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April 22 I Monday

2 Samuel 14-15

Luke 17:1-19

“Unless I see the nail marks in His hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”   —John 20:25

 

When Jesus first revealed Himself to His disciples after His resurrection, Thomas was not present. The disciples were overjoyed and told Thomas they had seen
the resurrected Jesus, but as he said in the opening verse, “I will not believe.”

One aspect of the Christian Gospel is it is ludicrous from every human perspective, which usually produces in us one of two responses. We either realize there is something to the Gospel that transcends our natural laws and has the power to intervene at will, or we dismiss it entirely. We tend to treat with caution anything outside of rational experience, and for many people, this is a huge barrier to the Christian faith. Like Thomas, they want proof.

Paul writes to the Corinthian church, “Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles” (1 Corinthians 1:22-23). When Paul preached in the city of Athens, he received three different responses to Christ’s resurrection. Some people sneered, others wanted to know more, and then there were those who believed and came to Christ. What makes the difference?

We can simply make up our minds not to believe something. Thomas does not say, “I cannot believe,” which suggests he might believe if more evidence presented itself. This was the state of those in Athens who wanted to know more. Their minds were still open. But Thomas says, “I will not believe,” and this is a matter of the will. It is volitional, a choice that closes him off to any other possibility, including the fact he could be wrong.

The very essence of Christian faith is in believing in something that cannot be explained other than by the supernatural. What makes the difference is the disposition of our hearts. A heart cast in stone does not allow the Holy Spirit access, while the heart that is pondering is open and pliable, giving room for the
Holy Spirit to draw that person.
A heart that readily accepts and believes is a humbled heart, one that realizes there has to be something greater than humanity in control. This person, by the revelation of the Holy Spirit, finds in Jesus Christ the answer to why we exist and the purpose of life.

Thomas needed proof, and when Jesus appeared to him, he exclaimed, “My Lord and my God!” That was not an, “Okay, I believe,” but a total surrender to Christ. The Lord Jesus’s resurrection is not a mere tenet of belief in the Christian Gospel, but the indispensable fact of the Gospel.

 

Prayer: Gracious God, thank You for the work of Your Holy Spirit in revealing Jesus Christ to me. I pray He will break down hearts cast in stone to lead others to You. Thank You, Lord.


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