It can be hard for some people to believe something without having witnessed it. Thomas was absent when the Lord first appeared to the disciples. Although the disciples told Thomas that Jesus was alive, he would not believe. Thomas gave the conditions for his belief in the resurrection by saying, “‘Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hands into his side, I will not believe it.’” (John 20:25)
When Jesus appeared to the disciples a week after the resurrection he spoke to Thomas, “‘Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.’ Thomas said to him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’” (John 20:27-29) All of the eleven disciples saw the resurrected Jesus.
The appearances of the risen Jesus were transforming. In his book, The Case for Christ, Lee Strobel quotes J.P. Moreland who asserts, “…the apostles were willing to die for something they had seen with their own eyes and touched with their own hands. They were in a unique position not to just believe Jesus rose from the dead but to know for sure.” But they weren’t alone.
Over five hundred people saw the risen Jesus, according to I Corinthians 15:6. Yet countless followers have believed without seeing. It is essential to believe in the resurrection. “…if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9)
Jesus said that those who believe without seeing are blessed. We’re blessed by believing in numerous ways.
We know that God’s power is greater than death.
We know that the enemy has been defeated.
We’re able to approach the end of our time on earth without fear.
We know that like Jesus, we will be changed.
We know that we can help people come to faith, and live forever.
It’s an exciting thought to know we can be used by God to change the world. It was put into perspective by N. T. Wright who said, “Jesus’ resurrection is the beginning of God’s new project not to snatch people away from earth to heaven but to colonize earth with the life of heaven. That, after all, is what the Lord’s Prayer is about.” The Bible tells us, “We live by faith, not by sight.” (II Corinthians 5:7) Our faith helps others to see. Believing is seeing.
Pastor Ken Atchison
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com