Dear Hyde Park Family,
“I believe, therefore I am.”
– Eberhard Jungel, German theologian
Not long ago I found an online message board in which people were asked to complete the sentence, “I believe…” Many of the responses were profound. Some were pretty hilarious.
- I believe that the best way to double your money is to fold it and put it in your pocket. – “Patricia”
- I believe that a wise man does not play leapfrog with a unicorn. – “Anthony”
- I believe that creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. – “Jesse”
- I believe Michael Keaton was by far the best Batman. – “Aaron”
So how would you complete the statement? What do you believe in?
That is the central question of the gospel of John, which is our next stop in our journey through the Bible this year. As I will share in the sermon this Sunday, John is distinct from the other gospels for many reasons, particularly for its emphasis on believing in Jesus. John 20:31 captures this central theme:
“But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.”
The phrase “that you may come to believe” has been the subject of some scholarly debate. Some early biblical manuscripts translate the phrase as “that you may continue to believe”, suggesting that John’s original readers were already believers, who needed encouragement in the face of persecution. Other manuscripts translate it as “that you may come to believe” suggesting that John was being evangelical, speaking to people who were not yet believers.
Either way, we need John’s gospel today. And Eberhard Jungel’s statement echoes John’s fundamental message: You are what you believe. And believing in Jesus brings life.
So, join us this Sunday as we discover the power of John’s message, beginning with the beauty and majesty of John chapter 1. And let’s see how John shows us how to complete the sentence, “I believe.”
Grace and peace,
The Rev. Magrey deVega
Senior Pastor, Hyde Park United Methodist