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Defeating Doubt

Hello world!  Well, unless you’ve been living in a cave with no access to media or a calendar, you know that in just three days we will be celebrating the Easter season that culminates in Resurrection Sunday.  For the Christian, Easter Sunday is at the heart of organized worship, for without the empty tomb, Christianity would be no different than other world religions that claim to have a martyr as the central figure of their faith.  The fact that Christ rose from the dead, something that no other martyr could do, was and remains to this day, a game changer.  Christ did what is considered to be impossible.  He defeated death, and through that victory, He gave us victory over doubt, despair, and darkness!!!!  Hallelujah!!!! 

 

However, it seems to me that for many people, Easter is just another day.  For these people, it carries no celebration or message of victory.  These people continue to live with doubts and continue to dwell in despair and darkness.  The doubts are like an albatross around their neck, weighing them down at every available opportunity.  Christianity is just like every other religion to these folks, full of empty promises that deliver no real change in their life. 

 

This mindset is more prevalent than you might imagine, and it reminds me of Jesus’s post-resurrection appearance to His disciple Thomas, as recorded in John 20: 24-31.  Let me give you a synopsis of what takes places in this account.  Several of the disciples run to Thomas, who for some unknown reason was not with them, claiming that they have seen Jesus alive.  What glorious news!  But Thomas was not convinced.  He says in verse 25, “’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 it’”.  It’s interesting to me that Thomas would be so quick to doubt, as he no doubt spent countless hours praying, teaching, walking and talking with Christ as one of His twelve chosen disciples.  Thomas represents a large group of people who require visual verification in order to believe in someone or something.  Like most people during that time period, Thomas had two names” “Thomas” is Aramaic, “Didymus” is Greek, and they both mean “twin”.  Now who Thomas’ twin was, we don’t know, but I wonder if his name was meant to refer to centuries of people after Thomas as his twin.  How often have we refused to believe and have instead insisted that God prove Himself to us?

 

After a week passes, the disciples were again together behind a locked door when Jesus came and stood among them.  The effort that John takes to describe the fact that the door was locked tells me that Jesus did not attempt to come through the door but rather suddenly appeared in the room.  He immediately approaches Thomas, which is who He was there for in the first place, and command him to “Put your finger here; see my hands.  Reach out your hand and put it into my side.  Stop doubting and believe”.  What grace Jesus shows us to stoop to our level of experience in order to lift us to where we need to be!  Jesus’ words literally translate in this verse “stop becoming faithless but become a believer”.  What an indictment upon Thomas, someone that had actually walked and served alongside Christ!!! 

 

I wonder though if this isn’t an indictment upon us as well.  Many of us have seen Christ actively work in our lives, but yet we still doubt.  We continue to demand proof.  What more proof can Christ provide after the cross and the empty tomb???  Through the cross and the empty tomb, Christ defeated all doubt!  He is who He said He was!  He did what He said He was going to do!  He is faithful, even as Thomas is not.  Even as we are not.  Yet, what an encouragement it is to see that the Lord had enough concern for “Doubting Thomas” that He went straight to him, even in the face of his ridiculous demands. 

 

I don’t know what you are currently dealing with in your life, but I am sure that some of you are facing a crisis of doubt.  Perhaps you have always doubted and never, like Thomas, placed your hands in the nail-scarred hands of Jesus.  What love they hold.  Let me encourage you as we approach the culmination of this Easter season to stop doubting and place all of your faith, trust, and hope in Christ.  Christ, through the power of His resurrection, defeated doubt, and can do so in your life if you allow Him to.  Remember that this Easter season, and let me also remind you that everybody lives by faith.  The difference is in the object of that faith.  Christians put their faith in God and His word, while unsaved people put their faith in themselves.  Where is your faith? 

 

I hope to see you Sunday at our Sunrise Celebration at 7:00 a.m. at Peltier Park in Thibodaux or at our 10:45 service at 904 Menard St., also in Thibodaux. 

 

I Love You,

 

JP