Considering Jesus Challenge
Day 29, January 29, 2013, Tuesday:
“After eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.” Then He said to Thomas, “Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.” Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.” John 20:26-29
The Christian life is full of unbelievable things.
During the 3 years they were with Jesus, the disciples had seen Jesus heal the sick, walk on water, feed the masses, change the weather, raise the dead, and come back to life 3 days following his own crucifixion.
Unbelievable episodes, really.
But I believe them.
Jesus addressed two types of people in today’s challenge passage. The first were those Jesus wanted to see things for themselves – the disciples. Jesus appeared to them while they were meeting in secret after his crucifixion in the Upper Room. The disciples were terrified when Jesus suddenly materialized in the room, but he quickly reassured them. Jesus encouraged them to look at the scars on his hands and side so they would believe it was he, and believe he had returned from the dead. Being first-hand observers was incredibly unsettling to the disciples.
The second person Jesus addressed was the one he wanted to believe after hearing the testimonies of those who had been first-hand observers. In today’s account, that would be Thomas. Thomas wasn’t there when Jesus came the first time, so he rejected the disciples’ testimony and refused to believe Jesus was alive. I have a lot of sympathy for Thomas. We all want to be the ones who see and share what we’ve observed, but the reality is we might be asked to be the ones who hear and believe instead. Regardless of which camp we fall in, Jesus expects us to believe.
Even the unbelievable.
In Mark 16:11 Mary reported to the disciples that she had seen Jesus alive near the tomb after he was supposed to be dead. The disciples refused to believe her. What impressed me this morning was that Jesus confronted them about their rejection. He could have just ignored it and shown up to prove them wrong, but Jesus had more to say. He was not pleased that they had dismissed Mary and the others who had reported accurately.
In Mark 16:14 it says, “Afterward He (Jesus) appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at the table; and He reproached them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who had seen Him after He had risen.”
There will be times when we all have doubts. Sometimes Jesus will address those doubts with concrete expressions of himself so we can see and share with others. Often he does not. Jesus wants us to be those who hear and believe instead. In fact, he expects us to be.
Because expressing our faith, especially in the face of the unbelievable, is one of the highest expressions of love we can have for Jesus.
“And though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory.” 1 Peter 1:8
What is Jesus asking you to believe today? Does it seem outrageous? Are you afraid of looking ridiculous? What do you think he would he say to you if he suddenly materialized right next to you?
I think he would say, “Peace be with you.”
Lord Jesus, we are grateful you have called us into a relationship with you and we long for that day when we see you face to face. Until then, we may struggle with doubt about spiritual events that seem unbelievable and impossible. They are not. With you all things are possible – even the outrageous. Father, when we sense our faith is weak, help our unbelief because we don’t want to be unbelieving but believing. Fill us with your peace and make us people of great faith!
Considering Jesus Challenge Passage for Tomorrow, January 30, 2013:
“And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves. And He said to them, ‘It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer’; but you are making it a robbers’ den.’” Matthew 21:12-13
© Copyright, 2013 by Donna Tallman.