Jesus’ ministry was divided between two geographical venues: Judea, the center of religious activities, and the northern part of the Jewish Kingdom known as Galilee. The history of these two areas goes back hundreds of years to the time when Israel split into two Kingdoms. Due to the arrogance of Solomon’s successor, Rehoboam, many of the tribes broke away under the leadership of Jeroboam to form what was to be called the Northern Kingdom (Israel). The Southern Kingdom was to be called Judah. Lying between these two land masses was an area known as Samaria. The Samaritans were the black sheep of the Jewish faith. It was these people who, centuries before, intermarried with the invading army of the Assyrians. They were looked upon years later as the violators of the Jewish blood line. In Jesus’ day Judea was the center of Judaism. Jerusalem was the flagship of the Jews religious beliefs. It was into this environment that Jesus displayed God’s message of reconciliation. The opposition was so strong in Judea that Jesus would center much of His ministry to the north in Galilee. His message would bring division among the masses; yet, the power of His Word caused people to take actions that defied their own reasoning.
Today, the Church seems to be more interested in a pastor’s interpretation of the Word than in hearing what Jesus actually said. When Jesus spoke, people listened. The modern church proclaims extra-Biblical “truth” instead of the “red letters” of the Gospels. I love to read the Epistles of Paul, Peter, James, and the others, but we must realize those inspired writings are built upon the reality of Jesus’ words. I love the Old Testament, but we must realize that those inspired writings introduced Jesus! Without Jesus, there would be no Bible as we know it. Believers must center on His teachings and not the “new” revised Gospel that has so discreetly crept into our churches. Acting on the Word without the visible evidence of its fulfillment is the step of Faith that so many Believers fail to take. The Thomas type of faith is contingent upon seeing before believing, whereas Biblical Faith is simply believing His Word and walking in the complete confidence of that Word without any compelling evidence.
In Cana of Galilee, Jesus encountered a man from Capernaum whose son was seriously ill. This father had traveled over seventeen miles to seek the miracle worker known as Jesus. He asked Him to go back with him to Capernaum and heal his son. Jesus knew that the man’s mindset was around “signs and wonders” and not keyed to the power of the word. But responding to the insistence of the father, Jesus spoke six words that would change his life forever, “Go thy way; thy son liveth.” Something happened at that moment that caused the sign seeker to believe Jesus’ words and start his two day journey back home. He was returning with nothing but the words of Jesus. I wonder how many Believers today are acting on the Word with no pre-evidence of its fulfillment. The next day, as he approached his home, his servants met him and told him that his son was indeed alive. The Bible says he believed and “his whole household.” (John 4:46-53) The Word started in his heart and culminated in his head. The Word always goes from the heart to the head, not the other way around.
Jesus encountered another father who had a son with a demonic spirit and was petitioned to deliver him. Jesus told him that if he only believed, all things were possible. The man responded, “I believe; help thou mine unbelief.” He believed in his heart, but the “control tower” (his head) was not allowing a faithful action. (Mark 9:14-27) Jesus acted on the man’s heart faith and expelled the demonic spirit. The challenge for every Believer is to get his heart and head into sync so he can truly experience the reality of the Kingdom of God.