Sometimes I wonder if it would have been easier for me to believe and have faith had I lived during the time of Jesus and walked the earth with him, if like the disciples He sent forth, I had been able to do the wondrous deeds that they did in His name. I doubt it.
For even while they were in the presence of Jesus and witnessing His deeds and listening to His words, the disciples were often beset by doubt and lack of faith. They remained ignorant, unperceiving, slow to understand and too timid or shy or plainly unable to ask Him questions to clarify. And when the end came and He was crucified, most of them ran away in fear and trembling. Yet later, this band of fearful and timorous souls came forth boldly at the risk of persecution and even death to proclaim Jesus as the Christ. After His death, they experienced and encountered the Risen Christ. After a while, they experienced and encountered His continuing presence in the Holy Spirit He sent to console them and in the community of believers that He has gathered together.
So here I am, some two thousand years removed from the historical Jesus. I have been inspired by the words and stories that He left behind. I have read about the many people he has inspired and done great things in his name. In my life, I have met, been close to and worked with people who are His followers and who have lived inspiring lives of love and service. I liked what I have seen and experienced and have stayed in that community of Jesus followers. My life has been a constellation and network of meanings and relationships built around this belief and community. I have stayed on in spite of the doubts and difficulties. And there are moments I realize that I have stayed on precisely because of these doubts and difficulties.
And all were astounded at the greatness of God. While everyone was amazed at all that he was doing, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let these words sink into your ears: The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into human hands.” But they did not understand this saying; its meaning was concealed from them, so that they could not perceive it. And they were afraid to ask him about this saying.