We had such a great time in church on Resurrection Sunday. Starting with the Sunrise Service at 7:00, we talked about the relationship between Jesus and Mary of Magdala (Mary Magdalene). The breakfast that followed was full of fellowship and some just hung around enjoying each other until Sunday School began. In the morning service, the choir did an outstanding job as we presented the week from Jesus' triumphal entry in Jerusalem to his resurrection in message and song. We ended the morning by remembering Jesus with a special communion service. That evening, Pastor Josh challenged us with a message that was set beyond the cross. Sunday was just a great day to be in God’s house. I appreciate everyone that came, supported and participated.
The message on Sunday evening started me to think about the days after the resurrection. One such occurrence is found in John 20:24-29 where we read of Jesus appearing to the disciples after his resurrection. All of the disciples were there except for Thomas. No reason is given for him not being with the others. When Thomas did show up he did not believe the testimony of the other disciples about seeing Jesus. In Verse 25 we read, “The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.” Thomas wanted positive proof and tangible evidence that would leave no doubt in his mind that Jesus arose. His lack of faith in Jesus and his lack of trust for his fellow disciples gave Thomas the reputation of being a “doubter.” While other disciples were rejoicing about the resurrection of Jesus, Thomas still believed that Jesus was dead and what they said meant nothing. Jesus did appear again eight days later and Thomas was with the others. Jesus spoke directly to Thomas and called him out on his unbelief. In verse 27, we read “Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.” Jesus challenged Thomas about his lack of faith. That lack of faith paralyzed Thomas. He could not spread the Gospel about someone who he believed to be dead. He had no witness among his fellow disciples. He did nothing to show the world that Jesus was alive…he did not believe it.
Today, there may be believers who stand paralyzed because they are not willing to put their entire faith and trust in God. It is almost as if they are looking for a sign to prove that God is God. It is not that they don’t believe, it is just a lack of complete trust that keeps them in a holding pattern like Thomas. No doubt, he believed but he did not have complete faith in Jesus. Some possible consequences of a lack of faith is that their witness suffers due to their lack of belief. Circumstances led them to not share the Gospel, to not attend God’s house, to not fellowship with like-minded believers, to not have an active prayer life, to not study the Bible and their spiritual life suffers because they wait for Jesus to do something. I wonder how many times Jesus waits for us to do something. We use work, family, poor outlooks and just about anything else to set God aside. When Thomas did see and finally believe, we read in verse 29 what Jesus thought about Thomas: “Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” Jesus said those that believe without seeing a sign were blessed for their belief. What do you believe about Jesus? Are you waiting on a sign? Use what life gives you to strengthen your faith in God. Embrace Jesus today. Reach out for his nail scarred hand and accept him. Enjoy your coffee.
Love you all,
Gary W. Hall, Pastor of Mt. Olivet Baptist Church.