As I was reading John 20 this morning, I was reminded of the personal relationship I have with Jesus. I was reminded that each of us have a different relationship (or absence thereof) when it comes to Jesus. It all comes down to how we engage with God’s Word and with our Savior. Remember in John 20:20, we find Jesus appears to His disciples and He shows them His hands and side. He shows them His hands and His side. Later Thomas, or Doubting Thomas as many call him, returned. He missed the grand arrival of Jesus, and though the others noted that He came, Thomas would not believe. He said, “Unless I see the nail marks in His hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand in His side, I will not believe” (v. 25 NIV). Thomas desired a personal encounter.
Jesus appears later, this time Thomas was with the others. The Bible says that even though the doors were locked, Jesus came in. He said, “Peace be with you!” Then He directs Himself to Thomas. He says, “Put your finger here; see My hands. Reach out your hand and put it into My side. Stop doubting and believe” (v. 27 NIV). Immediately Thomas responds – “My Lord and my God!” Thomas had a personal encounter with Jesus.
We are often hard on Thomas. Yes, he demanded to have this personal moment with Jesus. He demanded to see Him, to touch the nail marks. He desired to look upon the One Who once bled for Him. He desired to reach his hands out and put his finger where the nails once were. He needed to have this personal encounter. Yes, he doubted. Yes, he needed some evidence. Most of all, He needed to encounter the risen Jesus Christ. He needed it to be personal. Remember, once this happened he immediately exclaimed, “My Lord and my God!” Today, seek out that personal encounter with Jesus. Ask Him to reveal Himself to you in a new way. As you reach out and grasp a hold of Jesus, may you exclaim, “My Lord and my God!”
As I was taking a morning walk, I heard a voice say, “Hello.” I responded with a “hello” and continued walking forward. Then the voice asked, “How are you doing?” I answered that I was “well” and then crossed the street. I had looked to my left to see who I was speaking with but I did not see anyone anywhere. I turned to look across the street. No one there. I turned around. No one there. Who was I talking to?
I have no idea where the person was that I was speaking to but I know someone was there. I couldn’t see anyone. But I believe. This reminded me of when Jesus said, “Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.” We do not always see things but we still believe.
We spend a lot of time needing proof for everything. We must know it all. We must see it all. Sometimes we need only believe. Believe with childlike faith. Today, what is hindering you? What is keeping you from believing?
“Then Jesus told him, ‘You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.’” – John 20:29 [NLT]
We like to complicate things in life. We can make a three word sentence trivial. Interpretations and experiences cause us conflict. We need to see evidence. We are very doubtful, skeptical of anything. We have so many documentaries showing us proof that something is true, and then so many others to counter that theory. We are a society that needs DNA analysis, sheets full of statistics, a handful of witnesses, video footage, photos, and still we are skeptical.
With us wanting so many facts and to be shown proof, we often will have battles with doubt. We get into a situation that seems glum. Will God really see me through this? Why is God allowing this to happen? I don’t understand. Show me. I need proof. Is He even there? We become skeptical of what God can do in our lives because we allow the doubt to win. We limit God with our shaky faith.
Thomas asked to see Jesus’ wounds to believe, and only then did he believe. The other disciples believed after seeing as well. In Mark 5, Jairus asked Jesus to heal his ailing daughter. Before they could get to his daughter, she passed away. When Jairus was told the news, Jesus said, “Do not be afraid any longer, only believe” (Mark 5:36b NASB). Only believe.
At times we need to only believe. It is hard. Things are not always going to be pleasant and everything is not always going to go well. But God has promised us that one day things will be perfect. This is a promise that I cling to, knowing that Jesus has overcome, and therefore so will we.
If there is something going on in your life right now and you are doubtful, only believe. Only believe that He is big enough. Only believe that He has overcome. Only believe that things will one day be perfect. Only believe that He loves you so much. Only believe.
“Jesus said to him, ‘Have you believed because you have seen Me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’”
– John 20:29 [ESV]