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  • Martin Kirkbride

Thought For Today: Seeing is Believing

Seeing is believing: We have a common adage that ‘seeing is believing’, but historically seeing has often been accompanied by not believing:

Early on the morning of December 7 1941, two airmen were on watch at a radar lookout station, when they saw on the radar screen a large airborne mass moving in from the sea towards them. The first airman was immediately startled by what he saw on the screen. He believed it was a very large force of what could be enemy aircraft. The second look-out was skeptical, he doubted it - it could be an optical illusion, a flock of birds, in any case the size and extent of what they could see on their screen was too large to be believable. They did, however, phone the duty Officer, he too had his doubts, and even if there might be aircraft it could be their own, but as he couldn’t see anything himself, – he took no action.That same morning a nearby patrol ship had seen what they believed to be an enemy submarine. Details of the sighting were radioed back to base. It was disbelieved, the base commander responded that the submarine sighting needed "more confirmation" before it was believable enough to pose a threat In the minutes prior to the infamous attack on Pearl Harbour, with the subsequent sinking of 11 warships, the destruction of 188 aircraft, 1,178 serious injuries and the loss of 2,403 lives, The impending reality had been seen - but not believed

John‘s gospel has an emphasis on believing - literally it uses the word ‘belief’ twice as many times as the other three gospels combined, bringing us such majestic statements as ; * For God so loved the world that he gave his only Begotten Son, that whoever BELIEVES in him shall not perish but have eternal life. …

* Whoever BELIEVES in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him."

* “I am the resurrection and the life. He who BELIEVES in me will live, even though he dies”

John’s Gospel is focussed on ensuring that seeing leads to the people’s believing. To see the truth and divinity of Jesus, to see the promise of eternal life, and to believe. To impress upon them that Jesus is the Son of God who lived a human life. In living a human life Jesus said that whoever had seen him had seen the Father.

Of course, it may all seem ‘too big‘ be true, an ‘illusion’, or in need of ‘more confirmation’. But if we think that, then perhaps we should take a second look.

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