Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Easter - Intended for Doubters

“I will not believe….”

John 20:25b

Not feeling especially religious this Easter?  Never really understood or been convinced that Jesus was someone special?  Not particularly impressed with the testimony about Jesus you have heard from others?  Are you somewhat doubtful that the things said about Jesus are really true?  In fact, are you pretty sure that it would take a miracle to convince you to change your mind about Jesus Christ?

Can I tell you a secret?  You’re not alone.  In fact, what I have just described above is pretty much the way one of Jesus’ closest friends on earth felt after the crucifixion.  His name was Thomas.  He had spent 3 years with Jesus and the other disciples.  But after Jesus had risen from the dead, and the other disciples saw him, Thomas doubted.  In fact, he was bound and determined not to believe.  He said “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”   Actually, lest we be too hard on Thomas, we should remember that all of the disciples were doubtful after the death of Christ.  The gospel of Mark says that Jesus “appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen (Mark 16:14).” 

Jesus is not put off by doubters.  He comes to them.  He told Thomas “Reach your finger here and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side.  Do not be unbelieving, but believing. (John 20:27).”  Jesus meets us in our unbelief, though He does not desire to leave us in unbelief. 

This Easter I ask my friends – maybe especially my doubting friends – to take a second look at Jesus Christ.  Consider again His death and resurrection.  If you are willing to look again, then I suggest the following 3 things to help you in your search.

1.         Say a prayer.  I know, at this point you may be unconvinced that such things are even heard by anyone.  That’s okay.  But why not, for the sake of argument, assume that the Lord can hear you and ask Him for His help.  Pray something like this:  Lord, I am willing to be convinced of the truth about Jesus Christ, but You will have to convince me.  If what the Bible says about Jesus is true, then I want to know Him.  If what the Bible says about me is true, then I need to know Him.  And so Lord, open my eyes that I might see Jesus.  Amen.”  You do not need to pray these exact words.  I am suggesting to you merely that you approach the Lord with a sincere heart, so far as you are able.

2.         Read the Bible story about Jesus’ death and resurrection.  I suggest that you read the Gospel of John chapters 19-20.  These are 2 relatively short chapters that you can read in a single sitting of maybe 15 minutes total.  Then, having read this account, go back a little further in John’s gospel and read chapter 4.  The 4th chapter of John tells the story of Jesus and an unexpected encounter He makes with a Samaritan woman.  The whole purpose of Jesus death and resurrection was so that He could save sinners; sinners like her, like me, like you. 

While reading, be asking yourself questions like these:

·         Who does the Bible say Jesus is?

·         Why did He really come?

·         What was the purpose of His death?

·         What does His resurrection mean?

·         What does He want me to do?

Don’t have a Bible?  You can read the Bible online:  ESV Bible Online

3.         Go to a local church and listen to the Bible being preached.  Don’t worry about what others will say or think.  Just do it.  Go alone if you want.  Do you know someone who goes regularly to church?  Ask to tag along just this once – they won’t mind. 

Jesus – you see – is not put off by those who are yet unconvinced.  He opened the eyes of His unbelieving disciples.  He is still opening the hearts of countless converts around the world even today.  Maybe this year – maybe this Sunday – you will see something in Jesus Christ you never saw before.  Easter, it seems, was intended for doubters.  Happy Easter. 

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