“Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him,
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er”
– from the hymn “‘Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus”
Prove yourself: to do what it takes for others to trust you, to excel in such a way that you build their confidence in you, to leave no doubt you can succeed. It is a venture with which we are all familiar. We prove ourselves as students, friends, employees, spouses, and parents. The taller the task the more we realize our need to do so.
But what is it to prove someone else? It could be to defend him or validate him. It might be to prove something about him – his innocence or trustworthiness or dependability. I suppose this sort of proving is most often done with evidence and argumentation, with bold claims and backing them up. We show how someone is innocent or trustworthy or dependable via stories and hard proof. We speak highly of that person then give evidence of our claims It is hard work of a noble sort to display someone else’s best qualities, to validate and prove that person.
What is it, though, to prove Jesus? The irony of the matter is that it is ignobility and an inability to prove ourselves that “proves Him “o’er and o’er.” The lyric above is not a boast but a confession. If it is boasting, it is boasting in Jesus Himself. Unlike proving a person, be it ourselves or another, proving Jesus is not done through strength and conviction as much as is through weakness and inability. To prove Jesus is really to acknowledge our need for Him to prove Himself. He does not need our help; we need his.