“… blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed”
Many of us would be familiar with the phrase – ‘doubting Thomas’. This phrase describes someone who is always doubtful or someone who refuses to believe something until given proof. The story of doubting Thomas probably came from the Bible. How so?
Now Thomas was one of the 12 disciples who followed Jesus when he called them to follow him. They followed Jesus and he became their close friend and teacher. Over the next three years of their lives, they saw how Jesus taught people about God, how he loved people, healed the sick, made the lame to walk, made the blind to see and even raised some who died.
Their days of following Jesus took a drastic turn when suddenly things seemed to go out of hand. Jesus was accused of things he had not done and was brought to the Roman Court who sentenced him to death to please the crowd who wanted Jesus dead. All these happened to fulfill what Jesus had come to do – to die for our sins. Within a short time, Jesus, their friend and teacher was hung on the cross, he died and was buried. All of the disciples and followers were shocked over what had happened to Jesus. They were disappointed, afraid, confused, discouraged, hopeless and disillusioned. And then suddenly, three days after Jesus was buried, Jesus appeared to his disciples very much alive and well. He spoke with them and showed them his nail pierced hands and his side. Thomas wasn’t there with them, so the rest of the disciples went to look for Thomas to tell him the good news. And when they found Thomas, they began to tell him excitedly Jesus was not dead.
“Thomas, Thomas! Jesus, he is alive and well! We were all in the room when Jesus suddenly appeared and said “peace be with you” and he showed us his hands and his side. We could see where the nails were pierced in his hands and also the place where they speared him at the side. He is real and alive and not like he is still dying from his injuries or recovering from his wounds.
Thomas looks at them and said “Yeah right! You expect me to believe what you just said? I don’t believe you guys. You’re seeing things and you are just seeing what you want to see. It doesn’t help when I am grieving over him. Jesus is dead. I saw him die, and part of me died with him. He’s dead, and the sooner you accept this, the better it is for all of us!”
One of the disciples pleads with him. “Thomas, I saw him myself! He is real! As real as you are now!”
Thomas stares at his friends and said coldly, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
A week later, Thomas was with the rest of the disciples when Jesus appeared to all of them again. And before Thomas could say anything, Jesus asked Thomas to put his finger at the wounds in his hands and to touch the wound on Jesus side. And Jesus said, “Stop doubting and believe”. And Thomas exclaimed, “My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus told him, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.”
The world remembers Good Friday as the day that Jesus Christ was crucified on the Cross two thousand years ago. And three days later on a Sunday, Christians celebrate Easter Sunday to remember how Jesus Christ rose from the dead. Doubts of Jesus rising from the dead have existed since then. How can Jesus if he is God become a man and die? How can Jesus if he is a man rise from the dead? The only answer is that Jesus is both fully God and fully man. That’s the simplest answer. His death and resurrection is something that many find it hard to understand or accept. Yet if Jesus simply died, then I think we would all remember him as someone who came and went. But the fact that he rose again and appeared to his disciples and many others prove to us that there is something really special about Jesus. If he had simply died, and his remains are lying somewhere in a cave or in a glass enclosure for everyone to see, then Christians who have been sharing about Jesus since his death have been sharing in vain. Those who died while sharing the good news have also died in vain.
The fact that Jesus died and rose again tells us that there is hope in our broken world. There is brokenness in the world because of sin. Sin needs to be punished and Jesus came to be punished so that our sins can be forgiven. Sin leads to death and Jesus’ resurrection shows that he is the giver of life. Jesus’ death and resurrection brings us forgiveness and eternal life.
We live in a world where we are like doubting Thomas sometimes. We would want to see before we can believe. Perhaps, we have this consumer mentality where we want to see how good a product is before we buy.
I have not seen Jesus but like many of us who believe in Jesus Christ, we have experienced a peace and hope in our life that is beyond all understanding. The peace of knowing we have been forgiven of our sins and we now rest in God’s love and grace.
We have this hope in Him that he understands all that we are going through – our hurts, our disappointments, our broken dreams and he is always there for us in our darkest moments in life. We experience this hope not because we have seen him physically but because we believe in him.
When Thomas sees Jesus, he exclaims, “My Lord and my God! He not only believed that Jesus is alive but he acknowledged that Jesus Christ is God. Then Jesus tells him, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.”
Perhaps for some of you this morning, it may be the first time you are hearing about Jesus. Perhaps, we like Jesus’ disciple Thomas, have doubts about his death and resurrection. I pray that God will open your heart this morning that you may come to Jesus in faith. That you may truly believe, and experience the peace and hope that only he can give you today.