After His resurrection, Jesus appeared to His followers. John records a time when He appeared to them that Thomas wasn’t there. The apostles told Thomas about seeing the risen Savior, but he refused to believe it possible unless he saw the nail wounds in Jesus’ hands with his own eyes and touched them with his own fingers. He wouldn’t believe unless he was able to put his hand into the wound in Jesus’ side — the one ripped by a Roman spear to verify death.
John tells that a mere eight days later Jesus showed up in the disciple-gathering again, and this time, Thomas was with them. He apparently zeroed in on Thomas, recalling the words the man had said when with the other followers. Jesus invited the apostle to do what he had said would be required for him to believe what the others had testified to — that the Lord lived.
Thomas appears to be overwhelmed. Did he cry out, “My Lord and my God!” because he recognized Jesus or because he realized how poor his faith was? Was he ashamed because he had been so indifferent about the Truth? John doesn’t go into that. I think that’s because the greater truth was what followed (paraphrase): Thomas, you believe because you’ve seen me and recognized me, but those who will believe having never seen me will be blessed beyond measure.
Those words are for you and I, Believer. We’ve never seen the physical Jesus — no, those pictures on walls don’t count. We’ve never walked along dirt roads with Him, watching Him heal the blind, lame, and sick. We’ve never sat on a hillside and heard Him preach. We’ve never carried baskets to pick up the leftovers of five loaves and two fish from over 5,000 people.
Yet, we believe. We believe that Jesus is the Son of God, the Christ, the Messiah. We believe that He did all those things and many more. We believe that He came to rescue those who could never rescue themselves. We believe Jesus is God, that He will do all He said He will do. We believe that those who accept His sacrifice for their sins will one see Him face to face to live in His presence forever.
Some, though, have a Thomas-faith. They want to figure God out. They want to know everything about Jesus, why He did what He did, how He accomplished what He did, refusing to believe that He did impossible things because He is the One True and Living God. If they can’t comprehend all Jesus is, did, and said, then they can’t believe.
Friend, allow me to share this with you:
if you can fully understand God,
He isn’t God.
What? Yes. If you can fully understand all the nuances that are God, then He is understandable, not immutable, and thus not God.
Our minds cannot understand the infinite. We simply can’t. Even those with fantastic abstract thinking. Remember, even the peace that God gives us when we stop worrying to pray about everything, and thank Him for all He’s done is beyond our understanding. How much more the One who gives that peace?
I get it. Way back in Genesis, it was the desire to know all God knows and be all God is that got Adam and Eve into trouble. We’re no different today. With search engines, books, and websites at our fingertips, we have unlimited opportunities for knowledge. A quick search on Google for “understand God” returns in just over half a second, 1,230,000,000 opportunities to read and learn. That’s billion, by the way.
The truth is, even with all this knowledge available, we will never fully understand God. Coming to Him requires simple faith that says, “My senses are not required for me to believe that God is who He says He is and will do all He says He will do.”
What if you’re not there with that kind of faith? It’s okay. You can ask for it. Ephesians 2:8-9 speaks of how we receive salvation by grace when we believe. And THAT, the book says is not something we drum up. Does that mean the grace or the faith? I believe it’s both.
We are so flawed. We want to believe in something, but we want to know all about it before we believe in it. Yet, God will give us the kind of sense-less faith necessary to accept His grace of salvation.
So, if you’re still like Thomas, requiring proof that God is who He says He is, that Jesus died to set you free from sin, that He rose again, and ascended to Heaven, ask God to give you faith. Then, as you feel that seed begin to grow within, exercise it. Declare each thing you believe as you trust in Him more and more. Surrender to it. Let go like Thomas did and declare, “My Lord and my God!”
You won’t be disappointed.
Coffee, Bible, Journal.