Summary: This sermon is inspired by the movie beginning on March 20, 2015 by the same title. It uses Thomas and the story of his "doubting" in his faith-believing following Jesus' resurrection. It leaves us with the question, "Do you believe?"
In 2012, the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life conducted a survey including White, Black and Hispanic Catholic, Protestant and Non-Denominational Christians. In this survey was the following statement, “I never doubt the existence of God.” Survey results are as follows: 80% agreed with the statement leaving 20% (1 in 5) of which disagreed.
These are people who “belong” to some sort of church affiliation. They attend either a church, Christian fellowship or cathedral. They all support their various ministries financially. But yet one out of every five…doubt.
It’s almost as if their religious institution were asking a very pertinent question, “Do we believe?” and some would actually have to say, “Not really.” What about you? What about me? What is our response? “I agree.” “I disagree.”
“Do you believe?”
Yet, disagreeing with this statement seems almost illogical. After all, anyone who “belongs” to any Christian institution, whether Catholic, Protestant or Non -Denominational; anyone who goes to a church, a Christian fellowship or cathedral would actually have the misfortune of disagreeing that God exists.
The apostle John most likely would have issue with their belief. After all John, in his gospel account is excessive in his emphasis upon faith-believing. He uses the terminology “to believe” twice as often as the other three gospels, collectively.
It is in John’s gospel we find the most widely known passage of all scripture as spoken by the Christ to Nicodemus, John 3:16, reading from THE VOICE: “For God expressed His love for the world in this way: He gave His only Son so that whoever believes in Him will not face everlasting destruction, but will have everlasting life.” To which Jesus adds: “Here’s the point. God didn’t send His Son into the world to judge it; instead, He is here to rescue a world headed toward certain destruction. No one who believes in Him has to fear condemnation, yet condemnation is already the reality for everyone who refuses to believe because they reject the name of the only Son of God” [John 3:17-18 THE VOICE].
John even records other statements spoken by the Christ concerning “believing” in Him:
“If you believe in Me, the Hebrew Scriptures say that rivers of living water will flow from within you.” [John 7:38 THE VOICE].
“Unless you believe I am who I have said I am, your sins will lead to your death” [John 8:24 THE VOICE].
“I am the resurrection and the source of all life; those who believe in Me will live even in death” [John 11:25 THE VOICE].
So, when John poses the question, “Do you believe?” he isn’t being facetious because he isn’t writing about something he, himself doesn’t believe. After all, he has been right there in the thick of things with Jesus. He has opportunity to hear Jesus teach His words of wisdom. He even experiences first-hand the performance of miracles at the hand of the Christ. He is there in the end as he comforts Jesus’ mother, Mary, as her son, Jesus, hangs upon the cross of Calvary and he is one of the two disciples who race to reach the empty tomb on that first Resurrection Sunday.