Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Resurrection CSI


Dear Friends,

It was Sunday evening and the frightened disciples were cowering behind locked doors. They were terrified that the Jews who had just executed Jesus would be after them next and they would all be massacred. Yeah they’d heard that looney story  about Jesus being alive from Mary Magdalene and the other women but scornfully dismissed their testimony as an “idle tale.” Luke 24:9-11 And then of course, the most shocking event took place! Jesus appeared in the locked room and the disciples panicked thinking it was a ghost! Luke 24:36-37 But Jesus showed them His hands and His side and it was then that the disciples believed. John 20:20

And Thomas wasn’t there so he missed all the excitement. The other disciples, who had been there and seen Jesus, told Thomas that the Lord was alive. Thomas said to them, “Yeah, sure! Unless I see His hands, and put my finger into the nail holes, and put my hand into the hole in His side, I will not believe.” John 20:25 (my paraphrase)  

Thomas is the kind of guy who would make a good investigator on CSI. He’d be the one unemotionally photographing the gruesome nail holes and taking skin scrapings. He’d be probing the wound in Jesus’ side for microscopic wood fibers from the spear. By now, over a dozen of Thomas’ closest friends had been eyewitnesses of the resurrection of Jesus, but Thomas had to see for himself. He needs to see the physical evidence that the crucified Christ has become the resurrected Lord. He needs to see the nail holes and see the torn flesh. He needs to probe the deep puncture wound. He needs to see Jesus alive and breathing. Unquestionable, visible forensic evidence must be present in order for Thomas to believe.

We read that the disciples had gathered again and this time the skeptic Thomas was with them. Jesus appears to them again and invites Thomas to conduct a thorough physical examination. Thomas examines the hands and the side of Jesus and the evidence is overwhelmingly conclusive. Thomas says to Jesus, “My Lord and my God.” John 20:27-28 

And the Apostle John, who was writing down this factual report of events, recorded the next crucial words of Jesus: “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 20:29

What Jesus wanted Thomas and all the disciples (including you and me) to know is that believing doesn’t depend on seeing. As the Apostle Paul puts it, “We walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Cor 5:7

Many of us are like Thomas. We need to see to believe. Yes, we believe in Jesus. Sure we believe He’s the Son of God. Of course we believe in God’s providence and provision. We even believe that God still heals the sick today. But to be honest about it, we still have those little doubts. And like Thomas, if we could only just see some irrefutable evidence of God working in our life and answering our prayers, then we could really believe.

It’s easy to believe when times are good. But it’s a little more difficult to trust in God and believe that He’s there for us when we’ve been laid off at work. When we’re facing financial difficulties. When we’re faced with a debilitating illness. When we’re struggling with family problems. When the grief over the loss of a loved one is overwhelming. When a son, a daughter, a mother or a father is not speaking to us. When we are just plain bored with life. When we’ve been there and done that so many times, we’re just tired. When our spiritual well has run dry. When things are out of control. When we are on our knees crying out, “God are you really here? Are You hearing my cries to You? Why can’t I see any answers to my prayers, Lord?”

And suddenly we’ve become a “doubting Thomas” demanding to see visible evidence of God’s work. We’ve become discouraged by the dark silence in our soul, and yet the truth is that sometimes God is doing His greatest work in the silence. And to paraphrase John 20:29, Jesus would say to you, “Blessed are you who have not seen and still believe – and still trust – and still hope.”

Our hope is a living Savior who is with you today. Our hope is Jesus, walking with you through life. Our hope is a risen Christ who is pointing to your future. When we believe in Him, we have been born anew to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled and unfading. 1 Peter 1:3-4 But with vision limited by our humanity, we must walk by faith. We can then be thankful that, unlike Thomas, we have no need to see with our eyes. The Bible is all the evidence we need in order to have never-ending hope and know that the best is yet to come! Amen?

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