Believing Is Seeing
Topic: Faith Passage: John 20:24–20:31
In the classic story of “Doubting Thomas,” we learn that knowing and following the risen Lord Jesus is more about faith than it is about proof (cf., John 11:1-16).
1. THE BARRENNESS OF UNBELIEF (vv. 24-25)
The apostles were afraid because following Christ’s death, they knew they were being hunted by the Jewish leaders and because Jesus had warned them that they would be persecuted for being His followers. Moreover, when Jesus first appeared to the apostles in the upper room, they were afraid that they were seeing a ghost because they did not yet believe He had risen. They were all doubters. But for those who do not believe, sin cannot be forgiven by God. The example of Thomas provides an outlook on the bleakness of such unbelief because it illustrates the emptiness and loneliness of life without Christ and fellowship with the church body. This can also be said about those who have drifted from the church (Hebrews 3:12; 10:24).
2. THE BLESSEDNESS OF BELIEF (vv. 26-31)
Being in Christ’s presence in the upper room was enough to remove all doubt for Thomas about Christ’s resurrection. He didn’t even need to feel the wounds in His hands and side. So great was Thomas’ belief that his was the only instance recorded in the Bible where a disciple addressed Jesus directly as God. God used Thomas’ declaration to demonstrate to others that Jesus is indeed God. The radical transformation in the lives of the disciples, powered by the Holy Spirit, was the most powerful testament to the truth of the gospel. But those who have not personally seen the risen Christ and believe are even more blessed than those who have seen and believe (Romans 10:17; 1 Peter 1:8; 2 Peter 1:16). We are therefore abundantly blessed because we have heard the Word and believed in the risen Christ (Luke 24:13-35).
Pray for the unbelievers who were at church today that God would grant them repentance and faith. If you have not yet repented of your sin and received Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, pray the following prayer:
A Sinner’s Prayer for Forgiveness
God, I’m a sinner who deserves to be punished for my sin. But I believe You love me so much that You sent your Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for my sins. I repent of my sin and place my trust in His death and resurrection as the way you provided for me to be forgiven and spend eternity in heaven. I commit the rest of my life to follow and obey Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior.