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!”
Walking the dog can lead me to some disgusting finds. Yesterday we found a dead squirrel, today a dead bird. I cringed both times, and had to remove myself from the area quickly. I felt ill from the sight. Yet I have to be honest and admit that when I have seen human beings dead, I have been fine. The reason, I believe, is because I worked ten years in Long Term Care, seeing hundreds of people when their pulse ceased. It became such a normal sight and I was trained to work through it. I am not saying I had no feelings or that their lives were meaningless to me. I prayed for them. I shed tears for them. They were family to me. I am saying that I became conditioned to be able to accept the death of human beings and to be around those who were dead.
In society I see so many people that are conditioned to accept the things of this world. We are all part of that group. The Bible tells us that we are not of this world and that we are not to accept the things of this world. The Bible holds that we are to love people, but not love the things people do that are against God’s intention, His purpose, His design, His commands. Yet we have seen that society is slowly accepting the unacceptable. Friends have blamed the television and have claimed that they will not allow their children to watch any television programming. I ask them, what do you do when your child exits the bubble of your household and is in contact with the world? We are met with many challenges everywhere, with the world and its views pressing in on us.
To take a biblical worldview, one must dive into the Word and cling to everything that is Truth. One must seek the Holy Spirit for illumination, for strength, for guidance. One must see God with every situation, think like Jesus, and make a choice by what the Bible says. It is very difficult. It’s not something that we always do correctly. Honestly, we are lucky when we can sometimes get it right. For it is so easy for us to accept what is around us and say that it will be okay. It is so much less work, less grief, less of a struggle to simply accept and embrace what the world accepts. We handle it as if we have been conditioned to accept it. We’ve seen it so much so it is not so bad. Not so bad. I love that phrase. To me, not so bad means that we have decided to give degrees to the depth of bad, to the levels of evil. Not so bad means there is some bad. Anything bad, is not good. Anything not good is not from God.
I pray that as you journey onward today, that you are able to focus on the good. I pray that when the world does its thing, that you stick with doing God’s thing, despite the problems that will arise when you go against the grain. We have a tough road ahead, but God has promised to be with us through it all, and we know we have victory through Christ. God has a perfect plan for each of our lives, and as we continue onward, allowing Him to direct our paths, we are blessed to see His perfect plan unfold in our lives.
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”
– Romans 12:2 [NLT]