When Not Seeing is Believing

Read through the Bible in 2 years: John 20

"Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.”

But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”

Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.”

Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”

Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” - John 20:24-29 ESV

As an atheist, I refused to believe in anything I couldn’t see with my eyes.

Now I see the many contradictions in my own worldview. Why did I believe my world history teacher when she taught about things that happened hundreds of years ago? Why did I believe my chemistry teacher when he taught about how chemical elements worked?

Now I see the irony in my faith in evolution – how that was as much a leap of faith as faith in Jesus is – but at the time I believed that the images of fossils and ape men I’d seen in my science textbooks and on TV were “scientific proof” of evolution.

Reading John 20, I noticed how John and Peter and Mary and Thomas believed because they saw.

I have such empathy for Thomas when I think about how much he had just been through. He just couldn’t fully trust his friends’ testimonies when they said, “We have seen the Lord.”

Judas, a fellow apostle, had just betrayed Jesus. Jesus, their messiah, had just been publicly beaten and executed on a Roman cross. And now Thomas has to figure out what is next for his life. How can you be a full-time disciple of someone who’s dead? Is this whole “Jesus is risen from the dead” thing real or just a hoax?

So Thomas demands, “Unless I see in his hands, the mark of the nails and place my finger into the mark of the nails and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”

Strong words. Strong demands. It’s not enough just to see the mark of the nails on Jesus’s hands. He has to place his own finger in those nail-pierced hands and place his own hand on His spear-pierced side. Merely seeing, apparently, is not believing, either.

Oh, that Jesus then appeared to the disciples again when Thomas was there … And went directly to Thomas and give him what he had requested.

How is it possible? Why didn’t Jesus rebuke him? How can Jesus say, “Put your finger here. See my hands. Place your hand on my side”?

Such grace. Such mercy. Such love.

Will you pray with me?

Jesus, we are not worthy. I am not worthy. Thomas was not worthy. We cry with Thomas, my Lord and my God.

Jesus, You are not only our Messiah and Savior and Lord, but you are God. This is the gift of faith, the precious, priceless gift to those who have not seen and yet believed.

Remembering the words of Hebrews 11:1, that faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen, We ask that you will open our eyes to have faith to be sure what we hope for and fully convinced of the things that we have not seen, but what we have read in your word. Help us to believe these eyewitness testimonies that have been passed down and preserved for us. Help us to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God, that by believing we may have eternal life in his name.

In the mighty name of Jesus we pray, Amen

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