The most important part of any building is the foundation. If that’s flawed, no matter how nice the house is, don’t buy it, unless you want to drain away your vast fortune like water in the desert.
Life is the same way. We have to have a solid foundation, or we collapse. If we’re made of tough stuff, maybe not immediately, but we are likely to collapse sooner or later, unless we lead a charmed life and no stresses afflict us. Even then, there’s death at the end, and how can we face that without collapsing? Some people do, apparently, but they’re in for a terrible surprise.
How sound is your foundation? If it’s the Bible, you can bet your life on it. Those who were there, who had personal, first-hand knowledge, chose to accept exile, torture, or death, rather than denying what they had seen and heard. It wasn’t something they had been told. It was something they had experienced, in 3D live-streaming color, for three years, and their martyrdom for what they knew, not just believed, has given us the most trustworthy evidence possible that what they said was true.
In the first chapter of 2nd Peter, Peter reminds us that the disciples “did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty.” He recounts briefly that they saw Jesus on the “Mount of Transfiguration”, saw Him changed and “glorified”, and heard God’s voice from Heaven approving Him. Peter sums up that other-world experience by saying, “So we have the prophetic word made more certain, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place…”
Peter finishes the chapter with these words: “… knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”
Those words might have been laughed off the pages of history within a week – except that the body of Jesus could not be produced, and the disciples were willing to die rather than deny their faith in Jesus. And they were able to perform miracles that certified their words as being approved by God. This caused the “new” faith to spread with amazing speed among devout Jews …
“And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.” (Acts 6:7)
At least a large percentage of these people were Jews who were citizens of other nations, who had come to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover. These Jews were passionate about their faith. They were not subject to easily changing their religious beliefs. Yet thousands of them did so:
“So those who received [Peter’s] word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.” (Acts 2:41)
One of the most fervent defenders of Judaism met King Jesus on the road to Damascus, and became a believer himself. With his fanatic’s knowledge of the Jewish Scripture, he was impossible to refute. “Saul of Tarsus”, who was re-named Paul after his conversion, and wrote a little over 20% of the New Testament:
“Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Messiah.” (Acts 6:22)
In fact, Saul was so familiar with the Scripture that there was no way to deal with him except the politicians’ last resort:
“After many days had gone by, there was a conspiracy among the Jews to kill him…” (Acts 6:23)
The apostle Paul tells us that King Jesus, after His crucifixion and resurrection, “…appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep.” (1st Corinthians 15:6)
Paul was making as certain as he could that no one would ever be able to say, “This did not happen.” Anyone alive at the time could have investigated and corroborated or disproved Paul’s claim. If they had found that Paul was a liar, Christianity would have died right there. And anyone claiming to have seen Jesus alive after the crucifixion would be telling the truth, because when Paul made this claim, it was till a potential death sentence to profess faith in Jesus. Paul himself was executed for his faith.
But this Foundation is far more than just a foundation. King Jesus said that whoever heard His words and did them, that is acted on His words, would be like a man who built his house on a rock, so that when the floods came, his house would still stand. In other words, the Bible is an instruction manual for life, and for increasing a person’s faith in God and in Jesus:”All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2nd Timothy 3:12-17)
To do work you need food. Babies, in the faith or natural, start off with milk. But they’re supposed to move on to solid food when their bodies are ready for it:
“About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.” (Hebrews 5:11-14)
“ought to be” – ouch. I hate those “oughts”. But there it is. We have been saved for a purpose, and it’s not – <sigh> – just to maximize our pleasure. If you are a believer in Jesus, your life is supposed to become an ever-more-efficent tool in the hands of God for “every good work.” Also and most importantly for fishing. No, not that kind. Put your rod back in the rack. This kind of fishing:
“While walking by the Sea of Galilee, [Jesus] saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.’ ” (Matthew 4:18-19)