of Jesus’ missing body and Resurrection were being talked about.
It is at this point that we take up the story of two of Jesus’ disciples.
Cleopas and Another Disciple on the Road to Emmaus
(It has been surmised that Cleopas’ companion was his wife. While the Bible doesn’t say exactly who it was, that is a possibility).
Luke 24:13-24 And behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, it being about sixty stadia from Jerusalem.
(15) And while they talked and reasoned, it happened that Jesus Himself drew near and went with them. (16) But their eyes were held so that they could not know Him.
(17) And He said to them, What words are these that you have with one another as you walk, and are so sad?
(18) And one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered and said to Him, Are you only a stranger in Jerusalem and have not known the things which have occurred there in these days?
(19) And He said to them, What things? And they said to Him, The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a man, a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, (20) and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to the judgment of death, and have crucified Him.
(21) But we had trusted that He was the One who was about to redeem Israel.
What had happened to the Disciples?
The disciples were so sad (v17), because they had trusted that Jesus was the One to redeem Israel (v2) and begin his Kingdom. Their trust in their expectation of him had been broken, they were sad and afraid of what might happen next.
Then Jesus came and explained the scriptures, giving them understanding of the whole plan for the restoration not just of Israel, but for the whole earth, from the writings of previous Bible characters. (See Acts 3:21)
The result? Their trust was fully restored, in fact, not just restored it was propelled to a whole new level. Now the disciples were ready to trust in whatever Jesus said.
Then, these two disciples did something very unexpected. They decided that they would travel straight back to Jerusalem that night (v29), which was surely a dangerous undertaking. Thieves, robbers and dangerous animals could be out at night. But they needed to tell the other disciples this news straightaway. Their fears had been turned to courage and they were not afraid. Their trust in Jesus had been fully restored.
(Back to Luke chap. 24)
Luke 24:27-33 And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. (28) And they drew near the village where they were going. And He appeared to be going further. (29) But they constrained Him, saying, Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is far spent. And He went in to stay with them. (30) And it happened as He reclined with them, taking the loaf, He blessed it, and breaking it, He gave to them. (31) And their eyes were opened, and they knew Him. And He became invisible to them. (32) And they said to one another, Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us by the way and while He opened the Scriptures to us? (33) And they rose up the same hour and returned to Jerusalem and found assembled the Eleven and those with them.
Seeing the dramatic change that occurred in these two disciples when their trust was restored was just the beginning. In the days that followed, recorded in the Book of Acts, all of the disciples had a radical restoration of their trust in Jesus. Their trust was fully restored and strengthened, enabling them to move forward, or as the original meaning of the word says, they prospered.
I pray that as you come to know more of the ‘big picture’ of what Jesus actually accomplished, you too will overcome a lack of trust in people you may be battling with, through a deeper and stronger trust in God through Jesus.
You will learn to trust in God, not in people.
You will learn to serve God & then you will naturally want to serve & love people, even if you don’t trust them. You trust in God, not in people.
So that you may truly prosper!
I pray that as you come to know more of the ‘big picture’ of what Jesus actually accomplished, you too will overcome a lack of trust in people you may be battling with, through a deeper and stronger trust in God through Jesus. So that you may truly prosper!
After preparing the original text above, I passed it on to a dear friend for his suggestions and comments. He wrote the following, which I believe perfectly completes this study.
I’m wondering if there’s a way to explain more clearly how a person can overcome a lack of trust in people… Or what it means to have a deeper and stronger trust in God and Jesus, that that will somehow translate to overcoming a lack of trust in people...
For me, I still have to do business with various sorts of people and because of bad experiences, I don’t trust people really… I don’t even trust myself often times.
To me humans are an enigma that can’t really be trusted like I can trust in Jesus and God.
I guess I still don’t trust in people but I don’t really care anymore because I’m not focused on people, I’m focused on Jesus, so this trust in Jesus allows me to want to love people and serve people, despite the fact that I don’t necessarily trust them.
For me trusting God and Jesus is becoming natural.
But people are still an enigma to me, but Jesus has taught me to love them anyway and to serve them anyway…
Somehow, I just thought that the last paragraph didn’t quite explain that well enough.
(I hope that my friend’s explanation will help you to understand how a trust in Jesus can help overcome any lack of trust in people, as it changes your motivation as to why you can connect positively with others).